Vine or Climber to Cover Concrete Hydro Pole

(Question)

Hi! I live in East York and my front lawn has been graced with an unsightly concrete Toronto Hydro pole. I wrapped chicken wire around it and had a trumpet vine growing up it which invaded the lawn, so I pulled it up and grew a porcelain vine instead which is also invasive. I want to replace it with something non-invasive; I have a tree so can’t use bittersweet. Full sun, good soil, rather dry. Nothing fussy (roses too high maintenance). Suggestions welcome! Thank you so much, Barbara.

 

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

What a good idea to cover the unsightly hydro pole with a vine. The fact that you covered the hydro pole with chicken wire gives you a wider array of vines to choose from since you don’t have to limit your choice to self adhering vines.

Here are some choices of vines that will grow in full sun:

Clematis: some varies you might consider are large-flowered hybrid cultivars, such as:
‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’
‘Ernest Markham’
‘Gipsy Queen’
‘Jackmanii’
‘Lady Betty Balfour’
‘Perle d’Azur’
‘Ville de Lyon’

You could consider planting a number of clematis around the pole, each with varying bloom times. If planned correctly you could have clematis bloom for most of the summer.

All the above clematis are Type C clematis which bloom on new wood and as a result all are pruned at the same time in early spring. Pruning Clematis is an excellent article from Fine Gardening which lists the different type of clematis and proper pruning of each.

Other suggestions include :

Climbing hydrangea ((Hydrangea spp.),

Goldflame honeysuckle (Loniceax heckrotti)

 Coral honeysuckle(Lonicera sempervirens). The latter honeysuckle  was voted wildflower of the year in 2014. As the name implies the vine features  bright coral red tubular flowers with orange throats. It will grow to be about 3m tall at maturity, with a spread of 60cm. This vine tends to be leggy near the base and should be underplanted with low-growing plants. As with all honeysuckles it flowers best in full sun and has the added bonus of being mildew resistant.

Kiwi Vine Actinidia kolomikta ‘Artic Beautythis vine is grown for it’s randomly variegated foliage. This twining vine has intriguing white flushed with pink variegations on large, oval leaves.

Dutchman’s Pipe Aristolochia durior  Is an extremely vigorous twining vine growing to 25-30 feet with large rounded, dark green leaves. Because of its size it will need a substantial support. This vine flowers in May-June, the unique flowers are greenish-yellow and shaped like a meerschaum pipe.

You may wish to check out this valuable website for more information on growing non-invasive plants for your garden: Grow Me Instead: A Guide for Southern Ontario

You might consider planting an annual vine. Annuals have the advantage of being breed to flower all summer long. The following are annual/tender perennial climbers for full sun:

  • Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata)
  • Rocktrumpet (Mandevilla)
  • Cup and Saucer Vine (Cobaea scandens)
  • Firecracker vine (Ipomoea lobata)
  • Morning Glory (Ipomoea)
  • Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
  • Passionflower (Passiflora)

Happy Gardening!