We’ve got a wonderful selection of vines right now! Last week we gave you an overview of vines and how to use them, based on their mechanisms for climbing. This week, let’s get into the details of some individual varieties.
All of the vining Honeysuckles are twiners and will wrap themselves around supports of many sizes. They are easy to grow and vigorous. There are moist portions of the country where honeysuckle vines are invasive, but Colorado is not one of them. All are deciduous except for Hall’s Honeysuckle, which tries to keep it’s leaves year-round, but doesn’t quite manage that in our winters.
Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’: Fast-growing and vigorous, climbing 12-20’, this is the most fragrant honeysuckle, and the most fragrant hardy vine. Clusters of white flowers turn creamy yellow and exude a heady jasmine-like aroma in June and July. Plant near a patio, an open window or in an entryway. Supports bees and hummingbirds. Very adaptable to most soils and exposures, but avoid deep shade and prolonged drought. Bright green, slightly glossy leaves are semi-evergreen. Clean out dead leaves in spring by rubbing between gloved hands. Best in Zone 5 or above.
Lonicera x ‘Mandarin’: A fast-growing, vigorous woody vine that climbs 10-20’, ‘Mandarin’ bears clusters of large flowers in May and June and periodically through summer. Flowers are rich reddish-orange outside with yellow-orange interiors, and support bees and hummingbirds. Leaves emerge coppery purple and mature to glossy dark green. Grow these low-maintenance vines in part shade to full sun in most soils, keeping roots cool with mulch or low plantings. Hardy to Zone 4.
Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’: This award-winning, fast-growing, red-flowered variety blooms profusely and over a long period in summer. Very attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Low-maintenance and moderate to low-water vines to 6-10’ tall are adapted to most soils and exposures except deep shade. Hardy to Zone 4.
Lonicera sempervirens ‘John Clayton’: This yellow-flowered, lightly fragrant variety was discovered in 1991 in woodlands on the grounds of a 17th century church in Virginia. Noted for its compact growth habit, only 6-12’ tall, May and June blooms with sporadic re-bloom, and profuse fall berry production. Grows with moderate water in most soils and exposures except deep shade, and hardy to Zone 4.
Lonicera x brownii ‘Dropmore Scarlet’: Developed at the Dropmore Horticultural Station in Manitoba, this variety is notably more cold-hardy (to Zone 3) than other honeysuckle vines. A vigorous twiner to 16-20’, the main bloom is in June with sporadic re-bloom throughout the summer. The bright orange-red flowers are lightly fragrant and attract hummingbirds and bees. Dropmore Scarlet is adaptable to most soils, watering regimes and exposures.
The best-known Wisteria vines are the Chinese (sinensis) and Japanese (floribunda), both of which bloom before the vines are leafed out. These, however, are not good performers in Colorado. Most years their flower buds freeze and they do not bloom. I grew one for 16 years, purchased from Wayside Gardens and ‘guaranteed to bloom’, and it never did bloom. So we offer a fantastic alternative:
Wisteria macrostachya ‘Aunt Dee’: A selection of a Zone 4 cold-hardy species that Is native to Kentucky, definitely the most cold-hardy of the genus. The bright green deciduous foliage is pinnately compound. When the vine has leafed out, ‘Aunt Dee’ blooms in early June to mid-summer, with some later re-bloom. The tightly packed pendant panicles of blue-violet, fragrant, Lupine-like flowers typically reach 8 to 12” long. Grow Kentucky wisteria vines on a very strong support structure such as a post, pillar, trellis, arbor, or chain link fence. ‘Aunt Dee’ is vigorous once established, but will not reach the enormous, house-swallowing size of the Japanese and Chinese species; expect 15’. Most soil types, including clay, are suitable with moderate to low water.
These vigorous, twining tropical-looking deciduous climbers are slow to establish, but once they are settled in, they are extremely long-lived. Be patient in spring, as they are late to leaf out. The brilliant, large, deep-throated blooms magnetize pollinators and nectar-seeking hummingbirds! Avoid planting close to buildings if you don’t want the adventitious roots to cling to the walls.
Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans): Orange to scarlet 3” trumpet-shaped blooms are borne in clusters from mid to late summer. Vines can reach 20-30’, but can be kept in bounds with early spring pruning. Heavy vines need strong support! Trumpet vine thrives in most soils, including clay. Water moderately for the first few years, after which water can be reduced.
Yellow Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans ‘Flava’): Bearing bold clusters of beautiful, goldenrod-yellow trumpet flowers and attractive dark green pinnate foliage, this selection looks especially fabulous with blue and purple flowers like Rocky Mountain Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis), Black-eyed Susan, Delphinium, Monkshood and Purple Asters. Grows to 20’, or prune in spring to control size.
Five Leaf Akebia (Akebia quinata): An uncommon vine with some uncommon attributes, Akebia looks delicate and graceful but it has an iron constitution, being hardy to zone 4, evergreen, and drought-tolerant once established. Easy to grow, Akebia has very slender, twining green stems with charming 1” to 2” palm-shaped, blue-green leaves with five leaflets. The small cream-colored or purple flowers are not conspicuous and only appear after very mild winters. Akebia is fast-growing to 12’ and vigorous, and can be used to cover tree stumps, lightposts, cedar fences, wire fences. Best grown in well-drained soil in sun or part shade.
Golden Hops (Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’): Easy and fast to grow, these twining, herbaceous (dies to the ground every winter) vines have glowing, golden, serrated, palmate leaves that don’t burn, even in full sun. Plant them wherever you need shade fast! They will grow to 20’ up string, wire or twine, or scramble on the ground, weaving through the garden. Grow in sun or part shade, but more shade equals more green and less gold. Hops bloom in September-October. With overlapping bracts resembling papery cones, the light green flowers have a subtle piney aroma. Hops will spread by rhizomes. Very drought-resistant once established, hops grow in most soils, but prefer well-drained loam. One of the few vines hardy enough to grow in the mountains, up to 9,500’ or Zone 3.
SILVER LACE VINE (Fallopia aubertii): Also known as ‘Mile a Minute Vine’, this very rapidly growing twining deciduous vine can cover a fence in just a couple of years. Small, medium green leaves clothe wiry stems, and in late summer/fall blooms appear in a showy mass of tiny frothy white flowers. Said to be fragrant and deer-resistant. Birds enjoy the seeds and the cover for nesting, and bees pollinate the millions of flowers. Silver Lace vine can grow to 10-15’ tall and wide, and looks great cascading over solid wood fences, adobe/stucco/brick walls and over rustic arbors. Grows in most soils with medium to low water, and thrives in full to part sun. Cold-hardy to Zone 4-5.
‘AUTUMN REVOLUTION’ BITTERSWEET (Celastrus scandens ‘Bailumn’ (PP19,811): Finally, a Bittersweet vine that is guaranteed to produce ornamental fruit! The very showy orange to red berries with contrasting dried sepals retain their color well when cut, and are wonderful in dried arrangements. The twining and curling stems are equally ornamental! Bittersweet is not fussy about soil and thrives on moderate to low water in part shade. Foliage is glossy green. Although considered invasive in some moist parts of the country, our dry climate keeps Bittersweet in check. Vines grow to 10 – 15’, and are cold-hardy up to 7,500’ or Zone 4.
ALSO IN STOCK NOW:
A GREAT selection of Clematis vines!
Variegated Porcelain-berry Vine
Baltic English Ivy
Native Wild Grape
‘Kansas Purple’ Honeysuckle