The Q&A Archives: Need Of A Plant Type

Question: I have a chainlink fence that surrounds my back yard. I would like a vine or shrub to hide the fence. But the fence is already surrounded by trees on the other side. So I need a plant that grows in very little sun. I would like something that flowers. I am in Zone 5.

Answer: For a shady area in your climate, one of the few vines that will flower is the fall blooming clematis, or sweet autumn clematis which has small but fragrant white blooms. It is a vigorous vine and will conceal a chain link fence, however it may also spread onto the neighboring trees if they are close to the fence. This will generally happen with most kinds of vines, so whether or not this will be a problem should be taken into account.

Another option might be to hide the fence with low growing shrubs such as Hydrangea arborescens. This very hardy hydrangea blooms on new wood of the season and grows from the ground to about four feet each summer. The flowers are white, a nice contrast in a shady area.

Your local nurseries and County Extension may also have some suggestions for you to consider.

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