The Q&A Archives: Vines For Shady Area

Question: I am looking for a climbing vine that can grow in a shady spot. The area is well drained but it is also well watered because it is near a rain pipe and at the bottom of a steep hill. There is an unfortunate layer of slag only a few inches beow the soil. I would like to vine to climb up a lattice screen. I live in an oak savanna area so it would not be a good idea to introduce an agressive exotic. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

Answer: You don't mention that it has to be a flowering vine so how about a variety of hedera (ivy). Some great varieties are Hedera helix 'Goldheart', Hedera helix 'Buttercup'. Another good ivy is Parthenocissus triscupidata 'Robusta' (Boston Ivy - Ampelopsis veitchii). This one does have a bloom and probably carries the best chance of survival in the shallow soil. The slag layer is going to be a challenge for anything you try to plant there. You may want to consider building a raised bed or placing a few half whiskey barrels at the base of the trellis and plant the vines in those and then train them up the trellis. If you are looking for a flowering vine for shade, perhaps you could try Lonicera japonica 'Halliana' (Hall's Honeysuckle) or Akebia quinata (Fiveleaf Akebia Vine).

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