The Q&A Archives: Growing Outdoor Vines Indoors

Question: My husband and I recently purchased a home with a large addition on the back of the house which we use as a sunroom. The room is south facing with large windows from the floor to the ceiling, and recieves full sun from early morning until late afternoon. The temperature is always above 75 degrees, and although our climate is dry the humidity is fair as the room is home to innumerable plants, flowers and in sunny spots, my three cats. The wall facing these windows is brick (it was at one time the exterior wall of the house) and has a window which looks into the kitchen. I would like to train a vine to this wall to give the sunroom a real sense of the outdoors. Flowering would be prefered. I would also prefer not to compromise the integrity of the wall by puting many holes in it, but would consider a trellis or simple supports if needed. My gardening skill is intermediate. Is there a plant which would enjoy this spot in my home?

Answer: First of all, your cats must be quite happy with their sunroom! I haven't tried to grow outdoor vines inside, but passion vine (Passiflora) is recommended as a greenhouse plant or a houseplant for cold climates. They can grow 20-30 feet tall, and climb by tendrils, so they'd need something to grab onto. There are many different varieties and some are evergreen, semi-evergreen, or deciduous, so you'd probably want to choose an evergreen. They have very showy flowers, available in many colors. P. jamesonii is evergreen with salmon to coral flowers; P. Lavender Lady is also evergreen; P. vitifolia has red flowers.

Star jasmine is another vining plant to consider. It's evergreen, has very fragrant flowers, and grows to 20 feet.
Before training to your wall, I suggest experimenting with how they do in a large container with a trellis in it. Good luck!

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