Growing Vines

Learn to grow vines effectively in the landscape and garden.There are many ways to use vines,both in small and large gardens.

Vines can be a beautiful addition to your garden. No matter how large or small your garden, there are a variety of ways to use vines. They are one of the most versatile of all garden plants.

In any garden, they pay big dividends and take little space if grown vertically. This works out very well for the small garden. Even in the small garden, there is usually room for a trellis whether it is against the house, fence, garage or most any other structure. You can let them grow up an outer wall of your house, however, when doing this you will want to be very selective about which vine you choose. Some vines can destroy; siding and if they reach the roof they can even destroy the roofing. There are small, slow growing vines, that can be used as a border in a small garden.

Many vines can be grown in hanging baskets and be allowed to drape down, or trained to grow up. This works equally well for small and large gardens and is a great way to garden if you live in an apartment where there is no where else to plant. You can use vines in containers witch is a must for anywhere you garden. They can be sat in places in the larger garden to fill bare spots. They look great on decks, porches and balconies, again accommodating the person who may live in an apartment. Vines can also be used in window boxes. Allowed to drape down, softening the siding on you house.

In larger gardens, vines can be used in all of the same ways that they can in small gardens. They can also dress up arbors trellises, and pergolas. Use them to cover an ugly chain link fence. They soften fences and can provide a screen to give you more privacy. Some vines will require a more sturdy structure than others will. Let them grow up a tree or you can grow more delicate vines such as the Clematis up through shrubs providing -if planed properly- an attractive and

different look to your shrubs. Wandering roses are also a good choice for this. Vines are often used as ground covers; the English and Boston Ivies are common vines used in this way. No matter how you use vines in your garden and landscape, they need to be carefully researched so as to choose the proper growing habits for a given situation.

Vines are fascinating in that there are so many varieties and also in the different ways that they climb. For example, sweet peas and some other vines have what is known as tendrils, which when making contact with a support, will twine themselves around the support. Their are vines that not only will climb to reach out for sunlight, but will follow the movement of the sun. There are two basic types of vines, non-clinging and clinging. A good example of this would be the Boston ivy, which has disk-like suction cups at the ends of short tendrils; these allow this plant to attach itself to textured or smooth surfaces. English Ivy, and the trumpet vine, among others attach themselves with small holdfasts, which are root-like and run along their stems. These vines are ideal for the more textured surfaces such as wood, stone and brick. There are twining vines, which wrap themselves around a support. This circumnutating, or spiraling, can be either clockwise or counterclockwise, this habit is not by their choosing, but rather is programmed -so to speak- by nature. Some plants, even plants in the same family, such as the wisteria, will have different twining habits. The Japanese wisteria spirals from right to left while the Chinese wisteria spirals from left to right.

There are also plants, which grow long stems, like vines, yet have no real means of supporting themselves. One of the most popular of these types would be the rambling rose, which some people refer to as climbers. They can, but most likely not grow vertically without aid.

Here is a list that I have compiled that climb by use of their tendrils. I will start with one of my all time favorites.

The Porcelain Berry is a native of northeastern Asia; it is a vigorous vine. It grows using its tendrils to climb to20 feet. The Porcelain berry is hardy in zones 5-8. The leaves are trilobite, resembling grape leaves. In autumn the leaves turn a spectacular scarlet. Its flowers are not much to look at, however the fruit is what this plant is all about. The fruit is borne clusters in late summer through early fall. The fruit starts off a yellowish-green and matures to different shades of blue to purple and has a unique crackled look, which resembles fine porcelain. At this time it is an absolute beauty. This vine can be quite invasive; however, its beauty is well worth any trouble it may cause. The Porcelain berry will thrive in full sun to part shade. It will do well in any soil, however you will get maximum results by planting it in humus rich soil with good drainage.

Next on my list would be the, Passionflower. Passionflower vines are subtropical, but will survive infrequent frost. There are two exceptions, which are hardy to zone 6. The Passiflora mollissima and the Maypop. They will grow from 15 to 80 feet and are semi evergreen to evergreen. Passionflowers will thrive in most any soil, in a sheltered location and in full sun.

Wisterias are probably the most popular of all vines, most likely due to their panicles of wonderfully fragrant flowers and twisting woody vines. They can grow in many places to about 40 feet or more in zones 5-9. Their leaves are a light green, which retain a fresh look, even in the heat of summer. The flower clusters can be from 6 inches to 4 feet long and come in white, pink and violet. Wisterias should be planted in full sun and in moist well-drained humus soil.

The Clematis is a big favorite of mine. Though it has been a favorite of European gardeners for a very long time, it is gaining popularity in the U.S. There are deciduous and evergreen species of Clematis. There are more than a hundred cultivars of Clematis ranging in colors of, mauve, pink, purple, yellow, white, blue and lavender. Some varieties are hardy from zone 4-10. Clematis prefer, well-cultivated, well-drained, rich, moist, slightly alkaline soil. Plant them in full sun and with the base of the plant in shade so the roots will remain cool. You can plant around the base of the Clematis using annuals.

Here I have covered a few of the most popular vines, there are many more. Vines are fascinating plants and they can add so much to any garden. If you plan to grow vines, do your homework and plan carefully. There are a lot of good books concerning vines so read and you can also consult local experts in nurseries. Learn as much as you can about vines before you plant. Good luck and keep gardening. Oh yeah, plant some vines!

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