Need heat tol. flowering vine for fence, small hole in driveway

jillyluis(6A)April 14, 2014

We have a small section (maybe 2.5 feet) of fence we'd like to have a vine growing up. The fence is sort of like horizontal spindles. The fence goes on top of the driveway. I pulled up a few pavers, so we have a small hole to put it in. The area and everything is much too small for wisteria. Clematis was exactly what I wanted; I tried one last year and it died within 36 hours. ( I knew it was improbable that it would work, but I thought that quick death was excessive...I know I know cool roots). Oh, and to further complicate matters, yellow orange or red flowers won't work for the area. It gets a lot of sun, and the pavers def heat up the roots.
Any thoughts, I'm struggling.
Thanks a lot

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Clematis actually need even moisture rather than cool roots since they thrive in full sun in black nursey pots if well cared for. However, any plant will have issues settling in to an area that is surrounded by hard surfaces reflecting hot sun before its roots have had a chance to develop some. I would not plant any plant from smaller than a gallon pot (two or three gallons would be better) in this type of setting, and I would give it shade from a lawn chair or something similar for a week or so to settle it in to have any hope of survival.

Do you know what the soil is like under the pavers? If it is compacted and nutient poor most plants will struggle to survive. If it has high salt concentrations from winter salt dripping off cars, most plants won't survive. How large an area of pavers did you pull? One foot square will be different than 3' x 3' as far as available uncompacted root run, reflected heat, and available surface to allow moisture in.

For this summer, try planting seeds of vining beans, since all beans fix their own nitrogen and so will need fewer nutrients. Their leaves should develop at a rate that the roots can support, so if they don't make it, it means that either the heat reflected off the hard surfaces is cooking the plants or the soil is too poor to support plant life.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:38PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

You might want to try Clematis texensis. It is native to Eastern Texas. The species might be the best bet, but you can also try Duchess of Albany or Princess Diana as these are texensis hybrids. In any case I would dig your hole very deep, amend the soil well, as Babs says, and plant the crown of the plant about 6 inches below the surface. Use about 2 inches of mulch on top of that and give it lots of supplemental water.

It's probably true that planting in the Fall is a better bet, as it will give the plant time to get its roots established well before the heat of summer. But if you do three things 1. Amend the soil well, 2. Plant deep and 3. Give it lots of water, you should be successful.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:38AM
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Great idea to be beans this summer (plus then I can procrastinate a bit more). It is a small area maybe a foot by a foot. The soil is compacted (Our house if 200 years old, and that is a common theme). The cars don't go near it so at last I don't have to worry about salt. Clematis tenesis looks great! That might be the winner, but I do think given the poor soil that the beans are a great bet for this year. Plus if it really won't support life I can put the pavers back in (just a vine would look soooo nice there!). Thanks a lot!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:37PM
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