The Q&A Archives: Privacy

Question: I live in a townhouse and would like to plant fast growing vines or shrubs that will provide me with some privacy in my back yard. I'd prefer something that could be trained to trellises. Any ideas?? Thx.

Answer: Here are a few vines that grow reliably in your gardening region:

Fast grower with decoration throughout the year. Produces small, greenish-white flowers in June. The fruit is a round, orange-yellow capsule that opens in autumn, disclosing the scarlet-colored seed pod that lasts into winter.

Best support: Clinging vine that can climb fences or walls, but also a good climber on trellises or arbors.

Light/shade: Partial to full sun.

Advantage: Striking orange-red seed capsules through fall and winter. Good food for birds into winter.

Disadvantage: Fruit will make people sick, so families with small children might avoid it.


A rapid-growing deciduous vine with pretty clusters of tubular pink flowers through late spring and summer. Bluish-green leaves provide nice contrast.

Best support: Twining vine. Try an open structure such as a trellis or lattice. Can grow up to 20 feet. Light/shade: Partial to full sun.

Special care instructions: Pinch off dead flowers unless you want the vine to produce seedpods. Prune after flowering to shape.

Advantage: Trumpet honeysuckle, often called "coral honeysuckle," is a beautiful plant. This honeysuckle is one of the best plants for hummingbirds and is a good choice for the wildlife-friendly garden.


The "Queen of the Vine" is an incredibly popular plant that inspires fan clubs. As the American Clematis Society, at, notes, there are more than 300 varieties of clematis, with flowers of various sizes and colors.

In this region, try a small-flowering variety such as Clematis viticella for a longer blooming season. It is deciduous and grows aggressively when provided root protection.

Best support: Clematis is a twining vine with tendrils that like to wrap around a trellis, post or shrub. Open trellis is best; avoid fences or walls.

Light/shade: Roots need to be cool while tops are in sun five to six hours a day.

Advantage: Attractive. Aggressive growth. Plant is feather- light, so it's good for weaker supports.

Disadvantage: Clematis needs to be coaxed and tied onto its trellis for the first few years.


This evergreen climbing vine, with its waxy dark-green leaves, is a favorite of traditionalists. Fruit in spring and small flowers in fall. Older vines can reach a foot in diameter.

Best support: English ivy has holdfasts that cement to walls or fences. It needs no trellis support.

Light/shade: Does well in the shade, but also tolerates sun.

Advantage: One of few evergreen vines that thrive in Colorado. Fast growing and low-maintenance; difficult to kill.

Disadvantage: An aggressive nonnative plant that the National Park Service would like to see eliminated in North America. Eating the berries will make people sick.


A rapid-growing deciduous vine that shows off lots of fragrant white flowers summer through fall. Climbs 25 feet.

Best support: Twining grower -- try a trellis or arbor.

Light/shade: Full sun to partial sun.

Advantage: Covers area quickly; produces masses of flowers that bloom for months. It is a hardy plant that tolerates most soils and blooms in late summer when many plants are slowing down.

Disadvantage: Silver lace vine can be invasive, so cut it back each spring.

Best wishes with your new vine!

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