A few years ago, I bought a vine that I hadn't seen before. The person who sold it said it needed a trellis to grow on, that it wouldn't grow on walls or anything else.
I needed a plant to fit into a small alcove and this seemed to be the perfect plant. Five years later, I had to dig the plants up and move them. It ended up being a vine that would cling to the walls, and I had pulled it off the walls and roof of the house four or five times.
It turned out to be Cross Vine. It has beautiful flowers that the hummingbirds love. So I moved it away from the house where it could grow up some pine trees. In its former spot I will plant a Mandevilla that needs a trellis to grow on.
There are a lot of different types of vines that we can use in the landscape. Each has a unique place in the landscape where it does best.
Some vines are grown strictly for their foliage such as climbing fig, five-leaf akebia and ivy. Vines also can be grown as a ground cover instead of training them to grow on a trellis.
There are a number of factors to look at when choosing what vine to plant: the intended use, how much sun or shade the area gets, type of support needed, and color of bloom and foliage. In addition, consider the maintenance needed. Some vines, such as wisteria and honeysuckle, require a good deal of pruning. If these are left to grow on their own, they can cover trees and large areas just like kudzu, which also is a vine. Other vines, like Autumn Flowering Clematis, will disperse its seeds after flowering and may pop up in unwanted areas.
Most flowering plants need at least a half-day of sunlight to be vigorous and bloom abundantly. Some of the foliage plants will produce more vivid colors in their leaves if they receive more sunlight. However, there are vines that do well in the shade, so match the right vine to the conditions in your landscape.
Another important consideration is the amount of training a vine requires. Some vines cling and climb naturally, while others must be trained to follow the supporting wire, pole or other structure. The type of structure will determine the type of vine to grow.
Climbing vines can be broken down into three types: clinging vines, twining vines and winding vines.
The clinging type grasp onto rough surfaces by means of rootlets or adhesive disks. Vines that fall into this category are Climbing Fig, Confederate Jasmine, Virginia Creeper and Trumpet Creeper. These vines often are used to cover solid surfaces. However, they can damage mortar in brick walls or wood.
Twining vines climb by encircling upright supports, such as poles, wires and lattice. These vines require mechanical training to follow a support. Some of the vines in this category are Wisteria, Carolina Jessamine and Morning Glory.
The last type is winding vines. These vines climb by means of tendrils. Tendrils are slim, flexible, leafless stems that wrap around anything they contact. Muscadine Grape vine is a good example of this type. Clematis, Cross Vine and Trumpet Honeysuckle also fall into this category.
Most vines like fertile, well-drained soil. You can add organic matter such as compost to improve the soil.
Also, fertilize vines to get the best growth. A soil sample will tell how much fertilizer to apply and when to apply it. The first fertilization will be based on when the vine is planted. If it is planted in the fall or winter, it should be fertilized in the spring or early summer. If it is planted in the spring or early summer, you should wait four to six weeks before you fertilize.
Pruning vines is very important. Some of the vines will need heavy pruning to keep them in check. Other vines will need to be pruned only to remove dead or diseased parts. The general rule of thumb is that flowering vines should be pruned after they bloom. Wisteria, Lady Banks Rose and spring-flowering clematis bloom on previous season growth, so they should be pruned immediately after flowering.
Picking the right vine can be easy, but look at the characteristics of the plant and match it to the area in the landscape.
Columbia County Extension Agent Charles Phillips can be reached at (706) 868-3413 or by e-mail at email@example.com. The Extension Web address is www.ugaextension.com/columbia.
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