A Gardener’s Guide to Aristolochia Gigantea
Aristolochia gigantea, also referred to as the Giant Pelican Flower and the Giant Dutchman’s Pipe, originally hails from Brazil and Panama. These sizable climbing vines are truly a unique species of plant, and will be sure to catch passerby’s eyes and noses if you enhance your garden or landscape with them.
Be sure to review this information so that you can be assured that the plant will be a good fit in your garden and survive your winters and summers. This plant is certainly not for everyone, but it will make your home stand out from the other’s that boast posies and marigolds in their front yards.
Physical Description of Aristolochia Gigantea
This vine boasts flowers that are red in color with intricate white markings on the single petal. Resembling a heart that has been rolled into a cone shape, this intriguing plant also has heart shaped foliage that is bright, lush green and quite glossy at times. A sizable plant, the aristolochia gigantea can grow 8 – 10 feet in height, with a spread of up to 8 feet as well. Its blossoms may even grow to be approximately 1 full foot in length as well.
Although it is not known for pleasant floral aromas, the Giant Pelican Flower occasionally emits a lemony scent that, in conjunction with multiple blooms on the same plant, can be rather strong and will catch the attention of most people walking by your home and within smelling range. It should be noted hear that some people do not care for this smell, so it is highly recommended that if you have a discerning nose you visit a nursery that houses this species of climbing vine.
Areas and Regions They Thrive In
This plant does exceedingly well in high heat zones, as one can guess from its Brazilian origin. Although it does best in tropical zones with a balance of heat and moisture, it can be found growing quite well in the southern and southeastern regions of the United States.
If you have great summers but cooler winters, you may want to consider transplanting them indoors in the cold months so that you can enjoy them without fear of them dying off in the frosts and snow.
There have even been a few successful gardeners in Canada and northern areas of the United States that have managed to grow and propagate these plants. Remember to ask your local nursery manager or a skilled plant handler at your local gardening super store for tips that will benefit you in your particular geographic region.
This plant is considered by many to be good beginner’s plant. It grows very well with minimal watering and unless you are taking trimmings to propagate further, there is no need for fertilization. It’s incredibly hardy, and is an evergreen that will not die off at the first sign of a frost.
This plant species, and many others in the family, are excellent additions to butterfly gardens as well. Many owners have been astounded by the amount of swallowtails that are attracted to the leaves and flowers. When they lay their eggs on the plant and the larvae eventually hatch, minimal damage is sustained by the plant and many people can’t even tell that it has been fed on.
This plant, unfortunately, does have some negative aspects for some people. In certain regions this plant is considered to be incredibly invasive. It grows so well that it can actually take over flower beds and kill other plants if it is not kept in check. This problem can be avoided by cutting back new growth and confining the plant to a pot if you so desire.