Buying vines

(Question)

We are looking to plant a vine that will climb and provide shade. Lots of sun is available.

Should we get the Westieria or a grape vine? And where in the GTA can we purchase this?

(Answer)

Hello,

With full sun, there are many options for vines, so your first step is to narrow the field by asking yourself these questions:

1. How strong is the structure that will support the vine? Wisteria, for example, needs a very sturdy structure, such as a pergola with supports securely anchored in cement; whereas a morning glory vine can climb on a smaller, less secure structure such as a trellis.

2. Do you want flowers as well as foliage? Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) will provide both shade and blooms, but needs a substantial structure. A kiwi vine (Actinidia kolomikta) has beautiful foliage but insignificant flowers. It will cover large or smaller structures and is one of my favourites. Grape vines will produce small flowers, but of course you’ll have grapes to eat!

3. How quickly do you want cover? Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) grows quickly and produces attractive fruit, but can get out of control and self-seed in other parts of your yard. Hops vine (Humulus lupulus) covers quickly (the golden hops vine is very attractive, too) and so does Clematis tangutica, which also has beautiful yellow flowers.

4. Do you want temporary coverage or something more permanent? Annual vines such as black-eyed-Susan vine (Thunbergia) will die back over the winter, whereas any of the woody stemmed vines mentioned above will grow year after year.

Vines are widely available at any good nursery within the GTA. It’s always best to do your homework beforehand and come prepared with a short list of vines that suit your conditions and needs. If you’re near the Toronto Botanical Garden, the Weston Family Library has many good books about vines that can help you choose the right one for your yard.

 

And here are some online resources to help you select the perfect vine:

Landscape Ontario’s list of vines

Vines for all Purposes, Sheridan Nurseries

Better Homes & Gardens Encyclopedia of Vines

 

Have fun selecting your vine!