Balcony Shade Vines

TorontoBalconyApril 1, 2013


I was hoping someone could help me. I have a balcony that faces east and there are 5 foot tall concrete walls on the south and west sides of it. I want to cover these walls with a vine, but they get little to no direct sunlight, though plenty of indirect light. I am looking for a vine that I can have grow up it (with support) and will thrive in a container. I would like to plant zucchini or cucumber but I am afraid they won't get enough sunlight. Maybe a trumpet vine would work? I ideally want to cover the wall and have something edible, but as long as I won't be looking at concrete I will be happy.

Any ideas?


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You may not get a trumpet creeper to flower prolifically in a low-light location. Virginia creeper will thrive, but tends toward weediness, and may not be a great pick if you don't want rampant growth. Your native grapes (there are a number of forest species native to southern ontario) might be the right choice; they tolerate light shade and will produce edible (if somewhat tart) grapes. Commercial varieties probably won't tolerate your conditions, though.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 9:25PM
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Thanks for responding!

I have done some more research since I posted and I am now debating between a Virginia Creeper or Riverbank Grapes. I like the idea of pretty rampant growth as I want to cover the ugly wall as quickly as possible. Also, if the vine manages to grow five feet to the top of the wall it will have full sun all afternoon/evening. Maybe I will do one container of each?

ps. I just realized that I said the balcony faces east when I meant west. So the 14 story building on the east side, 5 foot concrete walls on the south and west sides and a railing hight wall on the north.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:30PM
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I personally like the idea of multi-purpose plants, and would probably go for the grapes if I had the room. If you're unsure, take a walk around the Don or Humber river valleys in May or June and take a look at the grapes there. The native grapes are quite nice, but they produce fruit that is much smaller than you'll find in commercial cultivars and they are much more tart.
The downside is that they'll require some support for their tendrils.

Virgina creeper doesn't require any help, and has nice fall colour. Its berries are, however, poisonous and it's therefore not a good bet if small children might have access to the plant(s).

You could also consider clematis, which has beautiful flowers and tolerates light shade, and hops, which is easy to grow and produces...hops. Good luck with your choice!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 12:51AM
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