How to Manage Climbing Vines in Your Garden
by Lisa Henfield
If there is any one type of flower for your garden that adds can entirely new and interesting element to your garden it would be Climbing Vines. And not only do they provide a unique aesthetic appeal, but they can also serve multiple purposes like creating a wall of shade for the plants that need less sun or by isolating entire walls. Regardless, they also take quite a bit of care to be able to manage and if you aren't keeping up maintenance on them then they can easily get out of control.
That said; if you are interested in adding climbing type vines to your garden, then you'll want to know how to control and manage them. So let's take a look at the different types of climbing vines and how they function so we can decide how to use them best in your garden.
These are the types of vines that you will see tangle or twist around objects, either by using their stem or with leaf stalks, or even tendrils. You'll be able to easily see this by the small and thin strips that almost look like roots grasping onto whatever the vine is climbing up. These vines can grow pretty much anywhere, but they tend to get the best kind of support for vertical or above-ground climbing by objects that they can 'twine' around such as bamboo poles, chain-link fences, and most commonly trellises. If you don't want them to climb up though, they will crawl along the ground just fine.
Common twining vines are Morning Glory, Jasmine, Honeysuckle, and Grapes.
These are the vines that are able to just stick their roots, vines or leaves straight to a surface with things like adhesive pads or incredibly hardy roots that can attach anywhere. These are the most common that you will find growing along walls and up anything with a rough surface, as they thrive on those areas like stone walls or any other forms of wood. These vines need a stronger material to be adhering to that will also be sturdy, which is why walls tend to be used the most. A few of these plants have completely brought down roof trellises and similar objects because they just couldn't be supported.
Common clinging vines are types of Ivy and Hydrangea, and some creepers.
Sometimes people consider a third type, known as climbing, but often they are simply linked into the other categories due to similarities.
Factored in Factors
When it comes to either of these types of vines there are things you will want to consider when choosing your vines and when keeping them managed. The major one is the lighting, as some will thrive fast in sun, and others slow, consider how much room you have to work with and how fast you want them to grow. Also most vines like moist and loose soil so they can spread out but not overly saturated in water. Then finally you have the two main features that get most people. Wind is an extreme issue for most climbing vines, but especially the ones that can't twine. If you have a lot of wind you might want to consider something else, or at least make sure the vine isn't climbing off the ground.
And the final major concern is the structures you let your vines climb on. They never have to be extensive or specific for your vine, but they should be tailored structures to how you want your vines to grow, or at least providing the right room and support for them. Trellises and other tiered objects like ladders are great for twining vines, but tend to be incredibly poor for the vines that use a clinging root. Try to aim for objects you already have in your garden, like furniture or decorations, or even walls.
Climbing vines tend to be one of the most high-maintenance plants you'll have to deal with, as their whole mission is to go exploring in every direction they can, and this can be a major issue if you are trying to control exactly where they go. Luckily, you can train your vines to attach to something specific and give them direction, but otherwise you'll want to make sure you are keeping the soil where they birthed moist (if that part hasn't died off) and then you'll want to be pruning anything you don't want, and anything that has become diseased, dead, or damaged as it will likely spread and kill the rest of the vine. Make sure when pruning to always cut back to a strong flower bud (if it's a flowering vine, which is most likely) that way the plant isn't wasting resources to grow out an empty vine.
With all of that considered, get out there and enjoy your garden, and add some flair with those climbing vines!
Author: Lisa Henfield
Lisa Henfield is an exterior designer who spent a few years designing outdoor furniture covers for hotels in Las Vegas. She mostly writes about her design experiences, providing tips on outdoor accessories and furniture for both businesses and the average person. When she isn't practicing her sewing or writing about the right colors for the outdoor seasons she usually works on her paintings.