For an excellent way to hide an unsightly view or to create a privacy wall of plants, try a flowering vine. Plant fast growing flowering vines to cover a vertical space quickly. Provide a trellis strong enough to support the types of flowering vines you select. Fast growing vines may become top-heavy as they mature. Heavy flowering vines need protection from wind and storm damage.
Clematis vines have a reputation for being difficult to grow, but if you provide their needs, they will grow beautifully for you. They prefer neutral pH soil of about 7.0. The upper vines need full sun and warmth, while the roots should be kept cool and moist, but not soggy. Use heavy mulch to shade the soil around the plants and retain moisture. Established clematis vines begin to grow new shoots early in the spring, with flowers blooming four to six weeks after the first green appears. Different varieties bloom at different periods and for different lengths of time. Clematis usually finishes blooming by early summer, but the foliage remains attractive until frost.
Proper soil preparation at planting time will get a new clematis plant off to a good start. The soil should be tilled 2 feet deep and 3 feet wide, with compost or humus tilled in. A clematis has an extensive root system that will soon fill a hole this size. Plant clematis at the same depth that it was growing. Provide sturdy supports for clematis vines to climb.
Cardinal Climber (Ipomoea multifida)
Cardinal climber vines are annuals which can be planted early in the spring when the night time temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Nick the tough seed coat with a knife, or soak the seeds in water overnight to soften the seed coat before planting. Sow the seed directly where you want cardinal climber vines to grow, because they do not transplant well.
Cardinal climber vines are light and airy, with lacey, fern-like foliage. The bright red, trumpet shaped flowers have white throats. Cardinal climbers attract hummingbirds. Grow these flowering vines on a fence or trellis, or let them ramble along a wall or as a border. They need full sun and moderately rich soil.
Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus)
Scarlet runner beans grow very quickly to cover a trellis. They are regular pole, or vining type bean plants that produce edible pods and seeds that may be used as dried beans. The starchy roots may also be eaten. The remarkable difference between these beans and regular beans is that the blossoms are brilliant scarlet. The plants are covered with hundreds of flowers, making scarlet runner beans a very showy vine. The plants continue to bloom all summer.
Scarlet runner bean vines will grow to a length of 12 feet. They are easy to grow in regular garden soil; they prefer moist, well drained soil, but will tolerate short periods of drought. The vines are strong climbers on a sturdy support, but they will also creep along the ground. A long vine covered with red flowers makes an ideal trailing border plant.
Morning Glory (Ipomoea)
Morning Glory vines should be planted from seed directly where they are to grow. They do not transplant well. The seeds need to be nicked before planting, or they should be soaked in water overnight to soften the seed coat. It may take the seeds up to three weeks to germinate. Thin them to stand about 12 to 15 inches apart. The vines are easy to recognize by the heart shaped leaves.
As the vines begin to climb, pinch back the growing tips to encourage branching. Morning glories like full sun and moist, well drained soil. The trumpet shaped flowers may be 3 inches across, and they bloom in white, blue, pink, purple or red, with some blossoms bi-color. Morning glories are tough plants that will bloom until frost. Some varieties are perennials in warm areas of the US.
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