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Grow Up

  • Written by Molbak’s Cindy Tyler, CHP
Vines aren’t just fun to grow, they are useful plants that perform well in a variety of situations – sun or shade, in containers or in the ground. Use vines to cover an unsightly fence, or to screen an unwelcome view. Provide them with a sturdy support then sit back and enjoy these vigorous climbers.

Feeling exposed? If neighbors are too close for comfort while you’re enjoying your deck or patio, screen them out.

• Sulphur Heart Persian Ivy is evergreen and a fast grower. Bold, leathery leaves with gold variegation add color and interest while providing a dense, handsome screen.

• Arctic Beauty Variegated Kiwi vines are fast growing, and offer broad leaves painted with splashes of pink and white. If you plant just one, you won’t get fruit, but if it’s privacy you’re after, then this vine’s got you covered. Small, greenish-white flowers produced in spring are fragrant. [deciduous]

• Evergreen Clematis will delight you in March with masses of billowy white or blush-colored flowers that are intensely fragrant. Large, glossy leaves provide year-round screening. These vines are fast-growing once established, but be patient; it may take a couple years before it really takes off.

Made in the shade. While there are fewer options for lower light areas, these vines actually prefer it. Partial shade is ideal, but full shade is well-tolerated.

• Climbing Hydrangea is a ready climber that produces heart-shaped leaves and white, lace-cap flowers. The vines are stiff and can be trained to a framework, which is an asset when trying to cover a wall or fence. [deciduous]

• Silvervein Creeper as the name implies, has dark green, 5-lobed leaves with striking silver veins; the undersides are burgundy. Fall color is exceptional, and takes on fiery, crimson tones. [deciduous]

• Fiveleaf Akebia offers beautiful leaves that are divided into 5 leaflets, below which clusters of scented flowers dangle. Flower colors range from shades of purple, to pale yellow, and white. [semi-evergreen]

Container creepers. Growing vines in containers lets you enjoy them on your deck or patio, and gives you the flexibility to put them exactly where you want.

• Star Jasmine emits a lovely, tropical fragrance when in bloom. White, star-shaped flowers burst from between the glossy, evergreen leaves. For screening, train onto a trellis placed at the back of a square or rectangular container, or place the container in front of the post or fence you wish to cover, and attach the stems.

• Boulevard® Series Clematis are pint-sized (4-5’ tall) compared to some of their larger cousins, which makes them the perfect for containers. Place a decorative obelisk in the center of an 18” or larger container and plant your clematis; remember to bury the crown 3-4” below the soil surface. Add a few trailing and filler plants to shade the roots. [deciduous]

Molbak’s tip: grow early-flowering Clematis up through a deciduous shrub or climbing rose – the effect is spectacular.

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