The growth habit of vines allows you to soften harsh edges and merge boundaries between structures and planted areas in your garden. A flowering vine planted against a wall will create a link between your home and your garden, and if your garden is new, vines will add a look of maturity. Take care, though. The very feature that makes vines a good problem-solver in the garden - spreading and rampant growth - can also quickly turn them into uncontrollable pests.
Here are a few ways that vines can help you solve garden and structural problems:
- Plant vines on trellises or fences to screen unsightly views.
- Plant vines along a chain link fence to soften the look and add privacy to your garden.
- Place vines on the southern wall of your house to help keep it cooler in summer.
- Use vines to hide unsightly walls or structures.
- Allow creeping vines to run along the ground in areas that are difficult to mow. They are undemanding, and most grow very quickly.
A Few Favorites:
Creeping Jenny Lysimachia nummularia
Be careful with this one! It can quickly become a nuisance plant in lawns. It's useful as a groundcover in wet, shady areas where few other groundcovers will grow. In midsummer it is covered with masses of small, yellow flowers.
Trumpet Vine Distictis
Trumpet vines are for southern gardens since they won't survive north of zone 8. They are traditionally used on arbors and pergolas. Vanilla trumpet vines have a rich vanilla scent.
Honeysuckle will quickly cover everything in its path, choking out weeds as it grows. The distinctive fragrance adds atmosphere to the garden. The berries that appear in fall will attract birds to your garden.
Morning Glory Ipomoea
Morning glories grow quickly reaching a height of 10 feet or more in a couple of months. They are great for growing along a trellis or fence, and bloom profusely in bright shades of blue, purple, pink and scarlet. Morning glories are annuals in most climates, and will disappear over the winter months, but they reseed themselves and return in the spring.
Clematis is a great choice for an area with moist soil and a little afternoon shade. Use them to cover a roof, on lamp posts, and to cover a bank. If you have shrubs such as forsythia that don't offer much interest in mid-summer, plant a few clematis vines to fill the branches with color during the summer months.
Climbing Roses Rosa
Climbing roses grow quickly and look elegant on a wall or fence. They have stiff, arching stems and dense foliage that makes the perfect backdrop for the flowers. Many are scented, and some have flowers that bloom in clusters.
Wisteria Wisteria sinensis
Wisteria adds fragrance and a touch of elegance to the garden in early spring. It is often thought of as a plant for southern gardens, but it does well as far north as zone 5. The vines need a sturdy trellises, arbors or pergolas.
Porcelain Ampelopsis Ampelopsis
This deciduous vine grows quickly and the bright leaves look good on a trellis or arbor. The fall berries attract birds to the garden.
This delicate-looking vine with delightfully scented flowers is actually a tough and aggressive rambler. It's a good choice for climbing walls and covering banks.
This is the family of plants that includes the kiwi fruit, and if both male and female plants are present, you be rewarded with edible fruit as well as attractive foliage. The unusual foliage is pink, green and white, and most varieties flower in early summer.
Chocolate Vine Akebia
This vine has it all. The woody vines are covered with delicate foliage, and has sweet-scented flowers in the spring. The flowers are followed by attractive clusters of edible fruit. Vines grow to thirty feet and can be trained on a trellis or used as a groundcover.
Passion Flower Passiflora
This dramatic vine is vigorous and fast-growing. They sweetly scented flowers will attract butterflies to your garden.