shade-loving flowering vine?

ireneoApril 4, 2007

very, very novice gardener here, working on rebuilding renewing and refurbishing a neglected garden behind the apartment we just moved into. I would love a vine to climb a north-facing (i think?) trellis that gets very little sun. dappled light for maybe a couple hurs, otherwise mostly shady. Also, the trellis is on the deck, so it would have to grow from pots... and fast, i need to hide the shed area behind it.

i would really really like something that flowers, and fragrant would be an extra bonus. even veggie would be great, though im pretty sure those need lots of sun... just anything but ivy! :)

so, any thoughts?

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Climbing Hydrangea is a great vine to climb in shade. Mine are growing up oak trees (plenty of shade). Although they have only flowered lightly for me, they are growing like crazy. Flowers are understated, but still pretty... one of my favorites!

I've also wanted to try dutchman's pipe in that situation - but haven't had the opportunity. It doesn't have nice flowers though.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 12:41AM
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i've heard climbing hydrangea is a slow grower.. how has it been for you?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 12:47AM
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Oh yeah... I didn't notice your need for speed ;)
It is slow for the first 2-3 years. I planted 12in tall walmart plants next to two oak trees in 2003. After a couple slow years, they put out a solid 2ft of new growth last year and have now reached about 10' up and should be a solid wall of green up to that level this year.

So yes... slow to start, but vigorous once established.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 1:04AM
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CH grows slowly. Mine is trained on a fence and I've pruned it ruthlessly for its present shape, it's 12 yrs. old? (can't remember). It gets huge and needs very strong support.

Anytime you're dealing with shade your options for flowers tend to dwindle, I'm sorry to say. You may want to give Aristolochia durior a shot (Dutchman's pipe), the huge heart shaped leaves are really showstopping, and possess an understated elegance that grows on you. You might also check out the Vines forum, though I've found it to be slow.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 5:35AM
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flutterbug(NH 5b)

Unfortunately with that small amount of sun you probably won't have any luck growing anything with showy flowers. (My first thought was sweet autumn clematis which can grow in part shade, but It sounds like you have shade due to a structure which is not the same as shade from a high canopy of trees, where this clematis would probably do well in.) So I second the dutchmans pipe, not only does it have beautiful large heart shaped leaves, but it is the host plant for the pipevine swallowtail's caterpillars. So if you have these beautiful butterflies in your area you will hopefully be lucky enough to have future generations start in your yard! Also I want to point out that the species name is now usually listed as Aristolochia macrophylla (to save you some confusion if you can't find the other older species name) another pipevine hardy for you is Aristolochia tomentosa.
If you'd like more info about growing one here's some info I've gathered:
Aristolochia macrophylla
Perennial Vine
Hardiness: Zones 4 to 8
Exposure: Sun to Shade
Soil: Moist; Fertile
Height: 15Â to 30Â
Spread: 15Â to 20Â
Bloom: May
Color: Green to Purplish Brown
PH: 6.1 to 8.5
Danger: Poisonous

Pipevine is an eastern North American native vine. It is easily grown in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. It can be grown in average garden soil but it does not tolerate dry soils and wilts in dry conditions. This vigorous climber with pretty heart shaped leaves has been popular since Victorian times for providing shade on porches. The 2 inch pale purplish brown flowers are interesting, but are mostly hidden by the foliage. They are pollinated by flies which they attract with their malodorous flowers then trap. The next day the flower stops producing the scent that attracted the flies and releases pollen on them, only then does the flower reopen and release the flies to carry the pollen to another flower. Aristolochia species are the only host plant for Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars. Provide a strong support for this rapid grower and if desired cut it back in late winter to control its growth.

Copy and paste this link for a cool site with pictures!

Here is a link that might be useful: Check the map of your state to see if you have pipevine swallowtails

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 1:08PM
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what great info!
i really like the sound of this vine.. especially due to its ecological significance.
i will look into getting some- do you think it will do alright in a container?
thanks again for such great info. :)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 1:29PM
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I'd question whether climbing hydrangea will be happy in a pot. Mine, at 3 years, is a large plant and getting bigger every year. It's growing up a concrete retaining wall, and at its current size would overwhelm any pot and all but the heaviest trellis or arbor.

