The Q&A Archives: adding ivy to chain link fence

Question: I want to make my chain link fence private by using ivy. Which is the best ivy to use and would I plant it near the fence or what? I live in Austin, Texas

Answer: Ivy makes a nice green, dense cover for a chainlink fence but it is terribly invasive and once you plant it in your yard, you'll have it growing everywhere when birds eat the black berries and deposit them all around your landscape. Some better choices might be Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), an evergreen yellow climber which explodes in spring with fragrant blooms. A native plant, it's a winner among Texas vines. Plant in sun, partial sun or bright shade in well-draining, organically enriched soil. Cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit); A type of morning glory, this old-fashioned, twining 15- to 20-foot annual vine has cardinal red tubular flowers that remain open all day and are a favorite with butterflies and hummingbirds. There's also a white variety. The fernlike foliage, although delicate-looking, can become a dense backdrop for the blooms. Best in full sun in most any soil that's not overly rich. Water during hot, dry spells in summer. Coral vine (Antigonon leptopus); This hot pink-flowered coral vine likes it hot and dry. Plant in full sun for summer-fall blooms. It produces attractive arrow-shaped leaves and long, trailing lush sprays of flowers. This Mexican native is fast-growing and attractive even when not in bloom. It will quickly cover a chain-link fence or arbor. Since coral vine is not evergreen, the fence or trellis on which it is grown is an ideal spot for sweet peas in the spring (plant these in fall). By the time the sweet peas are fading in late spring, the coral vine is coming on strong. It even makes an effective groundcover in a very hot, dry spot.

Best wishes with your landscape.

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