Five Favorites: Climbing Plants + Vines
One of our favorite trends for the summer garden, privacy screens are the perfect solution for creating quiet spaces in the outdoors. Paired with our woven willow structures, lush vines and climbing plants make natural screens to fence in the backyard or divide garden rooms. We asked our experts-- plant buyers Steve H. and Karen C., as well as stylist Alli M.-- for their favorite climbing plants and vines. Read on for their picks.
Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata) – Alli says, "I like black-eyed Susan vine for the pop art vibe that the shape and color of its flowers bring to the garden." Growing up to 8' in length, this plant thrives best in climates that mimic its native Africa, preferring full sun in all but the hottest regions. Blooming from May through early fall, it can also be cultivated in hanging baskets.
Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia) – Appearing in diverse climates across the globe, "Dutchman's Pipe" is the common name for plants in the genus Aristolochia. With over 500 species, these woody vines can be suited to nearly any garden. Karen tells us, "Both the native and the tropical forms have the most amazing, alien-like flowers." Their unusual blooms are strongly scented, inviting beneficial pollinators to the landscape. Their leaves are also attractive to swallowtail butterfly larvae, bringing winged visitors into the garden.
Rex Begonia Vine (Cissus discolor) – Pairing the striking, variegated leaves of Rex begonia with a climbing habit, this showy annual is great for container plantings and trellises. "It trails and climbs with the best of any vine," Karen says, "and the leaf coloration goes with just about everything!" Preferring partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil, its leaves are deep green with a silvery, metallic luster and crimson reverse.
Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) – This perennial vine is an excellent climber, reaching heights of up to 50' on fences, trellises, wooden surfaces, and even masonry. Steve says, "Boston ivy has amazing fall color, and I love the way the leaves arrange in mass." Its foliage starts out green, and matures to a vibrant, reddish purple as fall approaches. For best color, plant in full sun with well-drained, loamy soil.
Malibar Spinach (Basella alba) – Native to tropical regions of Africa and Asia, this vine has an unusual feature-- its foliage is edible! Fast-growing, its succulent-like leaves are high in vitamins A and C, as well as iron and calcium. As a decorative option, it grows best in high temperatures that mimic its native tropics. Steve loves that its "unexpected look always commands attention, especially when flowering."
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Viva la vine! Happy growing!