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Thursday - March 12, 2015

From: Madison, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Privacy Screening, Vines
Title: Vines for Madison, Wisconsin
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

What are some good options for non-aggressive native vines for southern Wisconsin? I am looking for something that can cover a chain-link fence and benefit local insects. I don't want it to take over nearby trees or spread rapidly via seeds or suckers. I'm also hoping the vine won't "reach out" beyond the fence very much, as I don't want it crossing into my neighbor's yard (only about a foot past the fence line). Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Looking at the list of recommended species for Wisconsin, I found two vines are listed as native to Wisconsin:     Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet) and Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper). Going a bit further into the Mr Smarty Plant archives, I only found one previous question with direct reference to Wisconsin vines.  This previous question is “Vines non-poisonous to dogs from Madison WI” This question/answer pair had four additional suggestions:
Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper)
Clematis occidentalis var. occidentalis (Purple clematis)
Vitis riparia (Riverbank grape)
Polygonum scandens (Climbing false buckwheat)

   From this list of candidates, we can read the records and additional information to try to sort out which of these might be best for your application.

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper) - - No – This is famed for being highly invasive.   It can escape cultivation, sometimes colonizing so densely it seems a nuisance. Its invasive rapid colonization by suckers and layering have earned it the names Hellvine and Devils Shoestring. 
Similarly, Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet) is a high-climbing or sprawling woody vine, reaching 30 ft, it has reports that it can strangle trees [probably not an issue for a chain-link fence, but worth thinking about]

  The rest may well be good candidates, you will need to sort through information on them and choose which one(s) appear to be most attractive to you:

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) is listed as a vigorous grower, one of its more interesting attributes is that it does not harm supports because it attaches with adhesive pads.

Clematis occidentalis var. occidentalis (Purple clematis) – may be the most common of the vines listed as there are multiple hybrids and cultivars [non –native!] on the market.

Vitis riparia (Riverbank grape) - relished by songbirds, gamebirds, waterfowl and mammals.

Polygonum scandens (Climbing false buckwheat) – Little information exists on this vine,

 

From the Image Gallery


Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Western blue virginsbower
Clematis occidentalis var. occidentalis

Riverbank grape
Vitis riparia

Climbing false buckwheat
Polygonum scandens

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Western blue virginsbower
Clematis occidentalis var. occidentalis

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