North side of house/flowering climber

jbeg0508(6)October 12, 2010

North side of my house has a large area with no windows that would look really lovely with something climbing up and spreading all over it. The area gets a lot of shade though. I have vinyl siding and I don't want the obvious look of a trellis, I would like to create some other way for the vines to climb, I've read about small hooks attached with wire which sounds like a possibility.

I've considered Lady Banks rose, but I think she would eat my house. I have considered climbing hydrangea vines, but I think that it needs more support in the form of a trellis.

I have a long narrow bed (4 ft. wide) that runs along this north side and pops out at the end of the house into a wider semicircle (12 feet). In the narrow portions of the bed are hostas, hucheras, Annabelle and Blushing Bride hydrangeas and then at the end where the bed gets considerably larger (and there is more sun) I have a Korean Spice viburnum and a Vitex/Chasteberry. So, whatever I plant will have to share a home with the hostas/hydrangeas and the blooms needs to be in a softer color to complement the other colors in that bed.

I thought about morning glories, but not sure I want to deal with the prolific reseeding. I wish I could post a photo, I don't know how to do that though.


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If you don't want trellises then your idea of hooks would work. There's a kind of eye hook available through Lee Valley tools (online) which you can glue on to the wall (and can be removed without damage). you can thread wires in these hooks which can form the support for vines. Intead of climbing roses, choose ramblers which grow to 10 feet so these are more easily controlled compared to climbers. Or use clematis which will attach itself to the wires using tendrills. I also grow a dropsmore honey suckle vine which I attach to the wire via twine. In time this plant will be woody enough to stand on it's own and i can remove the wire.

An alternate to trellis are posts. I've used one 10 foot pole for my rose. I coiled my new dawn rose around this post. However new dawns can eat up a house

I agree the climbing hydrangea will not be suitable - it needs to attach itself to a relatively flat surface like a wall or a post. Don't get porcelain vines because they reseed far and wide and it's a pain to pull out all the errant new vines that grow from these seeds.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 3:22PM
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I'm afraid it is just too shady for any type of rose to do well. I thought clematis likes cool roots and hot leaves? They also may need more sun that this spot will allow.

Honey suckle is a thought. I like it but I know it can also spread like wildfire. I'll have to do more research.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 3:46PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I put plants on sticks. I buy a large (six to eight inch diameter) round eight to twelve foot tall pole and dig a hole and stick the stick in the hole. Then I buy a huge basket or lightweight pot and put a bolt into the bottom of it into the stick, and plant what I want.

I currently have about eight asparagus ferns on sticks, and I have also grown ivy on sticks. If you put three of them at different staggered heights it looks really nice.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 11:30PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

To me 'North wall' says Morello cherry. Would you consider a fan trained fruit tree? Mixing in edibles is very in keeping with the cottage ethos and training fruit against walls is common in British gardens. You will get blossom, fruit and possibly even Autumn colour and then an attractive fan of bare branches through the winter. You'd need four or five horizontal wires or you could do it with canes. The link expains but mentions a S facing wall. Morellos don't need S exposure.

Here is a link that might be useful: fan trained cherry

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 5:28AM
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Clematis can do well in light shade. I have them my area. However not in deep shade.

Dropsmore Honeysuckle - another one of my vines can do well if you prune them back. so far mine hasn't gone rampant. I had surrounded the plant with various other plants including cimifuga, lamb's ears, Limelight hydrangea, climbing hydrangea, astilbes. it is a tight space and perhaps because the roots are unable to spread far, it's basically contained.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 10:23AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

You might also try the little yellow climbing bleeding heart vine. It likes some cooler shade to bloom (at least here it does) and fries in too much sun.

You will need something pretty light weight if you are simply gluing a hook system to wires or to fishing line. I have wood sided houses and we use hooks and eyes with wire, it does very well but nothing really heavy can go on, it will pull the hook right out (or the glue off of siding). If you have wood under your eves, consider a vertical invisible trellis that isn't even attached to the house. You could put wires along a piece of wood or pipe and attach that to the underside of the eves and then put something heavy along the ground (we tie ours around rocks) and let the vines climb up that. Works great!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 4:04PM
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aimeekitty(9-10, SW 18)

what about star jasmine? I have two on the shady north side inbetween our two houses. They seem to be doing just fine.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 3:50PM
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flora2b(z6a bc)

Why would you not consider a lovely trellis and use it as a feature of the garden.
Here is a trellis I built and have had hundreds of compliments on.

I still struggle with getting something to grow on it, as I have similiar shade conditions to yours for it. Euonymous variegata is starting to climb on it and I suspect in another 10 years may actually cover it. I also stuck a clematis in years ago, thought it had died, but it keeps popping up and blooming in the fall...its called Ramona.

This wasn't my plan, but looks like it going to be the result!!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 3:01PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Flora, that's a beautiful scene!
I do understand the worry of a heavy trellis, (once the plant gets on there). I realized the other day a man in our neighborhood has a trellis blocked off of his walls with some pipe fittings. He just painted the pipe fittings to match the house. It looks great! I'm going to use the same method to attach trellises to our church walls.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 2:45PM
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flora2b(z6a bc)

Thanks girlgroupgirl for the nice comments.
You can hardly tell by that pic, but the trellis is attached to two 8 foot posts that are dug into the ground. It doesn't touch the house in anyway. If I want to paint I simply unscrew the trellis with plants still attached and lean it out of the way. I've also seen where a smart homeowner put hinges on the bottom of the trellis and could just move it out of the way like that.
Attaching plants to the house is always risky, not only because of the weight, but so many will figure out a way to grow into, under or around the brick or wood or whatever and make house maintenance a real pain.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 6:08PM
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Dutchman's pipe will do OK in partial shade and it can be trimmed/kept to a certain area. I have it and I'm very happy with it so far. It would seem like a good candidate for what you're describing.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 2:03PM
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