Evergreen vine for wood fence - would like to cover in a year

stacianJanuary 11, 2012

First off - apologies for the long post and all the questions. I deeply appreciate everyone's help. =)

I would love to know if I need to plant more vines in the following situation:

We live in Venice where our neighbors are quite close to us and have a long, sturdy, 7 ft high wooden fence on one side of our property that runs the length of the lot - approx 60 ft. The fence is firmly rooted into the ground but we're seeing the backside of it, as it belong to our neighbor, and it isn't pretty, especially the portion where we look out from a big bay window. :/

In a shady area in the back, we have planted one 2' tall creeping fig plant that has not seemed to grow at all in two months! Am I doing something wrong? I chose creeping fig because it's evergreen and it will self-cling (we don't want to put up trellis everywhere). Do you think this will cause damage to the wood fence? I don't anticipate ever taking it down. Just having the gardeners trim to keep it close to the wall. How long will this take to cover our 20' wall that is 7' tall? Should I plant more if I want to cover the area in a year or less?

In front of the bay window, for scent and blooms, we have put up some trellises and planted some cape honeysuckle, purple honeysuckle, and madagascar jasmine about 8 feet apart about two months ago on the wall exposed to the bay window but they haven't seemed to grow at all. Is this normal? I know it's not spring or summer but we've had a mild winter and some of the "summer" or "spring" flowering plants are still flowering.

Do we need some more plants? I would like the wall mostly covered in about a year. We have gardeners that come weekly so I'm not so worried about the area being taken over and the trimming, my primary concern is just getting the area covered.

Phew! Thanks again for reading and any information you might have.

I'd be grateful for any other plant suggestions that would grow FAST!

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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

It's winter. The air may be warm, but the soil is cold and the days are short. Soil temperature and day length matter. Right now the new plants are waiting for warmer soil. Established plants can take cooler soil and continue to bloom and grow at a reduced rate.

Come late March to early April, everything will start to grow. Be patient. Fast is not necessarily good. Weeds are faster than any other plant, but they are--weeds.

Eventually yes the creeping fig will damage the fence, but by then the fence will be probably be rotted. Expect the fence to need replacement every twelve years or so. When it falls down you can cut the fig to the ground and it will grow back on the new fence. Keep it trimmed tightly so it doesn't provide nesting for rats.

Keep in mind, fast plants are not usually the best plants.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 11:44PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Creeping fig will get between the slats and grow over to your neighbor's side and ruin the fence, but as hoovb noted, wood fences don't last long anyway. If you have any sewer or septic systems nearby, do yourself a favor and pull it out now. It's real trouble if you have a crack in one of your sewer lines. Creeping fig also prefers full sun. Mine never grew at all in the shade, but the one on a south-facing fence is growing like gangbusters. It took a few years to get established. Is there any sun at all? If there is enough sun, you should plant more of them in March or April, about six feet apart, to get faster coverage. But they will not cover the fence in a year, and the 2x4s will still show when it does cover the fence.

For covering ugly fences, I am a big fan of shrubs over vines. I started with vines, but found that they grow to the top of the fence, form a big wad up there, and get bare underneath. Sometimes mine would cascade beautifully down the other side for my neighbors. Ingrates.

I don't think the Madagascar jasmine is a fast grower, and I'm not sure what the purple honeysuckle is. We'd need a botanical name to give you more info on that, probably.

The vine I am most happy with after years of gardening is star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). Evergreen, coverage from top to bottom of the vine, glossy green leaves, heavenly scent, and easy-care. It would require some attachment to the fence. I bought a big one (15 gal) so I would not have to wait for coverage and it has been fantastic. An all-around great plant.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 1:01AM
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Thanks for the help.

Hosenemesis - you're funny!

The purple honeysuckle is actually called lonicera japonica or purple leafed japanese honeysuckle.

I heard that in order to keep vines from bunching at the top, you should twine any bottom strands sideways first and then allow it to grow up from there.

