The Q&A Archives: the right vine

Question: Hi! I live in the desert in a VERY windy area. What is a good vine to have grow up my garden wall. I have a baby, so nothing with berries, because I'm afraid he would eat them...

Answer: Lady Banks rose is perfect for the desert. Cat's claw vine (Macfadyena unguis-cati): Good plant for hot walls; self-climbing. Yellow, trumpet-like flowers. Very durable and drought-tolerant once established.

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia): Tolerates hot sun, though it prefers light shade from afternoon sun in hot regions. Self-climbing; quick-growing; will create a dense cover.

Creeping fig (Ficus pumila): a self-climbing vine, attaching itself with aerial rootlets. Once mature, foliage will cover entire wall. Prefers partial sun--check with a local greenhouse about its durability in your region.

Bougainvillea species: there are vining types you can train to grow up the wall, though you'd need a trellis or other support. They have brightly-colored flowers (actually bracts); plants can be damaged if the temperature drops below 30F.

I've also grown Hardenbergia violacea 'Happy Wanderer' (Purple Vine Lilac) on a trellis in the desert. It flowers profusely but does not develop berries.

Hope one of these suggestions is just right for your landscape.

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