Climbing plants Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Vines For Inexpensive Air Conditioning

A thoroughly air-conditioned house. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Climbing plants can greatly help moderate temperatures. When grown on the walls of a home or building, they keep it cooler in summer by reflecting the sun’s rays and also by lowering the temperature through transpiration. Most lose their leaves in the winter, thus letting the sun warm the house… and their intertwining stems moderate the wind, reducing heat loss.

And the effect is felt in the garden too. The green curtain created by vines covering a pergola can reduce the temperature by up to 7˚F (4˚C), a significant difference on a hot summer day.

The temperature-reducing effect of vines is most obviously felt in the city, where, under the pervasive influence of asphalt and concrete, buildings become real ovens in the summer. One of these days city planners will wake up to this fact and start making growing green plants on city walls an obligation.

Of course, you’ll probably wonder if growing vines on a wall doesn’t harm it. The answer is no. Here is a blog on the subject.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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