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Mr. Smarty Plants - Vine for limited space, part-shade fence in N. Texas

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Sunday - June 14, 2009

From: Keller, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Vine for limited space, part-shade fence in N. Texas
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

I have a narrow strip of yard (about 3ft) between my covered patio and privacy fence. Since the fence itself lacks visual interest, I'd like to find a vine to grow on the fence to give the background to my patio area some "life." I would like something that will not destroy the fence (like Wisteria tends to do) and something that clings pretty tight since there is not much room for the vine to grow out from the fence. I'm most interested in an evergreen with flowers, but have also considered Boston Ivy since its fall color is interesting. This area receives partial shade most of the day and hot Western sun for a few hours in the late afternoon. Would love to hear your suggestions?

ANSWER:

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native to North America and particularly to the area where they have been confirmed as native species, so our answer springs from that basis.

Two suggestions come to mind which may work for you in this location. Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower), – aka Carolina Jessamine – is a pretty, well-behaved, evergreen vine, with fragrant blooms early in the season. Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) – aka Coral Honeysuckle –is a moderate-sized vine, has attractive flowers, and is non-invasive. It is semi-evergreen – some winters it keeps quite a bit of greenery and may even flower; other winters it looks nearly dormant.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) has attractive fall foliage, but isn't noted for its flower and can become hard to keep from spreading. Clematis virginiana (devil's darning needles) is another versatile vine with profuse white flowers, but deciduous. NOT a good choice for this space is Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) a popular floweriing evergreen, but quite a vigorous climber and extender.

There are some small re-seeding annuals and herbaceous perennials that could provide some interest for your fence. Clematis pitcheri (bluebill), Clematis texensis (scarlet leather flower), and Maurandella antirrhiniflora (roving sailor) are wonderful little Texas vines. They could be secondary vines along with Carolina Jessamine or Coral Honeysuckle. They are not always easy to find for purchase, but are very much worth looking for.

 


Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens

Clematis virginiana


Parthenocissus quinquefolia

 



Clematis pitcheri

Clematis texensis

Maurandella antirrhiniflora
 

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