for Alabama Landscapes
AUBURN, May 3---Vines
are among the most versatile plants in the landscape. They cover
arbors or trellises, provide privacy on patios, add character or
color to fences or walls, hide unsightly views, enhance the canopy
of trees, and serve as a groundcover where turfgrass is undesirable
or will not grow.
When selecting vines for
the home landscape, there are a number of factors to consider,
including intended use, location in the landscape, plant hardiness
zone, soil adaptability, type of support needed, color of blooms or
foliage and maintenance requirements, says Mary Beth Musgrove, a
horticulturist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Some
fast growing vines, such as Wisteria, honeysuckle or even kudzu,
require a lot of routine pruning. If allowed to spread without
restraint, their profuse growth can cover trees and shrubs, reducing
light and aeration within the canopy. Some vines can even injure or
kill small trees by wrapping around them and cutting off nutrient
flow. Other vines, such as Sweet Autumn Clematis disperse their
seeds after flowering and may pop up in areas where they are not
often use vines on trees to provide a new dimension to the tree
canopy. For example, an oak tree bearing bright orange flowers of
Cross Vine, is sure to create a conversation piece in the landscape.
Allamanda are excellent for use in patio pots or hanging baskets,
Musgrove says. Moonvine adds a wonderful fragrance with an evening
bloom. Honeysuckle and Trumpet Creeper are prized for their flowers,
while other vines, such as Five-leaf Akebia, Climbing Fig, and Ivy,
are grown for their foliage. Wisteria is sometimes trained as a
single-standing specimen or small tree in the landscape.
The amount of training a
vine requires is also an important consideration, Musgrove adds.
Some vines cling and climb naturally while others must be trained to
follow the supporting wire, pole, fence or other structure. The
support structure for the vine should influence the type vine you
choose to plant.
Popular annual vines,
such as Moonvine, Blackeyed Susan Vine, Sweet Pea, Purple Hyacinth
Bean and Morning Glory, are grown from seed each year. Perennial
vine favorites include Trumpet Creeper, Clematis, Wisteria and
Climbing vines are
separated into three basic types -- clinging, twining and winding.
Clinging vines grasp
onto a rough surface by means of rootlets or adhesive disks.
Climbing Fig, English Ivy, Confederate Jasmine, Virginia Creeper and
Trumpet Creeper are all clingers. Although these vines are often
used to cover solid surfaces, such as walls and fences, Musgrove
warns that they can loosen mortar between bricks over time and are
difficult to remove once they have become anchored.
"Their method of
clinging can damage wood by clinging too closely and by growing up
between boards or siding, preventing air circulation and promoting
wood decay. Clinging vines are best suited for trellises or arbors
away from solid surfaces."
Twining vines climb by
encircling upright supports, such as poles, wires and lattices.
These vines require training to follow a support. Examples include
Mandevilla, Wisteria, Carolina Jessamine and Morning Glory.
Winding vines climb by
means of tendrils. These slim, flexible, leafless stems wrap around
anything they contact, says Musgrove. One of the best examples of
winding vine is the Muscadine Grape. Ornamental vines in this
category include Maypop, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Clematis and Cross
Most flowering vines
need at least a half day of sun for vigorous growth and abundant
blooming. Other vines, such as variegated English ivy, develop vivid
leaf patterns when provided a few hours of morning sun. Flowering
vines should be pruned after they bloom. The amount of pruning
depends on the vigor of the vine and the amount of foliage you
For more information on
growing vines in Alabama, contact your county Extension office and
ask for the new publication "Vines for Alabama
Landscapes," ANR-1198. The publication includes
descriptive lists of both perennial and annual vines, planting,
propagation and fertilization recommendations, types of vine
supports and pruning instructions.
SOURCE: Mary Beth
Musgrove, Extension Horticulturist, Alabama Cooperative Extension