I'll look into star jasmine. Thanks ;)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 1:01AM
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When I lived in Venice, I had a passion vine covering one long wooden wall, and it grew very fast, which might qualify it as a weed. We also had a trumpet vine on that wall going the other direction, and it is another fast grower/weed, but a bit easier to manage. We had a chain link back wall that supported a Golden Chalice, which grows fairly quickly and is very beautiful and only grows in climates that are very similar to that of Venice. The flowers are spectacular, and we had them all year, although more in the summer than winter.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 7:55PM
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I just planted some Sun parasol (Mandevilla) it is evergreen with pretty red flowers, drought tolerant full sun. It's not an over-aggressive climber, which I wanted to avoid (fig can get out of control).


    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 6:31PM
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Tinan. Which one did you plant, crimson king, the one in the large pic that pops up in your link?

I have one in a pot for years that's always covered in blooms. Not sure of the variety, but its red that fades to pink,probably one of the original kinds. I wanted it to spill over the pot more than it had, but didn't know until this year that some varieties are vining and some are more shrubby and I have the latter. I want to get a vining one for the fence.

BTW Stacian they do require some support.

Monrovia website shows a yellow one that I'd love to try but they don't sell it in SoCal for some reason. Hoping to find it from another grower, but still no luck. Anyone seen it anywhere?.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 8:46PM
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island, interesting you ask that! I have actually planted several - some in pots on the balcony and along part of my fence is just called "Sun Parasol Crimson" from Summerwinds and it's like the one you describe as more shrubby, it doesn't climb at all so far. I am disappointed because I wanted it to climb this fence, I may have to swap it out for the climbing kind - but I like it in the balcony pots.

The other one I bought at Lowes also labeled Sun Parasol Crimson, it was in a pot with a bamboo pole and was climbing with tendrils would around it. I planted that one on the trellis and within 2 days it had taken a good grip on the trellis! It looks similar to the ones I got at Summerwinds but fewer leaves, more space between them and definitely an active climber.

So maybe if you look for one sold as a climber with a pole you can be sure it will climb... it seems there are several varieties called the same thing.

Here's the climber, I don't think you can see the tendrils in the picture but it has wrapped tightly around all 5 of the trellis bars and it was only planted 2 days before this photo.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:56PM
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Tinan. They look beautiful! So colorful.
The linked website said "crimson" is a "natural climber" so go figure.
I wonder if it needs something smaller to grab onto, a trellis or lattice instead of the fence. Like my star jasmine. If they're up against the fence without lattice or hanging outward from the lattice they stay short and I can keep them trimmed like ground cover or a hedge, but if I tie it to the lattice and coax the trendrils over the lattice wood they go nuts. I have to go out every few days and unwind before the soft vine stiffens. I want more vertical height and little behind the trellis so when it gets full it doesn't push the lattice away from the fence. Also easier to take a hedge clippers to the star jasmine to keep it narrow without cutting off a long vertical piece by mistake.

It's hot as hell in San diego today with hot santa anna winds and my star jasmine vines and potted mandevilla are about the only things still perky.

This strawberry lemonade mandevilla looks very pretty


Here is a link that might be useful: Sun Parasol

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 6:19PM
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I asked today at the nursery about my 2 "types" and the plant expert there said there are different hybrids being sold as Sun Parasol, some indeed really climb by wrapping around a trellis or fence and some are shrubby and just tend to flop.

But I love the foliage and the color and they seem to flower constantly.

I think I will move those "floppy" ones into a window box below the kitchen window (where they can hang over the edges) and put in either the viney type of Sun Parasol there or the more shade tolerant Star jasmine- since that fence gets shade late afternoon.

I'm a bit wary of having something too fragrant though I tend to get sneezy/headachy from strong fragrances I can't stand mock orange for example the sickly sweet smell I find nauseating. But roses I love the smell of.

ANyway sorry to sidetrack your thread, OP!

PS Honeysuckle is a very fast growing climber and is evergreen in warm climates.... but it can get out of control very easily! I considered it for my fence but decided I don't want to battle it weekly to prevent it from climbing onto the neighbor's fence or over the carport.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 9:33PM
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Good to know tinan I'll make sure to look for the ones that climb. I love the lemonade one but the foilage might look washedout agains my white fence.
The star jasmine is more fragrant at night, but not overpowering at all. Nothing heady like honeysuckle, true jasmine, magnolia or gardenias.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Here's an updated pic of the Sun Parasol climbing on the trellis, only a few weeks later...

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:38PM
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