Growing vines to cover a wooden fence is an easy, low-maintenance way to add color and interest to your garden or yard. Whether you've made your own wooden fence or bought a new one, you can choose from a variety of vine plants to suit your needs.
Fickle gardeners can enjoy a profusion of pink flowers one year and a bounty of blue the next. Sprinkle the contents of a packet of seeds next to your wooden fence, and you'll have beautiful climbers in no time. Annuals like a sunny spot with good, well-draining soil. Plant seeds according to package directions and keep evenly moist until germination. That's about it. You only need to fertilize sparingly. Water too much and you'll have lots of dark foliage but few flowers. Be sure to water only if the weather has been especially hot or dry. The following are some of the flowering favorites.
Cardinal Climber Vine
This vine has deep red flowers with yellow or white throats. It varies in vine height, from 6-20 feet.
These can grow vines up to 20 feet. The flowers open only at night, giving off a heady fragrance.
These blue flowers open on a summer morning and stay open all day. Vines can reach 8-10 feet.
Sweet peas have relatively short vines, just 3-5 feet, but they're delightfully long on fragrance. They make great cut flowers, too.
Perennial vines return year after year. Some will eventually grow over your fence and cover it completely if they are not regularly trimmed back. There are perennials for a variety of uses and growing conditions. Here are some you might want to try.
Clematis vines offer 250 species to choose from with nearly any color imaginable. Most prefer full sun, but there are some shade-loving varieties too. Well-tended clematis, planted in rich soil with a neutral pH, can live up to 20 years.
These beauties pay dividends all year long, with clusters of huge white flowers in summer, bright-yellow foliage in fall, and eye-catching winter bark.
The everlasting pea is, in a way, the perennial version of sweet pea. It lacks sweet pea's fragrance, but the red, pink, or white flowers will bloom summer to fall, and it's an easy vine to grow.
Once enjoyed by Southerners only, wisteria is now available in varieties that are hardy. Be sure to plant in full sun and get ready for cascades of white, pink, lavender, or purple flowers. Wisteria can get quite heavy, so you may want to trim it so it doesn't weigh down your fence.
Forget About Ivy
Though ivy is a charming addition to any garden, its tenacious habit wreaks havoc with wood fences. Ivy spreads by sending out "grabbers" that will push into the wood and dry it out completely, leaving the wood to split in no time. Ivy can quickly grow into a lush, thick cover that holds moisture against your fence and causes it to rot, and it can be tough to get ivy off of walls or fences. In fact, ivy is so strong that it can actually twist the fence. If you must have ivy, grow it on a pole, a stone wall, or a chain-link fence.