Some clematis grow and bloom in some shade. I think how dense your shade is would influence how well they would do. For instance, on the north side of one of my buildings I have some plants that only get about 2 hours of direct sun daily for only a couple of months of the year, but they are growing well since they have good indirect light, with the shade only created by the building, with no overhanging trees. It's very bright, open shade.

If you are growing perennial plants in pots, the pots need to be frost-proof (most ceramic pots will crack if they freeze) and the plants should be about 2 zones hardier than your regular zone. Otherwise plan on growing annual vines and somehow covering your pots to keep them dry during winter. Or if your apartment has a place you can overwinter a tropical plant, you could visit a greenhouse like Logee's in CT that has a wonderful selection of tropical plants and see if they can provide a vine or two that would meet your conditions.

Another option you might want to consider is finding a vine with variegated foliage if you can't find one that will bloom under your conditions. You could then hang pots or bags of flowering annuals as well as grouping them around the feet of your vine to give you both the coverage and the blossoms that you want.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 1:34PM
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If you do try the dutchmans pipe, can you post where you find it? I have tried a few times to find it locally in the past, with no luck (central CT). I would love to try it to cover a chain link fence out back.

One thing you may want to consider (but I can't verify) is that it may have an unpleasant odor - like rotting meat or something, and thus attracts flies :) I can't imagine such a thing, but have heard rumors.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 1:50PM
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An area that's in shade now may not be (as much) in a month or so; the path of the sun is quite a bit different in summer than in winter and the equinox was just a few weeks ago. So - if you give us more info about what's creating the shade and what direction it is in from the trellis, we might be able to guess if it will be sunnier in summer. If so, there *may* be a few more vines that will bloom for you in this situation.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 5:53PM
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it is an odd setup, so it will be hard to describe/harder to understand. but i will find a compass so i can be sure i am describe where the trellis faces, then try to explain it better.

what is partial shade? like, how would it be defined?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 2:53PM
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flutterbug(NH 5b)

At one time I was also confused about the definition of partial shade and I found this info useful.
Full Sun: Defined to mean at least 6 hours of direct unobstructed sunlight.
Part Sun or Light Shade: Between 4-6 hours of direct sun (Bright with a high diffuse of canopy trees)
Part Shade or Half Shade: Between 2-4 hours of direct sun (such as beneath a canopy of shade trees)
Full Shade: A landscape situation receiving little direct sun. Usually less than 2 hours. Buildings and dense growth often prevent anything but dappled light.
The only other problem you will run into is nursery tags or web info that refer to anything inbetween Sun and Shade as Partly Shady which I find to be very vague. I much prefer when it is defined as either Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade or Shade.
Although, if you go with the Pipevine it doesn't matter what your exact amount of sun is, because it grows in full sun or full shade and everything inbetween! As another poster mentioned the flower scent is malodorous, when I searched this word online I found it to describe flowers that emit a scent to attract insects which like things that are rotting, however I have heard that the smell is not strong enough to be noticed by us. I believe the Pipevine would do well in a container, just use a large one so it has plenty of room for root growth. This past summer I saw them growing in containers at a house I pass by every day. They looked very happy and had climbed all the way up each side of her farmers porch. Like someone else mentioned things grown in pots and left outside in winter should probably be 2 zones hardier than your growing zone. Otherwise they might not make it through a nasty winter. But Pipevine is 2 zones hardier than you, so it would work. I know last year they were available at the NEWFS, which is in Framingham MA, well worth the trip (they have another location as well). Bring your credit card because trying to be good you'll probably end up with $200 in your cart! They have their availability list on their website, and it's updated throughout the year and it seems different plants are added almost monthly, but I would still call ahead if you want a specific item, because they didn't have everything that was on the list the last time I went.

Here is a link that might be useful: New England Wild Flower Society

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 5:45PM
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awesome.. my future mother in law is a master gardener, so maybe she'll make the trip with me! :)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 4:18PM
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