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Silver Lace Vines

And Other Flowering Vine Plants That Are Invasive

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Fall Foliage of Virginia Creeper Vines

Fall Foliage of Virginia Creeper Vines

David Beaulieu

Continuing the descriptions given on Page 2, we'll now discuss creeping myrtle, Virginia creepers and other flowering vine plants. But before proceeding, first a word about a flowering vine plant that I recommend you not grow. China fleece, or silver lace vine (Polygonum aubertii) is related to Polygonum cuspidatum, commonly known as Japanese knotweed. The fact that silver lace vine can grow and produce its white blooms in shade makes planting it a temptation for gardeners not blessed with a sunny locale.

But I would resist the temptation to grow silver lace vine, for fear that it may be an invasive species. No close relative of Japanese knotweed is welcome on my landscape. For the full story on my battles with the invasive species, Japanese knotweed, please consult my article on Japanese Knotweed.

Virginia creepers (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) are flowering vine plants whose green leaves morph to brilliant colors in fall, ranging from red to burgundy. Although they do flower, these flowering vine plants are grown for their foliage. In the Eastern U.S. this specimen is a native, making it easy to grow there. In fact, in the southern part of its range, it is considered a weed.

There is another caveat to mention about Virginia creepers. If you wish to grow Virginia creeper up the walls of any buildings, make sure first that you desire it as a permanent fixture. Once Virginia creeper gets a toehold, it is difficult to remove it from its supporting structure. You could do damage to a wall in your attempts to rid it of entrenched Virginia creeper. It is better to let Virginia creeper creep on the dirt as a ground cover, unless you are sure that you want it as permanent "siding" on your wall.

If edible landscaping is your passion, incorporate grapevines into your landscape. Grapevine could easily be substituted for wisteria as your choice on an arbor. And just because the fruit will be edible, don't dismiss grapevine as an ornamental. In the photo at the top of this page, you can see that grapevines lend themselves admirably to fall foliage displays.

The silky blue of the common morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor) is a must for any traditional landscaper, but lavender, deep purple, and antique rose morning glories are available as well. Morning glory is another hummingbird and butterfly magnet and is treated as an annual in all but the warmest of climates. Some of these flowering vine plants can be invasive species in certain regions.

"Blackie" ornamental sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie') is another specimen grown for its foliage, not its flower. Like its relative, morning glory, this specimen will be an annual in most zones in North America. Besides serving as an attractive component of hanging baskets, sweet potato vine is often used in window boxes.

Bittersweet vine is dioecious and presents North American landscapers with a decision similar to that discussed above with wisteria. That is, the Oriental variety of bittersweet vine (Celastrus orbiculatus) is much more prevalent than the native variety (Celastrus scandens), but is also terribly invasive. Although it does flower, this flowering vine plant is grown for its berries and foliage, not its flower. In fall its foliage is yellow, and orange berries burst out of golden husks -- a sight rivaled by no other vine. It is easy to understand why this vine is commonly gathered for fall crafts -- it makes for a knockout autumn door wreath! You can read the full story, Bittersweet Vines, to learn all about bittersweet vine. If you live in North America, I urge you to grow the native, "American bittersweet," instead.

Common periwinkle vinca vines (Vinca minor vines) are flowering vine plants that bear pretty blue blooms in spring, but they are valued equally for their foliage. This species is a creeper and has been a traditional favorite among the ground covers, often going by the alias, "creeping myrtle." Periwinkle vine will thrive where turf grass fears to tread: namely, in the shade of large trees. As is the case with many "thriving" species, this one is invasive.

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