Fast Growing Vines

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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If you want a flowering vine that grows quickly--whether to cover an arbor, an unsightly fence, or create a garden hide-away--you have an incredible variety of options. Most of the flowering and nonflowering vines we see in the garden tend to grow rather aggressively, which is generally a blessing. However, a few aspects of flowering and growth patterns are worth heeding as you look at popular vines to shade, soften, or otherwise brighten your garden.

One is that vines can damage whatever they're clinging to for support, whether that's another plant or a roof or a wall. The tendrils, for example, can strangle shrubs and ornamental trees. Wooden roof shingles, clapboard walls, and even arbor structures should be treated to prevent them from rotting under the burden of vine growth. Given the way vines wander, their root systems can also be problematic. This is generally the most important factor to plan around.

If you're trying to rid your garden of wisteria, for example, you've probably already aware of its aggressiveness. As lovely as these lavender colored flowering vines are, they bloom on sinewy vines with an insidious root system. The magnificent six-inch thick vines wrapped around 18th-century arbors have systems that encompass as much as an acre. Digging up--because that's exactly what it takes unless you're willing to poison the ground--a settled wisteria plant is backbreaking work.

Popular Fast Growing Vines

English ivy (Hedera helix) has long been popular for its dark green lush foliage and hardiness. It grows to about nine feet, works well as a groundcover, and takes well in shady conditions. Grape vines grow very quickly indeed and do especially well over an arbor or gazebo. Reliance, Himrod, and Mars are three seedless varieties. Morning glories (Ipomoea) are especially attractive along fence lines with their four to five-inch blooms. The five-leafed Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), which can grow to 50 feet, is noted for its dense foliage that turns red in the autumn.


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