Growing Up

Garden Scene

Blooming vines can bring color, privacy or a touch of the exotic to your landscape.

Vines just might be the most versatile of plants. They can camouflage an eyesore, block the view into a neighbor’s yard or add personality to an undistinguished fence. They can spruce up a planter or brighten a window box, fill in an arbor or create a canopy. They can have blooms that are showy or subtle, and some come with fragrances that linger through the day.

According to the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension Services, climbing vines can be separated into three basic types: clinging, twining and winding.

Clinging vines, like Virginia Creeper, Confederate Jasmine and Trumpet Creeper, grasp onto a surface by means of rootlets or adhesive disks and are best suited for trellises or arbors.

Twining vines like Mandevilla, Wisteria and Morning Glory climb by encircling upright supports such as poles, wires and lattice.

Winding vines such as Trumpet Honeysuckle, Clematis and Crossvine climb by means of tendrils — slim, flexible, leafless stems that wrap around anything they contact.

Vines can be annuals or perennials, which in turn may be deciduous or evergreen. Annuals such as Moonvine, Black-eyed Susan, Sweet Pea and Purple Hyacinth Bean must be planted each year.

Perennials like Trumpet Creeper, Carolina Yellow Jessamine and most Clematis persist from year to year, though their leaves may die back in winter and re-sprout in spring. Evergreens like Confederate Jasmine, Cross Vine and Lady Banks Rose never lose their foliage.

UGA’s Extension Service’s Vines in Georgia reminds you of a few things to keep in mind when deciding which vines to plant:

  • Certain fast-growing vines, such as Wisteria and common honeysuckle, may require a great deal of pruning. If allowed to spread without restraint, their growth can cover trees and shrubs, reducing light and aeration within the canopy. Some vines can even injure or kill small trees.
  • Other vines, like Autumn Flowering Clematis, will disperse seeds after flowering and may pop up in areas where they are not wanted.
  • Clinging vines may loosen mortar between bricks over time and are difficult to remove once they become anchored. They’re best keep away from solid surfaces.
  • Consider 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.
  • Some vines may attract bees, butterflies or hummingbirds, so be sure to research any vine before you plant it.
  • Most flowering vines require at least a half day of sun to be vigorous and bloom abundantly. Other vines, like variegated English ivy, will develop more vivid leaf patterns when provided a few hours of morning sun.

For more on growing vines in Georgia, visit hort.uga.edu/extension.