The Q&A Archives: Climbing Vine Needed...

Question: I just built a 9 ft high arbor in redwood in front of my home. I will be finishng the project with a bench (metal), brick or gravel flooring, and flood lighting. I want to plant several climbing vines that will grow up the posts of the arbor and over the roof slats. I don't want anything too full or heavy or anythng that requires a lot of pruning and attention. Light stems, bright vibrant flowers, and a full green leaf when not in bloom. The arbor faces south and gets direct sunlight most of the day. I am in Zone 10B, minimum temps around 35 F. The area is not sprinklered, so a vine that doesn't need a lot of water attention would be nice. I have very litle gardening experience, as you can probably tell by this post! Thanks for any suggestions!

Answer: Your garden project sounds spectacular and you'll want just the right evergreen or semi-evergreen vine to show off the trellis. There are several vines that will fit the bill:
Akebia quinata (Chocolate Vine) A graceful semi-evergreen vine with five-fingered leaves and dark, brownish-purple vanilla scented flowers. Tolerates some shade. Grow in moist but well-drained fertile soil. Drought tolerant once established. Ampelopsis brevipedunculata 'Elegans' (Elegans Cutleaf Porcelain Vine) A deciduous twining vine with white and green marbled foliage. White flowers are highly attractive to bees and butterflies and are followed by showy china blue berries in fall. Grow in well-drained soil. Readily self seeds so it can be very invasive. Bignonia capreolata (Cross Vine)
Funnel-shaped, reddish-orange blooms occur in clusters and are reminescent of trumpet vine but are much more spectacular. Semi-evergreen vine that climbs by tendrils, so it needs some type of support. Attractive to hummingbirds. Campsis x 'Madame Galen' (Trumpet Creeper)
Showy, trumpet-shaped bright salmon-red flowers. Attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Long blooming. Fast growing woody native vine with rich green foliage. Prefers ordinary soil and is drought tolerant.

You might also consider Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia); Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis); and evergreen Clematis.

Hope one of these vines is just the right one for your landscape!

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