The Q&A Archives: vine for pergola over deck

Question: I want a dramatic flowering vine with attractive foliage that is easy to care for and not messy with fruit & seed pods falling on the deck. I think Wisteria are beautiful, but worry about the seed pods. I was thinking of climbing hydrangia, but am uncertain if suitable for pergola-would flowers hang down? I like clematis, but the foliage is not attractive enough. I don't know anything about climbing roses- are they hard to care for like regular roses? Perhaps I could mix 2 vines-ex. plant a clematis with a vine with pretty foliage. Help! What do you suggest. Thanks!

Answer: Sometimes when we try to select a plant for a certain purpose we have to make some compromises. For instance, most plants do drop seeds and/or faded blooms as part of their reproductive cycle and deciduous plants will lose their leaves in the fall. Some vines such as wisteria are so large and strong that their support must be exceptionally sturdy. Most climbing roses would require special winter protection in your area as well as careful attention to pruning every year. Climbing hydrangea is very slow to start growing and can take many years before it will bloom. Clematis require an evenly moist yet well drained soil and prefer to have their roots in the shade, their tops in the sun. And so it goes, with no plant that is perfect for every situation.

In your situation, I would suggest you begin by analyzing the growing conditions where you want to plant. Is it in full sun all day long, is it windy in the winter time, what kind of soil is there and is it exceptionally wet or dry or average. How much space do you have for the vine to grow and mature? How many years are you willing to wait for the vine to cover your structure? Once you begin to answer these questions then the plant selection will begin to narrow down. I would suggest you work with your local professionally trained nursery staff and/or county extension to identify plants that will grow well in the site you want to plant and then make your selection from among those based on your design goals. Enjoy your new vine!

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