The Dutchman’s Pipe is a woody vine that has very exotic and unusually-shaped flowers and lush, tropical appearing leaves. It is native to the eastern United States and grows in rich, moist forests and along streams. It is perfectly hardy and can grow outdoors as far north as New England and southern Canada. There are a number of other dutchman’s pipe species, but most of them are tender, tropical plants that grow wild in jungles and can only be cultivated in the north in a pot indoors. Leaves of the dutchman’s pipe are large, mid green and heart-shaped. They turn yellow in the autumn. The flowers are tubular, curved and look like small pipes. They appear on the stems in the spring. It is a host plant for the beautiful pipevine swallowtail butterfly, which has black wings with a dark blue iridescence.
It has a fast growth rate and can rapidly grow to 20-30'. An old-fashioned favorite that is grown for its large, heart-shaped, densely overlapping leaves (6-12" long) which can quickly cover an arbor or trellis with attractive, glossy, deep green foliage. It will quickly provide dense cover for sun porches, verandas, pillars, posts, trellises, arbors, fences or walls. Has been used for many years to screen front porches, and is capable of creating a deep shade. Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers rich, moist soil. Intolerant of dry soils. Grows well from seed. Hardy in zones 4-8.
Growing Instructions for the Dutchman’s Pipe
The seeds have a period of dormancy and need to be cold stratified to break their dormancy. The seeds are stored in a refrigerator to maintain viability so they have already been stratified. 1. Soak the seeds in warm water for 48 hours. 2. The seeds like rich, moist soil. Sow the seeds in containers with a good quality potting soil or compost. 3. Sow the seeds on the surface of the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. 4. Water the soil so that it is moist but not wet. Keep the soil moist and do not let it dry out. The seeds can be slow to germinate. They may germinate in 2-3 weeks but they may take many weeks to sprout. 5. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.