Help planting my first vines

momwithaplan(8)October 27, 2009

I moved here from Alaska and ever since moving I have hated the six foot high block fences all around every yard. I want to cover them with some beautiful vines and I thought I would get started.

Right by my front door is a block wall that seperates our pool area from the front yard. It gets a lot of sun and I would preffer not to put up a trellis. That area of the yard is the desert landscape with the small rocks.

So far I've narrowed it down to:

edulis 'frederick'



snapdragon vine

trumpet vine

cat's claw

I have to admit that I'm pretty lame with what will grow here as far as flowers. I am much better with the veggie garden. Is right now even a good time to plant? Any advice would be so very appreicated.

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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Hi there, welcome to the forum and to AZ. I do like the walls as they give nice privacy (I always feel so exposed when visiting big open fenceless yards in the Midwest, LOL), but I do like them either finished with stucco and paint and especially with some greenery.

If you don't want to put up a trellis, most of the plants you selected (which should be good for that exposure) will not be able to climb. Most will at least want guide wires or something to wrap around or to help hold them up (I use those sticks-to-concrete circles with loops that you can then tie plants to...little disks that you put adhesive on the backside and then they stick to the concrete or stucco). If you're willing to use those, most of your plants will be good choices, especially if you go with a Banks rose. They are leafy pretty much year round and have a nice bloom in the spring. Their foliage is so delicate it almost doesn't look like rose foliage.

If you don't want a trellis or the adhesive vine-holders you'd be best to go with something that can climb the wall on its own. From your list that would be cats claw vine. That is a nice vine though it's often a bit scraggly down low, and often looks better on the side opposite the side it was planted (meaning it often looks better on the side it went up and then spilled over).

Hardenbergia (lilac vine) and honeysuckle can really struggle in summer sun. I grow them on the east or north side and they do pretty well.

I love this time of year for planting things, so it's a good time for most things.

I'm sure the other members will chime in with suggestions too. Let us know what you pick and how it does!

Take care,

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 8:18PM
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Welcome! It's a whole 'nuther world down here!
The only vine that will stick to the wall by itself in full or afternoon sun is cat's claw. It has good features, but beware: think aggressive, invasive, and immortal.

I don't know about 'Frederick', but most varieties of Passiflora edulis are extremely frost tender.

Hardenbergia needs shade in the afternoon, and special soil and watering even there.

What kind of honeysuckle? There are several vines available called honeysuckle, with different needs and features.

Snapdragon vine is primarily a frost tender annual here in the Valley, and even more so in the rest of the state.

What kind of trumpet vine? Again, there are several of 'em.

Look for vines in the Sunset Western Garden Book suitable for the Sunset zone of your area. The USDA and Arnold Arboretum climate zones aren't worth much west of the Pecos: there's a world of difference between between southern Arizona zone 9, and coastal Washington state zone 9! The Sunset zones are indicative of the other major climatic factors in the area, as well as winter lows.

Also, check with Certified Nursery Professionals and/or AZ Master Gardeners in your area. They've had the training and experience with growing things in this climate. Others may know what they are talking about, but some are going to be recent immigrants from Virginia or L.A., and only think they know.

My favorites for a sunny wall?
Snail vine (Vigna caracalla), pink trumpet vine (Podranea ricasoliana), yellow or lilac orchid vine (Mascagnia species), Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis), and hacienda creeper (Parthenocissus, unknown species*)
*Be sure to get hacienda creeper--Virginia creeper and Boston ivy are both also Parthenocissus, but they both need shade everywhere under 4000 ft. elevation!

Happy hunting! : ])

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 9:17PM
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Thank you guys so much! I am really excited to get started. I'm making a list of all your suggestions and heading to the nursery this weekend :-) I'm so glad I found this site!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 11:03AM
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I'm curious what others would have to say about using plants like the climbing fig? (Ficus Pumila) I even understand that there's a new one out there, that is edible (Ficus Pumila x carica) I've seen them climb on fences and walls with no problem and they look beautiful and they don't mind the heat at all. Are they really bad?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 2:41PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

I like climbing fig, though it can really struggle on a hot sunny wall. I see it used to great effect on shady walls. When it's young it makes the tiny juvenile foliage but when it's mature it makes larger (sort of orange tree leaf sized) leaves which are still very nice, and it makes interesting egg-sized fruit. I love it and it does climb on its own, but it seems to burn a lot in summer sun. Let's see what everyone else says too.

M-with-a-plan, if you end up putting up a trellis or those vine-holders you'll have a lot of options as you see. I love all of the ideas and comments tugbrethill posted. Let us know what you do and how it works out.

Take care,

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 7:51PM
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I have a harbenbergia on the north side wall of my side yard it is on a trellis the trunk starts under a mesquite tree and the plant stretches almost 30 ft!! I love it, in Feb the entire vine is purple and the side yard smell great

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 10:13PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Calb sent me a pic of her hardenbergia--I'm impressive! I'm embedding it below and putting a link too. I really do like them for partially or fully shaded walls. Lookin' good!

Calb_gardner's Hardenbergia ("lilac vine")

Happy gardening everyone,

Here is a link that might be useful: Calb_gardner's lilac vine

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 3:35PM
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Right by my front door is a block wall
It gets a lot of sun how much, and is it morning, afternoon or all day?
prefer not to put up a trellis

None of the vines on your list can fill that spot very well with those stipulations. Cat's Claw could cover the wall without a trellis, and then start covering the front door and the house. The others need a trellis or can't handle "a lot of sun" or both.

One way to handle the problem is to plant the vine on the shady side of a wall, with a trellis or vine holders, and let it trail over the wall onto the sunny side. It increases your choices. Yellow Orchid vine does well like that

How big is the space? Could it handle a tall vertical-growing shrub or a small tree like a desert willow?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 4:04PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Lazy, I need to say, your idea of deliberately planting the vine on the "other side" of a wall is excellent! I've seen it a million times (especially with cat's claw as I mentioned above): a vine looks leggy on the side it was planted and lush on the side it trailed over, but I never really thought about doing that on PURPOSE. Great idea--I'm glad you mentioned it.

On a related note, a friend of mine in N. Phoenix bought a house where the neighbor's cat claw vine had grown up and over onto my friend's side and it was a beautiful, lush, green "hedge" effect--that is, until the neighbors sold and the new folks cut each vine off at the base and left my friend to deal with the suddenly-dead tops. Ugh. Anyway, when we own both sides of the wall, it's a great idea. I'm going to give it a try myself.

Take care and happy gardening everyone,

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 8:27PM
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Does anyone know if cats claws roots destroy pool lines and irrigation system tubes? I would like to plant it to cover two sun exposed walls of the garden but there are lines everywhere under the ground level.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 4:36PM
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>> ...anyone know if cats claws roots destroy pool lines and
>> irrigation system tubes?

The roots are little hairy things leading to a big fat tuber. The vines come off the tuber. Other than tree roots inside of some cracked fifty year old cast iron waste lines, I have never seen any root invasions from anything, and I have a lot of cat claw and a lot of creeping fig.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:17AM
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Thank you very much.
I planted five plants and they took off like crazy. But then yesterday i accidentally found reviews on CC and they were so bad. I was biting myself for planting them! :) I assume it makes a lot of damage in hot humid climate but hopefully here it is a slightly different story.
May I also ask you a few questions?
I also planted english ivy but it grows horizontally for some reason. In a battle between ivy and CC, which do you think will eventually take over?
I have a lemon tree next to the wall where CC is growing. Will CC damage lemon's roots?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 3:40PM
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