Flowering Vines - The Top Crawlers
Ask any garden designer - flowering vines can add a beautiful touch to any gardening plan.
Flowering vines add new dimensions and provide organic structure, allowing growers to sculpt and design far beyond typical plantings. They're nature's finest concealers, covering unsightly fences and man-made dividers with lush greenery and stunning flowers. They offer shade for patios and pools and naturally screen any unwanted view.
When compared to trees or shrubs, flowering vines take up little ground space. In fact, many are perfectly at home growing in containers. Even better, with the use of basic structural elements like trellises, poles, or foundational elements of a home, they can be trained to grow exactly where you desire.
Fast-Growing Vines for Any Garden
While flowering vines such as climbing hydrangea and clematis are simple and beautiful ways to architect a garden, if not attended, they can easily outgrow your designs. Vigorous growth and rapid-spreading characteristics can turn the most appealing vine into a pest, moving beyond garden beds into landscapes as well as burrowing into walls, around pipes, and underneath rain gutters.
Before choosing vines for the garden, consider their purpose. Is the goal privacy or additional shade? Perhaps it's the creation of a windbreak. Is the area sloped, prone to erosion, or is it a container? In addition, it's important to consider natural elements like soil conditions, air temperature, humidity, and the amount of available sunlight. Knowing the surroundings and your gardening purpose allows you to choose the perfect flowering vines.
Once properly placed and planted, flowering vines require little care. Instructions for their watering and feeding are usually available on the potted plant itself at the time of purchase, and there are numerous sources for additional information, from gardening books and magazines to online articles and, of course, local garden center experts.
Choosing the Best Crawling Vines
Not every flowering vine grows in similar patterns or climbs in the same way. For instance, there are both annual and perennial vines, herbaceous and woody vines, and even deciduous or evergreen vines.
Twining vines, such as honeysuckle, have flexible stems that "twine" around objects, twisting and turn around nearby plants as they grow.
Clinging vines, such as English ivy, attach to surfaces with natural "hooks," grabbing onto objects and adhering to structures like walls or fences.
Tendril vines, such as sweet pea, grow threadlike tendrils that wrap around objects; leaning vines simply lean across objects as they spread.
No matter which flowering vine you choose, chances are it will require some type of support to guide it along the intended path. It's also a good idea to plan the path of a flowering vine before you plant it. Certain flowering vines require some assistance, for instance, tie leaning vines to designated areas with twine or weave them across their intended growing path.
While it's important to match the right flowering vine to the right conditions, here are a few of the more robust, fastest-growing and most adaptive varieties to their surroundings:
Orange Trumpet Vine: Indigenous to the southeastern United States and botanically classified as a deciduous woody vine, these striking plants commonly bear clusters of orange, reddish-orange, or salmon flowers throughout much of the summer. In addition, this creeping vine commonly attracts hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Recommend hardiness zones: 4-10.
Honeysuckle Vine: A twining vine that is noted for its colorful, trumpet-shaped flowers, sweet scent, and attractiveness to butterflies and hummingbirds. These vines can grow 10 to 20 feet tall. Honeysuckle tolerates shade and grows well on fences, trellises, and walls with support. Recommended hardiness zones: 4-9.
Climbing Hydrangea: One of the most popular ornamental vines, it grows and flowers in a northern exposure. It's a heavy vine and will require sturdy support. It grows slowly during the first few years but becomes vigorous once established. It has a unique growing pattern where its lateral branches will reach out as far as three feet, making it perfect for coverings. Recommended hardiness zones: 4-7.
Bougainvillea: A native of coastal Brazil, this incredibly versatile plant can be grown in a container, spread across a trellis, or cover an entire wall. It is commonly used in landscaping as a hedge or curb liner. It makes an excellent hot-season plant and its blooms are extremely colorful. Recommended hardiness zones: 9-11.
Clematis Flowering Vine: They are known for their colorfully rich hues and varied bloom times, providing a mass of blooming color from late winter to late fall. In fact, the blooms often change color throughout the life of the flower. Partial to sun or minimum shade, Clematis vines can grow 10 to 20 feet. Recommended hardiness zones: 3-5 and 7-8.