Climbing vines

(Question)

5 years ago I planted Virginia Creeper at my 3-storey townhouse. It’s far too … healthy! It now consumes the entire façade, part of the neighbours houses and even creeps along the power lines. At my age, I’m not comfortable climbing ladders to trim the upper stories.

I like the foliage, but it’s too aggressive. It sends out long, drooping branches that hang in layers 2-3 deep, sticking out a foot or two from the house and hiding the entire structure and windows. Too dense and too much maintenance — it’s got to go.

Could you recommend a climber that stays compact along the wall surface without sending out huge, raining branches, or drowning itself in layers? Would Boston Ivy (or something similar) stay tighter to the wall? I’ve seen some ivies that don’t appear to be maintained, and look like they stay compact and grow *along* the wall, rather than shooting out away from the wall.

Thanks for any tips!

(Answer)

Thank you for your inquiry. One of my favourite vine is Japanese hydrangea vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides). This zone 6 vine grows 8-10m tall in full sun or  full shade. Schizophragma hydrangeoides is a self-clinging vine that stays flat and does not develop a protruding woody framework.it produces showy large fragrant, white lace-cap flowers in summer. Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’ has very attractive mottled blue-green leaves while ‘Roseum’ has pink-flushed flowers.  This vine does well in moist well grained soil. The following websites provides additional information:

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=f520, 

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=q340

Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is a  vigorous climber with glossy, bright green foliage, which will quickly cover a large north or east-facing wall. The foliage can vary in shape between deeply toothed, three-lobed leaves, to three seperate leaflets, but it all turns spectacular shades of red-purple in autumn if planted in a partially shaded spot. Mature specimens also provide an important habitat for insects and small birds. But this plant must be handled with care; it needs plenty of space, no competition from other plants and regular pruning to keep it within bounds. Not one for small gardens. the following website provides additional information: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=1385

Happy Planting!