The Q&A Archives: Flowering Vines

Question: My yard has both a southern and northern exposure. I live in New Rochelle, New York Zone 6 or 7 (16 miles north of NYC). I have a chain link fence (4feet tall) surrounding a corner property. The fence is an eye sore. I would like to cover it with a flowering vine -- an annual and then eventually a perennial.

Answer: My recommendation would be to plant Morning Glories and Moon Flowers (annuals) now and at the same time put in a few Clematis which are perennials. The Clematis will take a few seasons to become established and in the meantime the Morning Glories and Moon Flowers will cover the fence with vines and flowers.

When planting the clematis, keep these requirements in mind. It needs good drainage with no standing water. It requires at least 4-5 hours of sunlight daily. The soil at the base of the plant should be cool and damp. A good summer mulch of straw, grass clippings or peatmoss will help retain that required moisture during the heat of summer days. Clematis likes alkaline soil, so if your soil tends to be acidic, add some lime and work it into the soil at planting time.

When planting the clematis, place the collar (the point where the stem and roots join) 2-3 inches below the soil level. Then don't fertilize for a couple of months after planting.

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