The Q&A Archives: Is silver lace vine an unwelcome invasive plant?

Question: Hi - We have about 80 feet of city installed concrete/chain link barrier that we are trying to camouflage. Last year I talked with some people at our local TLC Nursery and they recommended several vines, silver lace being one of them. However, I've been doing some research lately that implys that it is a very unwelcome, invasive plant that should be avoided. Is this true? Are there any plants that can be planted along side silver lace vine that it will not take over? How

Answer: Your local county extension should be able to tell you if this vine is a problem or concern in your local area, or not. It is certainly capable of seeding about and can become a nuisance in a garden setting and in some areas shows invasive tendencies to where it displaces native plants.

It is very aggressive and very large and sprawling, generally too large for home gardens. It does not do well with companion plants, it is too aggressive and will indiscriminately overwhelm its neighbors. You would also need to maintain it regularly to keep it on the fence and not reaching outward from both root shoots and also spreading on the ground. On the other hand, it would be suited to the application you described in terms of size and vigor and fast coverage. In the long run, though, you might regret it.

In your area (your zip code places you in USDA winter hardiness zone 6B) this plant will be deciduous. It will probably die back extensively due to winter damage as well, requiring it to be cut down and the dead stems removed from the fencing each spring. With chain link, this is a very labor intensive job. For this reason alone I would not recommend it.

Vines are by nature large and aggressive plants, especially the types that will handle adverse situations and cover a large area. Campsis radicans and wisteria have similar drawbacks to the above, although since they do not need to be cut back annually they are very large and heavy and could damage the fence. I would typically recommend a native plant such as Virginia creeper for this type of situation, however it too has some of the same liabilities as the above. It is also deciduous and can require some maintenance to keep it on the fence rather than spreading elsewhere. Birds will carry and plant the seeds in the area as well.

Depending on the context, you may not want to use a perennial vine, you might prefer to use annual vines such as morning glories.

Or, you might look into shrubs instead. Your local county extension and professionally trained nurseryman should be able to help you evaluate the growing conditions and identify some shrubs that would be suited to the site and you could see if any of them would meet your design goals and budget. I hope this helps.

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