Clematis vine on trellis

Vines for Vertical Gardens

Vertical gardens, one of the hottest gardening trends for the coming year, are perfect for anyone who wants to add greenery, but has limited space such as an apartment dweller with a patio or balcony. Vertical gardens are also an excellent choice for small urban gardeners who want to create green garden walls.

The best plants to use for vertical gardens are vines, flowering, fruiting, or foliage, depending on your objectives. All that's needed is a support structure and a place to plant the vine, either in the ground or using a large flower pot, for example if you live in an apartment and have a balcony you can plant your vines in pots and use the balcony railing as a trellis. The support structure can also be a traditional wood trellis sold at most garden centers or even sturdy wires-anything that allows a vine to climb it's way around will work just fine.

1. Clematis
If you're looking for colorful and sometimes fragrant flowers, clematis (Clematis spp.)is the hands-down favorite. Most are hardy to USDA zone 4 (-30 to -20 F ) and there are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from. Clematis prefers full sun and grows best in well-drained soil. Choose Sweet Autumn clematis, which blooms in the autumn, if you want a fragrant variety.

2. Virginia Creeper
If you need a foliage vine for a north-facing wall or full shade, then Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is an excellent choice. It is a deciduous climbing vine with inconspicuous greenish-white flowers and spectacular autumn color. The normally green leaves turn orange to dark red and the purplish-black berries that are a food source for birds.

3. Kiwi Vine
Kiwi vine (Actinidia arguta) is hardy to USDA zone 4 and in milder winters produces edible kiwi fruits. Kiwi vines are excellent for screening and the red leaf stems are an attractive contrast with the green leaves. The vigorous growing kiwi prefers partial shade and well-drained soils.

4. Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis) is the classic flowering vine of the tropics. The brightly colored flowers range in color from yellow to orange to pink and red. Bougainvillea prefers full or partial sun and well-drained soil. It should be pruned after the blooms have died down.

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