The Q&A Archives: Evergreen Vine for Southern Arizona

Question: I'm looking for a fast growing evergreen vine or hedge for fence. It must require little water or mainentance. Would like it to cover a chanlink fence.

Answer: All plants require some TLC during their first season, but once established, these vines do well with minimal care.
Cats-claw vine (Macfadyena unguis-cati) would be great for your location, though it climbs 20-30' tall, so you'll probably have to do a bit of training to keep it confined to the fence. Young plants should be planted in spring in full sun, and should be pruned to within 2-3' of the ground. New branches will form; pinch the tips when they reach 4-5' long to stimulate side branches that will attach to the fence. Once they mature, they'll produce large, showy yellow blooms followed by long dark seed pods. Prune mature vines after flowering by removing crowded shoots and keeping vines confined to the fence.

Another is Rosa de Montana (Antigonon leptopus), which grows to about 40', and zig-zags it's way up and across fences. They're excellent for screening, and must have full sun and well-drained soil. To control their rampant growth, prune them severely whenever necessary and to thin vines that become thick and tangled. Remove dead leaves/branches after it finishes flowering. The blooms are long racemes of red/coral flowers!

If you can't find these at a local nursery, you can mail-order seed of Cat's Claw Vine from Wild Seed, Inc., PO Box 27751, Tempe AZ 85285; ph# 602/345-0669 and Rosa de Montana from Heirloom Garden Seeds, PO Box 138, Guerneville, CA 95446; ph# 707/887-9129. Hope this fills the bill!

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