How to Train Climbing Vines

Vines can add visual appeal while hiding garden trouble spots.
Vines can add visual appeal while hiding garden trouble spots.

Climbing Vines: Easy to Train If You Know What Kind You Have

Climbing vines can range from traditional green or variegated ivy plants as a backdrop for flower beds to luscious passion flowers adding color and interest to a basic tropical garden. There are many different choices for plants, and choosing one can help determine what support is needed, if any, for it.

The four basic types of climbing vines are those with rootlet endings, those with sticky endings, those with tendrils, and those that can twine.

Rootlet Ending Climbing Vines

These vines have root ends that attach themselves easily to many surfaces. They can be trained to go up walls and around corners without too much guiding. These are the types of vines that are great for cement walls as the uneven surface provides a great texture for the endings as they grow. Examples of this kind of vine include:

  • English Ivy: Ivy can be found in green or in variegated varieties, which makes it perfect for a backdrop for a flower garden bed. Ivy can be trained to go on a flat wall or can be used with a trellis.
  • Trumpet Vine: This vine can be very hearty, and support may be required if it grows too prolifically. The flowers can range from red to orange to yellow-gold, and it grows well on fences.

Sticky Ending Climbing Vines

Vines with sticky ends grow well on walls that are smooth or flat, such as wood. The ends contain adhesive disks that attach the vine firmly without too much work on your part. They easily grow upward and can be trained with a little guiding in any direction. An example of this kind of vine includes:

  • Virginia Creeper: This vine is great for seasonal show as the leaves turn from green to red as the seasons change. This is an appropriate vine for walls and for corner placements where an odd planting is necessary or is desired.

Tendril Ending Climbing Vines

Vines that end with tendrils have curly ends which stretch out like thin fingers grabbing the surface and attaching itself to it. These are great for use with arbors as they can be trained up easily. Tendril vines also do great on trellises and on porches or fences. Examples of this type of climbing vine include:

  • Sweet Pea: Sweet peas are colorful and add a softened background to a garden bed. The flowers range from pastels to whites, and are excellent on fencing. They bring an old fashioned feel to a garden.
  • Passion Flower Vines: These vines can produce edible fruits and are great for arbors. The flowers are very showy and can elevate a simple exotic garden.

Twining Climbing Vines

These vines can be twined up and around trellises easily and are winding in nature. These types of vines are great for single post areas of a porch or for a decorative garden sign in the yard. They can also be used as companion plants twining around tree trunks and benches. Twining vines are the most popular types of climbing vines. Examples include:

  • Morning Glory: Pretty shaped leaves complement the blue to pink flowers. It can grow to be prolific and requires little care to be showy. It can be trained as a companion vine for a tree or a shrub and goes great on fences.
  • Honeysuckle: This vine can also be trained as a bush. The honeysuckle vine produces fragrant flowers in a range of colors and is great for twining up a trellis as a backdrop for a flower garden.
  • Bougainvillea: Bougainvilleas are a popular and very showy vine that can grow up walls and fencing well. It can easily be a focal point in a garden. Staking may be necessary as it grows and pruning will help to shape. The flowers range from striking corals and reds to pretty shades of gold.

Knowing what kind of vine you have will enable you to grow them to maximum spread.


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