Vine container sizing and maintenance?

paulsiu(5a)March 10, 2013

I looked online but there appears to be a lack of information on how large of a container I need for vines. If I want to grow a coral honeysuckle, how big of a container would I need? Would something like a 5 gal bucket size pot be enough or do I need a bigger container?

One recommendation is using something size of a half whiskey barrel, but what are a whiskey barrel's dimensions? I google and a half whickey barrel is about 24" W and about 17" H.

How does one prevent the plant from being root bound. Does pruning them keep the root grown in check?


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Paul, why wouldn't you plant it in the ground? It grows wild here in Florida. As for 'how large a pot', I'd say the vine will out-grow a 5 gallon bucket in just a couple of years - I'd opt for a very large 20 gallon pot.

You can't prevent it from getting pot-bound. You would need to dig it up and trim the rootball to keep it from getting pot-bound.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 6:44AM
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Because there is no ground to plant on. This is a balcony on the second floor.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 3:42PM
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Vines in containers............generally not a situation I'd recommend (except for certain clematis and most annual vines) :-(

Perennial vines tend to get big. And big plants that produce a lot of topgrowth produce pretty impressive root systems as well. Anything that confines or hampers that root development for long is also going to compromise the topgrowth. The vine will not achieve the same size (may or may not be a good thing), foliage may be stunted and flowering may be weak.

A 5 gallon bucket is not going to be suitable for very long. At my nursery we sell vines this big already. A half barrel is a decent size for most larger vines for at least a few seasons. These should average about 25-30 gallons. Make sure you have sufficient drainage holes and use a very high quality potting soil (notYou will need to repot and root prune periodically - every 4-6 years depending on type of vine. Pruning the top has no effect on the root development except often to make it grow even more vigorously. Root pruning - unpotting the vine and trimming 1/2 inch to an inch off of the rootball all the way around - and repotting with fresh soil will keep the vine healthy, vigorous and within bounds. Do this when the vine is dormant, before it starts growth in the spring.

You will need to fertilize routinely as well. Plants grown long-term in containers have no way to access needed nutrients unless YOU supply them. Use a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote every spring and supplement every now and agin during the growing season with a dilute liquid.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 5:00PM
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Hmm... I figure that may be an issues. I have grown clematis,but never in a container.

My original idea was to grow a perennial vine like a honeysuckle, but I am guessing that it would quickly get root bound. While I am perfectly ok with pruning roots, this is for my mom living at the end of the country, so I won't be there to do that maintenance. A half whiskey barrel may be too large for a retiree under 90 lbs to handle.

I notice that there are so call air pruning containers, but I don't think they will prevent a plant from over taking a container in the long run.

One other alternative is to grow some sort of annual like scarlett runner bean. She would have to replant it every year, but that may be easier than trying to prune a large vine root ball.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:24AM
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Morning glories and other annual vines grow nicely in containers...I grow 99% of my plants in 3 to 5 gallon pots since I have no space in my small terra firma gardens of my townhouse.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:03PM
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Have to stay away from Morning Glory since she has a cat with bad plant chewing habits, but annuals, especially edible one should be ok.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:46PM
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Question, what would you use as a trellis? One poster's idea was to hang a trellis net from the ceiling. Would that work for Scarlet runner bean?


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:32PM
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