Using Climbers to Create Beauty
The world of plants is so diverse that it’s mind-blowing. There are thousands to choose from with their varied styles, colors, and growing habits that it’s possible to create gardens that meet your needs providing you with the opportunity to create your dream garden.
Among the thousands of plants that grace our landscapes, vines are among this group that have so much to offer. I have worked with many species of vines over the years on many garden and landscape projects that made such an impact enhancing the overall design.
Vines in the landscape
What we will be discussing are vines, their care, and their impact on the landscapes and gardens.
Just like other garden plants vines also need tender loving care to perform at their best, therefore, it’s important to know the basics or have some knowledge that will have your vines growing their best.
Vines are easy to work with because they can be used to create a pleasing design, vines can be grown to provide shade, to screen off areas that are private or areas that maybe be an eyesore, arbors, etc…Vines can also be grown in small or vertical spaces. So there is a lot you can do when working with vines.
A rule to remember however is that trailing or climbing vines need support like in the photo above whether it trellises, concrete structures, fences, poles, tree trunks, and so on there must be a support for your vine to grow or climb in the direction that you want it to go.
Besides being a groundsman I also spend quite a bit of time working as an interior plantscape technician and some of the vines that were used in many garden projects were Pothos, Algeria ivy, English ivy, etc…
These vines were mostly used as greenery at the base of other plants with long trunks that were bare or didn’t have any leaves. What made these designs amazing was, we would let the climbers cascade or drop-down along the sides of the designer pots.
Then there were some designs where we would install vines in hanging baskets while the climbers would just fall down the sides, this looked pretty amazing especially as those climbers grew. You would have these hanging baskets with the climbers growing towards the ground. looking back at those designs were moments to take out your camera and begin snapping photos.
There are a variety of vines from straight to variegated colors but my favorites are vines that produce beautiful flowers like the bougainvilleas that are native to the climate in which I live which is a tropical region and you guess it we get lots of sunshine almost year-round.
Vines in the landscape
Many years ago I worked as a foreman at a large estate that had many plants. The job of both my crew and I was to ensure that the landscapes were kept in tip-top shape which we did a very good job at
Apart from the property had an area where a group of bougainvilleas was growing, I had the awesome task of caring for these bougainvilleas which grew above the carport so my job was to use a ladder climb onto the roof of the carport and to keep the bougainvilleas nicely groomed which look pretty amazing when I got through.
What I found so interesting about these plants was that we hardly watered them neither fertilize them just prune them into shape and they went for themselves. What you will find out if you don’t know already is, bougainvilleas are drought tolerant and can survive on very little water.
Type of vines
There are many vine varieties from flowering vines to scented vines, straight color to variegated vines even fruiting vines, perennial and annual vines, so there are a host of vines to choose from that will give you what you are looking for. Some perennial vines include.
- English Ivy
- Variegated Kiwi
- Boston Ivy
- Trumpet Vine
- Dutchman’s Pipe
- Virginia Creeper
- Climbing Snapdragon
- Canary Creeper
- Purple Bell Vine
- Mandevilla Vine
- Grass Pea
- Spanish Flag
- Cup and Saucer Vine
Care of vines
Just as vines are diverse, care of vines differ somewhat even though caring for some species has the same requirements, for example, Pothos and Algeria ivy has the seem water and fertilizer requirements and does well when planted on the interior whereas pothos vines do well plant outdoors compared to Algeria ivy That performs better indoors or in shaded areas.
Vine water requirements depend on which type of vines you are working with so asked your nurseryman or garden center rep. about the care of whichever vines you choose.
For potted vines using a slow-release, fertilizer can do the job for you. Vines that are planted directly in the soil can either use a slow or quick-release fertilizer.
Again there is a list to choose from. Some of the fertilizers that were used for the vines that I took care of were osmocote which is a slow-release and triple 20 which is a water-soluble fertilizer.
Pruning vines will not only control their growth but can also take your vines through a rejuvenation process that will keep them healthy and happy. Some reasons for pruning vines are vines may be growing too long and may have to be cut back
pruning to keep them well-groomed, pruning can be done because of disease or for insect pest control. Pruning can also be carried out for the purpose of using vine clippings to reproduce or for propagation.
Plants don’t like wet feet which means you must get to know your plant’s water requirements as we discussed earlier because too much water will encourage plant disease also using infected tools on your vines can contribute to the spread of disease.
Sterilizing garden tools
Sterilizing garden tools is so important to prevent the spread of plant disease. Using bleach on a piece of cloth and gently cleaning the blades of your hand pruners, garden hedge, and lopping shears will help to eliminate the spread of plant disease.
Just be careful as you wipe your garden tool blades not to cut your hands. Remember to wipe the blades gently and slowly and you will have disease-free tools to work with ensuring your plant’s health.
Insects pests are unwanted or uninvited guests that can cause problems. I faced this problem on many occasions when caring for a group of pothos vines. The pest problem that I faced was mealybugs and scales.
These vines were on the interior so we controlled these pests by using a homemade mixture of a cover of rubbing alcohol, half a teaspoon of dish liquid mixed in a 32 oz bottle of water. Make sure and shake this solution well and then apply.
Another option is to use insecticidal soap sprays that can be purchased from your garden center. This will get the job done by eliminating these insect pests.
The final word
Vines are great to add to your interior and landscape design. Investing in these plants does have its benefits as you can create a very pleasing effect. Whether you are growing your vines on a trellis, in decorative pots, from hanging baskets
to a building structure, and so on know that you can get the results you are looking for by following these simple steps. I love working with vines because the possibilities when using them seem endless
So give them a try and get those creative juices flowing. I am sure you can come up with creative ways that can make a major impact. The world of vines is truly amazing.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.