To soften the edges of a blank wall, fence or outbuilding, plant a flowering vine to scramble up it. Flowering vines are also ideal to plant along chain-link fences, providing privacy and covering up their stark industrial appearance. Most flowering vines are relatively carefree, producing their beautiful and fragrant flowers without much help from the gardener.
A prolifically flowering woody vine, clematis (Clematis paniculata) produces fragrant blue or white star-shaped flowers in summer. The vines grow to 30 feet high and twine around their support structure. Clematis blooms on the current year's growth, so it will still bloom if it suffers winter die-back. It prefers moist soil and will greatly benefit from a mulch applied to its root zone. Fertilize clematis in early spring by pulling back the mulch, scattering slow-release granulated fertilizer and replacing the mulch. Water if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
A fast-growing annual vine, morning glories (Ipomoea purpurea) quickly grow to cover a fence or trellis. They're even good candidates for growing in containers, providing it includes a trellis for them to climb upon. Plant them in full sun, although they will tolerate light shade. Sow seeds of morning glories directly in the garden after the soil has warmed up, about the time you would normally plant green beans. They have a hard coat on their seeds and will germinate more quickly if soaked overnight prior to sowing. Give them a little help adhering to their support structure and they will soon scramble up it on their own and quickly cover it. Morning glories are so named because the blossoms open in the early morning and only stay open for a few hours, until the next morning.
Also called mayapple and Holy-Trinity flower, passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a vine that clings to its support with tendrils and grows up to 20 feet long. The five-petaled flowers have a center “crown,” which is a circle of fringe-like segments that rise up above the level of the flower petals. They grow best in full sun for at least half the day. Passsionflowers prefer fertile soil that is well drained but will also grow quite well in clay soils. They bloom throughout the summer. Passionflower produces edible fruits in fall.
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