How To Use Vines In Landscaping Your Home

By: Paul Curran

Decorative and functional, vines are often the answer for older homes as well, the ground-covering varieties serving as cover for foundations and banks, others spreading a carpet of flowering greenery over walls, making fences seem friendlier and stone buildings less harsh.

The methods by which vines climb will necessarily influence and determine your selection. Some vines, such as grape vine, have tendrils which reach out and grasp small objects to hold on to; these vines need a lattice or fence. Others, such as Boston ivy, have adhesive discs that fasten on to a brick or stone wall, and still others, such as the climbing hydrangea, hold to a masonry wall with small, aerial rootlets.

Finally, there are those that climb by twining around other branches or poles, climbing from left to right, or right to left (like honeysuckle). This type can be parasitic in the worst sense, climbing over small bushes and trees and completely strangling them.



No vine should be unsupported, however, and attractive vines are those which are carefully trained and held up. Supports such as arbors, trellises and per golas need not be elaborately constructed, since their function is to display the vine, not themselves. Wood or other material that does not require painting is ideal, for the natural woods are really more suitable as a background for vines than are the painted ones.

If you have a wooden house and want vines on the walls, it is a good idea to construct a detachable trellis, hinged at the bottom so that it can swing outward when painting is going on. There will be sufficient flexibility in the tendrils to allow this.

Planting Vines

If you are planting annuals, ordinary digging in well-drained soil should suffice. But if you are planting perennials, you will want to plant them as well as any shrub; remember that if they are planted close to the foundation, the soil may be poor initially and may need preparation. The hole should be at least 2 feet square. Break up the bottom soil and mix in bone meal, peat moss, etc.

If you are planting near the house, be careful to place the vine far enough from the overhanging eaves so that water will not drip on the leaves. In winter weather, wet leaves can freeze in the evening and crack. Also, if the vines are placed against a sunny wall they will get reflective heat, and so they should receive extra watering in hot weather.

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