Climbing plants Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

For Faster Coverage, Mix Annual and Perennial Vines

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Let annual climbers like this morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’) fill in while you’re waiting for your permanent climbing plants to start to take their place. Source: centerofthewebb.ecrater.com

Most perennial vines, that is herbaceous and woody climbing plants such as clematis, honeysuckle, or Boston ivy, grow slowly at first and can take 3 or 4 years (even longer in the case of climbing hydrangea, Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) before really giving you the effect you’re looking for.

That being the case, while you’re waiting for them to perform, why not sow annual vines between the permanent ones: morning glories, sweet peas, runner beans, thunbergias, etc.? Annuals will reach their full height (often 10 feet/3 m or more) during a single summer. When the permanent vines reach an interesting height and size, just stop sowing the annuals!

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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