10 Spectacular Garden Vines
Image by Carolyn Jones
The campsis x tagliabuana
Garden vines add drama and texture to large and small landscapes
Vines impart an impression of hidden depths in small gardens and luxuriate in spacious extravagance in large gardens. They can provide colour, fragrance and privacy.
You might find some vines on clearance tables this cold season – if the stems look plump and healthy (even if the plant has dropped its leaves), don’t hesitate to plant it when the soil is not frozen.
1. Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’ (golden hops) is a drama queen, flouting striking leaves of bright gold. A fast grower, it can be used to decorate a trellis or arbour. However, come frost, its stems and leaves wither and should be cut to the ground. It thrives in good soil with plenty of moisture. Foliage colour is richer with a bit of protection from hot afternoon sun. Zone 4.
2. Euonymus fortunei ‘Gold Splash’ (variegated wintercreeper) is usually considered a shrubby groundcover, growing to 60 cm (2 ft.). But plant it next to a vertical surface and it gets big ideas – reaching over 5 m (15 ft.) with time. Send it up an old tree or let it cling to a sunny or shady wall. Evergreen. Zone 5.
3. Rosa westerland is an award-winning climber with ruffled apricot petals. Disease resistance and fragrance make it a top choice for the rainy coastal climate. westerland has a stiffly upright habit, so can be trained against a wall or through a free-standing pillar. Plant in full sun with rich, well-drained soil. Shorten long shoots in fall (to prevent winter damage) and then prune as desired in spring. Zone 5.
4. Among the hundreds of Clematis cultivars, you’ll find one suited to your garden. Variables include flower colour and size, bloom time(s) and time to prune. Zone 4 (most cultivars).
5. With dramatic late-summer, tubular orange-red flowers Campsis × tagliabuana is a hummingbird’s delight. A strong grower, clinging with aerial rootlets, it requires a very strong trellis or huge tree for support. Zone 5.
6. An ornamental version of edible grape, Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’ (purple-leaf grape) is handsome over a trellis or against a wall. Fall colour changes to rich red, especially effective when back lit. This cultivar can easily be kept at 4 to 6 m (12 to 18 ft.) in spread. Zone 5.
7. Hydrangea petiolaris (climbing hydrangea) is slow to get going, but it can eventually cover a large wall, clinging with aerial rootlets. If you’d rather not have it sticking to your home, provide a trellis out from the building and detach any grabby bits. It’s especially pretty climbing a brick wall or chimney. Happy when located anywhere from full sun to the north side of a building (with humus-rich soil and plenty of summer water). White, lacecap flowers appear in summer. I especially like the peeling, reddish bark, shown in winter after the leaves have turned yellow and dropped. Zone 4.
8. Lonicera periclymenum (honeysuckle) is exquisitely fragrant in midsummer. ‘Belgica’ blooms a little sooner than the others. Bright-red berries appear by fall. This twining vine needs a trellis or fence. Full sun with regular summer water is ideal. Zone 5.
9. Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria) is a very vigorous twining vine. It can reach dozens of feet high and wide, but can also be pruned very often during the season and kept as a small tree. Zone 5.
10. Closely related to climbing hydrangea, Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’ has leaves with paler variegation, giving a delicate effect that complements its lacecap flowers. Japanese hydrangea vine prefers protection from hot afternoon sun and grows more slowly than its cousin. Protect both vines from weevil damage, which can prove lethal (watch for notching along the leaf margins and apply nematodes in May and September). Zone 6.