The Q&A Archives: Cold Weather Vines And Climbers

Question: I live in the Front Range of Colorado. This means that we don't have a lot of sustained snow (about 80 inches a year but hardly ever on the ground for more than a few days) but our snow season is roughly from September until May. We do typically have some very cold days and nights though--sometimes dipping well before zero for several days at a time.

Do you know of any vining plants or "climbers" that can survive the winters here. I love vining-type foilage and have it all indoors right now and would love to try some outdoors. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

Answer: That's a tough one because so many vines are tropical in origin, but here's a few to consider. Try clematis. There are dozens of varieties; most are deciduous (the nursery should know). Flowers are exotic looking and come in many colors. Roots need to be kept cool, and tops of the vines in the sun for growth and flowering.

Campsis radicans or common trumpet creeper is deciduous, will die to the ground in a hard freeze, but comes back. Flower is orange with scarlet.

Climbing hydrangea (H. anomala) is deciduous, with flat, white clusters of flowers. It prefers regular water.

Euonymus fortunei is an evergreen shrub or vine. I'm not familiar with this plant, but my reference says it can take temps that drop below 0 degrees and can reach a mass of 20 feet or more.

Celastrus or bittersweet can survive in your zone. It displays colorful orangish capsules with red seeds inside. It has strong rope-like stems and can get out of control without constant pruning. (You need both a male and female plant for berries.) I hope one of these works for you!

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