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Growing Vine Plants: Choices, Design Tips

Vine plants are versatile, but also a little scary. You have to be careful with your choices, since some types are aggressive or downright invasive. That's the purpose of these articles: to help you make intelligent choices in your selection of vines. I also introduce you to the staggering potential of vine plants, which boast a diversity of uses. What other class of plant can either hug the earth as a ground cover or scale a trellis skywards? You'll find my picks for best vines in the folders immediately below ("Vine Plants for Sun" and "Vine Plants for Shade").
  1. Vine Plants for Sun (12)
  2. Vine Plants for Shade (5)

Pictures of Vine Plants
There's a little bit of everything in this gallery showing some of the types of vine plants available. Kiwi is grown for its variegated leaves and is relatively uncommon in the many areas of the U.S. By contrast, morning glory is grown for its flowers and is ubiquitous in American yards. I also cover, for example, wild vines.

A Vine Plant for Every Landscaping Need?
Well, not quite every need. But the range of functions covered by vine plants is impressive. Dry, shady areas under trees are frequently a problem in landscaping. One solution is growing Vinca minor there. Or how about when you have an ugly fence you wish to camouflage? Morning glory fits the bill in full sun, climbing hydrangea in shade.

Golden Hops Vines
What is "hops?" You may recognize it as a term beer aficionados use (although you may be surprised by its relation to another psychoactive substance). But the purpose of this article is to introduce hops vines as a landscaping element, explaining how to grow them and what makes the Summer Shandy type so pretty.

Hardy Kiwi
As the picture in my article will show, 'Arctic Beauty' kiwi's foliage isn't just variegated -- it can be tri-colored, flashing colors of pink, white and green. While we often associate a change in leaf color with the fall foliage season, note that the color display put on by these vine plants is at its height not in autumn, but in spring.

Morning Glory Flowers
Morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor) is a classic and has myriad uses. Besides disguising fences, it is a good choice for covering an arbor or for running up a lamppost or mailbox post. As an annual vine plant, it may not fill up a space as early in the season as you'd like, but the trade-off is its drop-dead beautiful flowers.

Jackman's Clematis: Overuse This Vine Until You Use It Up!
Don't listen to the garden snobs who claim Jackman's clematis is "overused." It's popular for a reason, as I explain in my article. Learn how to grow this magnificent vine here.

Winter Jasmine
Winter jasmine vine plants can be grown in zones 6-10 and can either be trained to climb or allowed to sprawl across the earth as a groundcover. The yellow flowers of winter jasmine vine plants measure one inch across.

For Pink Clematis Flowers, Grow Dr. Ruppel
There are many varieties of clematis plants, offering all kinds of colors, sizes and shapes. If you're used to the popular purple or white types, you may be interested in pink clematis flowers for a change. If so, Dr. Ruppel is a great choice.

Chinese Wisteria
When talking "wisteria," it is important to distinguish between Chinese and American types. Chinese wisteria vine plants are beautiful but slow to flower and invasive in North America. This article tells you how to improve your chances of inducing blooming.

Sweet Autumn Clematis
Sweet autumn clematis is prolific in putting out its white, fragrant flowers in fall. Too bad that is not the only thing prolific about this vine plant. Because, unfortunately, its seedlings will pop up all over your yard. You'll have to pull them up if you don't want more autumn clematis than you already have.

English Ivy
Think ivy is ivy? Think again! Growing English ivy, a vine plant notoriously invasive in places like the Pacific Northwest, is an entirely different matter from growing Boston ivy. Even in New England, I have to keep a very close eye on English ivy lest it spread out of control.

Trumpet Creepers: Invasive Vine Plants
I told you to watch out for invasive vines, right? Here is yet another one. Trumpet creeper is invasive, but many are tempted to grow it because it attracts hummingbirds with its orange to salmon flowers. Personally, my choice would be to resist the temptation (take it from one who knows!).

Bittersweet: Trick or Treat for Landscapers?
There are three plants called "bittersweet," and I lay out all the facts about each of them in this piece. Oriental bittersweet is a poor choice for use in your landscaping, as it is invasive and inflicts severe damage on trees. When these vine plants coil around a tree trunk, they squeeze so hard that the disfigurement they cause is lasting.

Japanese Honeysuckle
Japanese honeysuckle is invasive in many areas, so you might want to learn about non-invasive alternatives. I offer some of those here, as well as detailed information about Hall's Japanese honeysuckle. Find out exactly what it is, and learn to distinguish it from a namesake plant.

Why You Should Grow Dutchman's Pipe Vines
Pipevine, AKA Dutchman's pipe, is a vigorous plant with dense foliage. While it is named for its unusual flower, I value its leaves more. Learn about growing pipevine here, as well as about some potential uses for it.

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