Vines add interest to all gardens. They offer a wide variety of leaf forms, textures, and colors as well as attractive flowers or fruit. Perennial vines do not need replanting every year and can be used as a screen and to provide shade, fragrance, or fruit. They are often incorporated into gardens along walls, fences, trellises, arbors, or in containers to add height quickly in a limited space.
Vines are often categorized by their means of support. There are several ways vines climb or attach themselves to a structure. Some vines like Wisteria literally wrap themselves or twine around a structure. Other vines like grapes use modified leaves or tendrils to attach and pull themselves up a structure. Still others like Virginia creeper or English ivy use their roots or root-like structures to adhere like cement to a wall or structure as they climb. The type of vine planted will determine the necessity for a support structure. A twining-type vine will require a structure and possibly some attachment to grow vertically. A vine with root-like holdfasts will often climb a wall easily without any additional support.
Please see the following pages for a list of several common perennial vines.
|Name||Means of Support||Exposure||Comments|
|Twining||Sun to Partial Shade||Dark green leaves tipped in white or pink; hardiest of the Actinidia; fragrant white flowers in spring; edible small fruit|
|Twining||Sun to Partial Shade||Aggressive vine with five shiny medium green leaflets per leaf; inconspicuous flowers; produces fleshy, purple 2 to 3 inch long pods|
|Tendrils||Sun to Partial Shade||Showy multi-colored blue, cream, or purple berries in late summer; variegated leaf forms available; can be invasive|
|Twining||Partial Shade/ Shade||Aggressive vine used as screens in shady sites; inconspicuous white to brownish-purple, pipe-shaped flowers in spring; fragrance considered unpleasant|
|Roots||Sun||Bright orange, scarlet, or yellow trumpet-shaped flowers in summer; attracts hummingbirds; may need strong support; suckers profusely and can become invasive|
|Twining||Sun to Partial Shade||Bright orange and yellow berries in fall; grows rapidly; male and female plant needed for fruit set|
|Twining||Sun to Partial Shade||Large, showy flowers available in many colors; numerous varieties to choose from; Summer blooming; Long-blooming|
|Roots||Sun to Partial Shade||Semi-evergreen vine often used as groundcover; 'Purpurea' a green leaf form that changes to purple in winter is popular|
|Roots||Partial Shade to Shade||Semi-evergreen, dark green leaves that require winter protection; often used as a groundcover in shady sites; many cultivars are available; 'Thorndale' and Bulgaria' are two of the hardiest|
|Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris
|Roots||Partial Shade to Shade||Large, flat white flowers on top of dark green leaves in summer; works well when planted against tree trunks; slow to establish|
|Twining||Sun||White, rose, or magenta flowers beginning in summer and continuing to fall; little or no fragrance|
|Lonicera x heckrottii
|Twining||Sun to Partial Shade||Clusters of red and orange tubular flowers with yellow throats that bloom throughout the summer; attracts hummingbirds|
|Lonicera 'Dropmore Scarlet'
Dropmore Scarlet Honeysuckle
|Twining||Sun / Partial Shade||Clusters of bright red tubular flowers throughout summer and into fall; attracts hummingbirds|
|Roots||Sun to Shade||The emerging leaves are bronze-green changing to dark green by summer; five leaflets per leaf; brilliant red or burgundy fall color; climbs brick or stone walls easily|
|Roots||Sun to Shade||Large three-lobed dark green leaves that turn a brilliant yellow, orange, or scarlet in fall; climbs brick or stone walls easily|
Silver Fleece Vine
|Roots||Sun||Bright green leaves that have red tips when young; large clusters or creamy white flowers appear in late summer or early fall; aggressive climber or groundcover|
|Tendrils||Sun||Dark green leaves that are often three or five-lobed; edible purple, red, or white fruits in late summer or early fall|
|Twining||Sun||Fragrant white, pink, lavender, or violet pea-shaped flowers borne on long clusters in late spring or early summer; blooms inconsistently in Iowa|
Vines with root-like holdfasts like Virginia creeper can cause damage to the sides of buildings especially wood siding. It is best to grow these types of vines on another structure a few inches in front of the siding to allow adequate air circulation and thus discouraging damage.
This article originally appeared in the June 11, 1999 issue, pp. 73-74.