perinnial climbers

veena_helpAugust 2, 2007

I have just shifted to Montrealfrom India.There is a huge painted metal structure on the first floor terrace of the condo where the previous owners put up a canvas enclosure for the summer. I thought it woulod be nice to convert it into a pergola with wines and climbers in large pots. Please help me someone as I have no idea what to use in the sewere cold of this place.I need to know what to use that would last through the winters and cover the structure in a couple of years and give a nice look in the spring and summer. Also the care needed. I can use hanging baskets if need be but I need the ugly structure covered. Thankyou

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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

Does this area get sun or shade? Most vines do not do well in shade - they tend to grow quickly towards the sunnier areas and ignore the shady spots. There are no vines that will keep their leaves over the winter here (I'm also in Montreal). Also growing big vines in a pot is difficult. I grow all my plants in pots, including several vines) and I have come to the conclusion that it's possible to grow pretty well anything you want that way, but it is considerably more difficult than growing in the ground. You still have several options though.

You can plant annuals like Morning Glories if you want something that flowers. If you want a fast growing perennial leafy vine, then Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus cinquefolia) or Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) might be good choices if you use a large enough pot. It is more difficult for a plant to survive over the winter in a pot than it is in the ground because the roots are going to be more likely to freeze. In a big enough pot, this can often be avoided, especially if you grow plants that are tolerant of even colder areas that the one you are growing them in, like the two I recommended.

The other big problem with growing vines in pots is that they will need a lot of water and fertilizer to grow large. Daily watering, and sometimes twice a day when it's hot like it is today will be necessary.

If you are able to plant them in the ground, it would be better, especially if you are new to gardening.

My recommendation would be lots and lots of Morning Glories next year (you can grow them cheaply and easily from seed), and the year after. Virginia Creeper and Boston Ivy will take a two or three years to cover a wall, and may take as many as five years if they're in a pot. Plant them too, and while you're waiting for them to grow, you can have the faster growing Morning Glories do the job of covering the wall.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:43PM
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Thank you BP,
Having lived in Kashmir I am familiar with virginia creeper and ivy. They are lovely especially when virginia creeper changes colour in the fall. The patio gets half a days sun and is quite nice. It sits over two pillars over the open car parking area. I can plant these climbers along one post. The other post sits on the paved area of the parking space of the community. Morning glory in pots in the spring( what month?)on the patio upstairs would be great. I was hoping to find something a bit more permanent that won't have to be planted and trained every year. Otherwise if I have to plant in the ground it will take years to cover up the ugly frame on the first floor patio. How about clematis? I know the leaves die off in the winter but if the roots and stems can survive the winter then it would be the perfect solution, flowers or not. How about Wisteria?
does it grow in the ground here and survive the winters. Slow growing I know. But if I have to go for slow growing things then it is agreat option.Thankyou for responding

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 10:40AM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

Wisteria is not hardy here - it is too cold. Unfortunate because it is so beautiful! Clematis is not a very fast growing vine (compared to Virginia Creeper) and if you planted it in the ground at the base of the pillar, it wouldn't get large enough to cover your frame (if I understand your description). In a large pot on your patio, it might do, but Clematis does not like hot roots and a pot tends to get pretty warm, even one in the shade. It might be worth trying one, just for some variety (When I'm talking about a large pot, I'm not talking about something that's 12" across the top, but instead something the size of a half barrel (one can buy them at Home Depot for around $20-30 each)). It will still take at least two or three years for it to get large enough to cover much. A Hops vine would be a good fast growing perennial that would probably tolerate a pot on a patio, but they die back to the ground every year.

For a permanent solution, I still think your best bet would be some Virginia Creeper (it's a bit faster growing than Boston Ivy). If you planted some in the ground at the base of one of those posts it'll probably take a couple of years for it to climb high enough to begin to cover your frame - another two or three years and it'll have had time to cover a lot, or most of it. Once it has gotten large enough, it'll give you good quick coverage of the frame in the spring because it doesn't die back to the ground in the winter - as soon as the leaves come out you've got your camouflage.

While that grows, you could experiment with Clematis or Hops on your patio. Morning Glories are the easiest things in the world to grow. You don't need to train them - they train themselves. If there are no holes or openings for them to twine through, you can use thin bamboo stakes to get them up and over the edge of your frame. I plant them at the end of April and ignore them for most of the summer (except for watering them). Cardinal Climbers are a Morning Glory relative that has interesting leaves and small red flowers - they'd be nice too.

If you want to have some Virginia Creepers to start with, I can give you some - It tries to take over my backyard and I am always cutting it back. I can easily save you some pieces that are rooting.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 3:55PM
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Thankyou BP
I will take your advise and start off with Virginia. In the mean time plant morning glory come April. I noticed a climber on the wall of some neighbours which I believe is a very fast growing vine. It has small white flowers but has thick leading stems and thick heart shaped leaves. Unfortunately they don't know the name. It is just a fast growing climber and not as pretty as virginia creeper but a flowering climber. Have any idea what it is? So clematis it will be for the time being and go with your suggestions of morning glory and virginia creeper.Hops sounds great idea. Are these the ones that are used for making beer? I would be very happy to get starting material, thankyou so very much. When should the creeper be started?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 10:23AM
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How about hoya climbers?
I saw a wine in a neighbours balcony. Would it be seasonal? I saw it in Oxford for the first time in somebodys' coverd patio. I is being advertised by Daves Garden and wonder if it can stay outdoors in the winter either in the earth or in a pot. If a variety survive the winter in outdoors would somebody please guide me?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 10:19AM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

Your neighbour's vine sounds like it might be a climbing Hydrangea. They're beautiful and great for partial shade, but are very slow growing initially. It would probably take seven to ten years (and maybe longer) to grow up to your patio if you planted it in the ground. I've never grown one so I don't know for sure how they'd do in a pot, but I would guess they wouldn't do well - they require a fair bit of water and being in a pot would stress them severely.

Hops that are used to flavour beer come from the hops vines that I suggested.

I have tons of Virginia Creeper runners taking over my back yard at the moment, so I can easily give you lots. If you want to make arrangements to pick them up, please email me (you can do that from my 'my page' link - next to my name).

Hoyas are all tropical and would not survive the winter here. I have a whole bunch of them and I put them out for the summer, but bring them inside once the temperatures begin to drop below 10C. They are also quite expensive and not that fast growing - they'd take a lot of time to grow large enough to use as a screen or a lot of money to buy several large plants. Some of them are quite difficult to grow as well.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 12:30PM
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