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Perennial Vine Help

Posted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:50 am
by aliceinchainsrose
Hello, I live in northern Illinois, and I am looking for some help with choosing a perennial vine. I would like to plant it on the west side of my screened-in porch. The spot has good soil and I have had success with several varieties of annual vines, but I think I would like to plant a perennial variety so I don't have to wait for the vine to cover up the side of the porch. The spot has mostly full sun. I would like to have something that blooms most of the summer because this side of the porch is also the entrance to my house. I have considered clematis, honeysuckle, and trumpet vine, but have gotten rather overwhelmed with all of the choices there are. My eventual goal is to have the vine large enough to cover the entire west wall (realizing that I will have to plant more than one to achieve this) and spill up on to the roof of the porch, so I would have something that grows fairly tall, but not extremely invasive because there are flower beds that go out from the porch a ways. I will probably use a type of fencing (like chicken wire, or metal panel fencing) as a support for the vine to grow on. Thanks in advance for your help!

Posted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:39 am
by Kisal
Welcome to the forum! It's nice to have you with us! :)

I strongly urge you to avoid planting trumpet vine anywhere within reach of your house. I love my big old trumpet vine, which grows on my back fence, but it sent a runner all the way across my yard (50 feet!) into the flower border beside my house. I didn't see it in time, and a shoot grew up underneath the siding. As it grew in size, it split and lifted the siding. In order to get the vine out, all the siding had to be removed from that side of my house. Then, of course, I had to pay for new siding to be installed and painted. It was a very expensive lesson for me. Now I examine the area around my home every 2 weeks, so I can remove any runners from the vine. I would be very wary of allowing any vine to grow onto the roof of my house, because they could grow under the shingles and allow water to leak in. (JMO, though. I'm certainly not a roofer. :lol: )

Clematis is nice. I have one on the west side of my front porch, but a tree shades it from the heat of the late afternoon sun. I don't know whether one would do well in direct west sun, without some sort of protection. Perhaps it would, I just don't know. My clematis is an old 'jackmanii', and only blooms from mid June to about early July. The rest of the summer, it's just a green vine, although the seed capsules are somewhat interesting. I have to cut it back to about 12" from the ground in the winter.

I happen to love honeysuckle, and have one that grows on a trellis on the east side of my house. It's not a Japanese honeysuckle, although I wish it were. I know they're considered very invasive, but I just love them. The one I have is called 'wilsonii', I think, but I could well be mistaken. It's been several years since I planted it. I'm not really pleased with it, because the flowers don't have the lovely honeysuckle scent. The flowers look like the ones in this pic:


Posted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:29 pm
by rainbowgardener
Agree with Kisal re the trumpet creeper. It is a great vine to have somewhere... hummingbirds love the flowers and goldfinches and other birds eat the seeds all winter when there is little other food. But it is so ... exuberant! I made the mistake of planting one next to a downspout. Now we have to keep chopping it back to keep it from clogging the gutters, lifting the roof shingles etc. Don't plant it near your house!

American bittersweet is a nice vine with berries that birds like. But be very careful. Most bittersweet that is sold is Oriental bittersweet, an invasive exotic species that has become a huge pest in many areas.

Another nice native vine is the maypop or passionflower vine. Very exotic looking flowers and fruits that birds like.

If you don't care about having showy flowers, Virginia creeper is a pretty vine, that will give very dense coverage. It has brilliant fall color and berries the birds like...

Posted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:07 pm
by applestar
Another vote but for NATIVE honeysuckle -- Lonicera sempervirens.
The Japanese one, IMHO is too aggressive.

Tried 'Alabama Crimson', but it died, so I have 'Dropmore Scarlet'. Hummingbirds LOVE the flowers. The one plant covers approx, 4foot section of my house wall, all the way up to the single story roof and gutter and is arching over a window on one side and is trying to wrap around the corner on the other. If one is not enough, you can easily take and root cuttings in early summer. I have a 2nd plant grown from cuttings covering my gate arbor, and I've no idea what I'm going to do with them but I have another 2 or 3 cuttings started from last summer's pruning. 8)

It gets nibbled on rare occasions, but the nibbler turned out to be Snowberry Clearwing (a.k.a. Bumblebee) Moth caterpillar. Here's a photo of one we raised and released:

Got a little concerned and did a little search because Lonicera sempervirens didn't sound correct for Dropmore Scarlet. I was right, it's Lonicera x brownii 'Dropmore Scarlet'. A little more search yielded this info:
Comments: A hybrid between L. sempervirens and L. hirsuta

And according to this site:
L. hirsuta is a native of Canada.
So the cross still derives from N. American native species and explains how Bumblebee moths recognize it as their larval food. That they can mature on it is indicative of good native fauna support. (whew!) :wink:

Posted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:50 pm
by LenG
>I happen to love honeysuckle<

So do we--we put one called goldflame along a trellis we have which also has clematis, climbing roses and one climbing hydrangea. We have one trumpet vine in another area but it's not for us--hardly ever blooms and has become invasive. That goldflame attracts plenty of hummingbirds in the summer.

Posted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:10 pm
by Odd Duck
Another vote for the native honeysuckle - look for 'Major Mitchell" is a nice selected variety, not a hybrid.

I've wondered about the native cross vine (Bignonia capreolata). It's said to be a better, less invasive alternative to trumpet vine. Can anyone tell us more about this one from personal experience? Seems like it would still be "dangerous" near the house.


Posted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:45 pm
by GAR831
I live just outside of Chicago, and I have Trumpet Vine, Freesia, Clematis and Honeysuckle. All are thriving and strong. I like a variety of colors, textures and scents, although I too am disappointed the Honeysuckle isn't as fragant as I would like. Pruning is easy in the fall, messy, but needed. The Freesia I cut back in the Spring. :wink: