best & fastest growing vine for chain link fence

tinemartinezAugust 3, 2011

I know absolutely nothing about gardening. What I do know is that I need to cover my chain link fence with a fast growing vine. I've done some research and have found clematis montana ruben, trumpet vine, jasmine and silver lace vine. I am at a complete loss. Does anyone have a suggestion for the best vine to grow in Southern California and one that will be fast growing? This is for the front of my house. The columns and fence are up... now something nice to cover the unattractive fence!

Thanks so much!

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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Hi tinemartinez,

Congrats on getting your new fence up. I know it is much more expensive, but have you considered planting shrubs instead of a vine? It's much less work in the long run if you plant the right shrubs. Iceberg roses get six feet tall and if you shear them after bloom they get dense. They grow fast and don't cost much- I got mine for $3.47 at Home Depot.

The three things to avoid in a vine are
1) a vine that will root itself or reseed (ivy, morning glory)
2) a vine that will shade itself at the bottom, so that it defoliates and just has a big wad of growth at the top and dead stuff beneath (Chinese jasmine, trumpet vines)
3) a vine that needs to be sheared or pruned more than twice a year (almost all of them)

When you take all of that into consideration, your options are more limited. My top pick for chain link is star jasmine, trachelospermum jasminoides. It stays green all year and is less of a maintenance nightmare.

Some other questions: Are you sure the clematis grows in your zone? I have never seen one in Southern California. Which trumpet vine are you considering? The red one was too much for me to keep up with, and I trim 316 feet of ivy-covered chain link (!) four times a year, so you can imagine how much trouble the red trumpet was. Pandoreas grow up and do not cover chain link well. I have never seen a silver lace vine here- in New Mexico, yes, but not really here in So Cal. Maybe there's a reason.

Good luck and have fun shopping.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:53PM
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wcgypsy(10 / Sunset 23)

You got my vote on the star jasmine also....

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 9:05PM
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toffee-el(Z8b Sunset Z13 Elev 4650ft)

passion fruit?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 4:54AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Ditto the Star Jasmine. The bonus is you get a very lovely perfume, especially in the evening. If I have a chance, I'll snap a pic of my Morning Glory growing on my chain link. I WISH I had the "before" picture, so you can see just how out of control Morning Glory can get. Yes, it is spectacular, but it grows at a nuclear rate (you could probably actually stand in front of it and see it grow), next to more poor passaflora, which I love for the Viceroy butterflies, but is also harbors huge amounts of snails (snail magnet). Star Jasmine looks nice all the time, easy to manage, can tolerate shade and sun, and smells great.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:13AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Thunbergera gregori or T. alata can also be useful, or ficus repens and Boston ivy.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 11:27AM
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In addition to vines, a low cost solution is to attach a snow fence to the chain link. I like the look of wood as a backdrop for future planting.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Solanum jasminoides (white potato vine)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 3:38PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

I live in south Orange County. I have a Clematis montana "Grandiflora" that is encouraged to ramble up a pine tree. It is one of my favorite vines! Beautiful 3-4" white flowers cover it for several months in the spring. Not a hint of mildew on the leaves, unlike some other clematis I've grown. Very quick growing and pest free. I pruned it heavily after flowering, and it is almost as large as it was before the whack.

BUT, as stated above, vines on chain link fences are a maintenance challange. I'd avoid the trumpet vine, jasmine and silver lace vine as those all like to grow top-heavy. The star jasmine has tough stems; I've heard tales of it being very difficult to free it from the chain link because it requires a lot of pruning and unwinding to free it. (My skin reacts to star jasmine sap, so I avoid growing it. Therefore, not much first-hand with this one).

Have you considered an espallier? I'd recommend something like lavender starflower. It is a tough, easy-to-grow shrub that looks good year-round. The leaves are an attractive green and the flowers are a hit with butterflies and hummingbirds. The stems branch in a flat pattern, making it a natural for espaliers. Quick growing once it gets started. An espalier would be less maintenance that a vine.

This post was edited by Gyr_Falcon on Mon, Sep 9, 13 at 15:45

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 3:43PM
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A planting of a hedge in front of the fence is easier to maintain. I also like star jasmine. Some of the faster vines like honeysuckle are pretty at first and more work later on to keep the fast growth in check.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:11PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

If you are stuck on vines, avoid the trumpet vine, passionfruit, ivy, and ficus. I would go with star jasmine. It's ubiquitous for a reason.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:26PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Yep! I'd avoid most vines, and go with a hedge. Vines have a way of latching onto things and growing where you wish they wouldnt.

When we moved to this property, we inherited many vines. The trumpet and star jasmine were killers! Literally! When we ripped out a star jasmine, we discovered a dying lemon tree completely smothered under it. We freed it up, fertilized it, and it's loaded with lemons now.

I am planting a fast growing hedge of Miracle Trees AKA Moringa Oleifera. They are individual trees, and don't mind being closely planted next to each other. The entire tree is edible, and has more health benefits than most plants. Google it!

I got 45 seeds on Ebay for cheap, planted 9, and in 4 days 6 germinated. They are now 4-6" tall, a week later, and I have planted more seeds to replace the ones that didn't germinate. Their beauty is that they are drought tolerant, beautifully green and the flowers (also edible) attract bees. they have one tap root, so no fear about invasive roots!

Here is a link that might be useful: Moringa, More than you can handle

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 2:17PM
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Vines on chain link fence gets a real "abandoned house look" real fast. Top heavy,rough looking. Pulling off the look can be done I guess if its a really well done garden.
Better to grow a hedge is right.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 1:19PM
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I had bougainvillea covering my chain link fence in my back yard in Venice, but I also had a Golden Chalice vine growing on it that was very beautiful and made huge flowers. It is an extremely easy vine to control, if you can get it to grow at all, but it loves the climate of coastal SoCal. I had a passion vine and loved the fruit, but it was a mess to take care of because if left so many dead leaves. A trumpet vine is just as bad, and I am allergic to Jasmine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Golden Chalice vine

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:45PM
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jimnyo(8 (SoCal))

we have a passionfruit growing on our fence and it's awesome. i am pretty sure it stays evergreen (we're in zone 21) year round and with enough water, we don't see a whole lot of brown leaves and if there are, it's in the undergrowth so i don't really see it. the fruit are the most delectable, ambrosial scent on earth and i make a lilikoi pie from a recipe i got in hawaii.

another vine we grew was the vigna caracalla which is scented, but that gets so ugly in the winter when it dies back. i think our neighbors hate us for it.

one of our friends grew wisteria on their chain link fence, which i loved, but i don't know what it looks like when it's not blooming.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:36PM
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