The Q&A Archives: Climbing/vining Plants - Poor Soil

Question: help - I am looking for a vining annual/perennial for a large fence (cyclone) that surrounds my pool area - my pool literally sits on a cliff with woods all around - the fence is unsightly - this is full sun ) the soil is a bit sandy and rocky - just not good - what seeds can I plant that will vine around this unsightly fence in an otherwise gorgeous setting? I have tried morning glories - too fragile -
I need to start soon to cover this fence for summer, please help - (also - there is a portion of the fence that has shade - perhaps a different vining plant there? again, thanks for your help - Susan

Answer: I am surprised to hear that morning glories did not do well because they are among the toughest of annual flowering vines. They do well in heat and full sun and a variety of soils, so I am wondering if there is an imbalance of some sort in the soil there perhaps created when the pool was installed? You might want to run some basic soil tests and consult with the county extension (350-2540) as to any possible unusual problems there. You could also consider planting in raised beds or large containers such as half barrels to overcome the problem. If you tried the morning glories with no luck last summer, that might also be attributable to the drought as much as to the soil. In any case, most plants will need a decent soil in which to grow well, so you might try amending it with ample amounts of organic matter such as compost, rotted leaves, or aged stable manure and bedding, prior to planting. You could try any of the annual vines such as morning glories, moon flower, cypress vine, and so on. Although it is usually started by purchasing a plant rather than by seed, you might also try the perennial native clematis, the fall blooming sweet autumn clematis. This will grow in both shade and sun and one vine can cover about twenty feet or so in a season.

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