there must be a top annual, roots perennial vine, right?

davidrt28 (zone 7)July 4, 2014

Besides certain types of clematis?
I have a wall of my house that ideally, needs a vine. It's the SW corner and I'm convinced the Parthenocissus I have now helps shade the stone walls from the sun and keeps that room cool.. However, it has gotten way too vigorous. I just can't deal with having to cut it every week or so w/a string trimmer. (my house is 1 story) This year I hard cut it at about 4 feet along the whole 20 ft length. Even single branchlet, many over 1/4" caliper. I could not believe how fast it came back. All shoots again reaching the gutter, after less than 2 months!

I'm looking for something that will be root hardy, but not mind having the tops cut down. Either by cold or manually. Now, on the other side of the house, SE exposure, I kept a Mandevilla laxa alive for 2 winters. The tops died of course, it came back from the roots. Then the downspout drain backed up, the soil stayed too wet in winter, and it died. It's obviously marginally hardy here...but the growth rate was perfect. By the middle of summer they were up to the top of the wall, but maybe slowed because it didn't like growing in the hot weather. If I could get 10 cheap ones, I might try again on the SW side. But the SW wall is probably too hot for that plant.

BTW I don't mind having to put a support up, so I don't need a clinger like boston ivy or ivy. And I definitely don't want ivy, even a dwarf cultivar, because I _do_ want the sun to hit the walls in in the winter. Helps warm the house up. Can't have a tree because I have a bed w/many sun loving ornamentals in the area (Although, I have a very happy, healthy Chilopsis tree in the area, and have seriously considered trying to train it along the walls. But I think in the long term that would be a lot of work, too. It did not die back at 3F this winter)

I'm even thinking about a grape or two. String some wire supports right along with wall. Give it a year or two where I let the top stay up so that it gets established. Then, every year start cutting it to the ground. Think that will work? Not very pretty but functional at least, the big leaves should shade the wall well. And they fall off cleanly in the fall. Although, now that I think about it, I actually think the espaliered Chilopsis is a better idea.

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Fri, Jul 4, 14 at 15:00

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Campanula UK Z8

I think you are onto something, considering the possibilities for espalier training (morello cherries, peach/nectarines, even apples or pears) and vines are very good in this situation. Either a straight horizontal espalier or fan trained....or you can really push the boat out and look at the dutch training - amazing shaping, almost sculptural with little forays into the wilder realms of horticulture such as inosculation. Or how about a buddleja lindleyana? Firethorn? chaenomeles?

The whole training trees and shrubs, including pleaching, is extremely addictive and hugely satisfying if you have even a trace of control-freakery (I have) with possibilities for some astonishing shaping using a surprising number of plants.

Then there are roses, camellias and so forth.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 7:19AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Well campanula I'm too lazy to be much of a garden control freak.
Yes an espalier could look good, although pretty much any of those Rosaceae are out of the question here because the humidity causes them to be constantly beset with fire blight, et al. This spring for example I cut down a big green gage because there's just no hope of getting it to bear w/o an aggressive spraying regime. There are a few exceptions but not applicable to this situation. The more I think about it, the Chilopsis is promising; it has very wirey, flexible branches. They are super drought tolerant, which is important since the roof overhang blocks some rain in this area. They used to be cheap from the old High Country Gardens, but it's the type plant they might not sell anymore since the buyout. Rather than wait for mine to get bigger, I could just buy 4 or 5 and make a hedge of Chilopsis, which would vaguely resemble Nerium in over effect. Not a perfect shading of the wall, but enough to help keep the heat down.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:14PM
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