The Q&A Archives: Vines For Northern Minnesota

Question: We just put a brick patio in last year and would like to put up a sort of trellis on the southern end for privacy and shade. We would like to cover the trellis with some sort of vine if possible. Are there any vines that grow well in Northern Minnesota?

Answer: Most flowering vines are tropical in origin, prefer sun, and will have trouble surviving your winters. Here are some possibilities that are rated to withstand the winter. You might also want to check the County Cooperative Extension office in the Courthouse in Grand Rapids. They have a Master Gardener program and perhaps someone has some experience with vines that will survive. 327-2849

Aristolochia durior (also sold as A. macrophylla) or Dutchman's pipe. Deciduous (will lose leaves in fall). Covers 15 x 20 in one growing season. Large, kidney shaped leaves are deep glossy green. Blooms late spring to early summer. Unsual flower is yellowish green, curved tube shape that flares into brownish purple lobes. Takes full sun to heavy shade, needs plenty of water.

Most honeysuckle varieties aren't rated for cold winters, but you could consider Lonicera brownii, which is deciduous, grows to 9-10 feet, with scarlet tubular flowers that can bloom from early summer to frost. Takes full sun or light shade and moderate water. There are many honeysuckle varieties, so check with your nursery for others.

Clematis have outstanding bloom. Most clematis like their roots to be cool, with their tops in the sun. Clematis alpina, C. jackmanii, and C. recta are several rated for cold.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia or Virginia creeper is a vigorous grower (30-50 feet) that takes sun or shade and regular water. Leaves turn bright to dull red in fall, but there is no flowering.

You might also consider trying an annual vine, such as sweet pea or scarlet runner bean, since you may want any light possible to come into the house during winter. Another possibility is a hardy climbing rose, assuming that thorns are not a problem in that location.

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