The Q&A Archives: Growing Vines on Lattice

Question: I am planning on putting 3 lattice pieces up on posts on the side of my yard and would like to grow vines on them. How high can I have the lattice raised off the ground? Also, how do I get the vines to grow up the lattice, is there a good approach to this? Any recommendations for a mostly sunny and low maintenance vine plants?
Thank you!

Answer: Your trellis can be 8-12" above ground level and still be perfect for training vining plants. You'll have to coax the vines to climb but once they find the trellis they should climb right up. Begin by allowing the vining stems to creep along the ground until they are long enough to reach the trellis when you hold them upright. At this stage you can gently twine the vine through the slats in the trellis and even temporarily tie them upright until they get the hang of growing upwards. They'll take it from there, clamboring up the trellis without any more coaxing.

Aristolochia durior - Dutchman's Pipe Vine grows in Zones 4-8. Another deciduous, woody vine with 6 - 12 inch leaves, heart to kidney shaped. It has tubular, 3" ill- scented flowers that are often hidden under the leaves, that are shaped like tiny pipes. It can grow to 30 feet high with a 2-5 foot spread in full sun to full shade. It likes moist, well - drained humus enriched soil. Excellent for an arbor or screening plant; be sure to provide good support. Campsis -Trumpet Creeper grows in Zone 4-9 and has blooms of yellow, orange or scarlet, depending on the cultivar. The blooms are tubular, 3 inches long with 5 lobes. The foliage is glossy green with compound leaves with 7-11 leaflets. (Kind of a Jacob's ladder type foliage.) They climb by aerial rootlets to 10-40 feet with a 1-2 foot spread. Plant in full sun to light shade in fertile, moist soil. They may require winter protection from the wind although some varieties die to the ground each winter.

Lathyrus latifolius - Perennial Sweet Pea- grows 4-8 feet with a 1-3 foot spread in Zones 4-9. The sweet pea flowers come in white, pink, red or purple. They are incredibly woody rooted- I thought I was digging up pine tree roots when I transplanted some this fall! I hope they survive. They prefer full sun with well-drained, evenly moist soil. (I found they could tolerate less water.) Remove old flowers or pick for a sweet bouquet to prolong flowering.

Lonicera - Honeysuckle grow in Zones 4-9 with a height of 5-15 feet and a spread of 1-2 feet. There are loads of varieties. Great for trellis's or arbors. The humming birds love them and the tubular flowers come in pink, purple, yellow, orange or red. Some have contrasting colors on the inside of the bloom. They like full sun in moist, well-drained soil. Once they become established they can tolerate dry soil. They smell wonderful! Try growing 2 different varieties to twine together on a fence or arbor.

Rosa - Climbing Roses - are really not true vines, just roses that have exceptionally long canes that can be trained over an arbor, trellis or fence. Many varieties are hardy up here, but may require winter protection. They will need to be tied up to train them. Check our LOCAL nurseries for the best varieties for our short summers & tough winters. Be sure to get roses that are grown on their own roots for the best success up here.

Wisteria floribunda- Japanese Wisteria are vigorously growing woody vines that are hardy in Zones 4-9 or Zone 5 depending on which book you consult. They bloom best in full sun and take patience: they often require several seasons before they will bloom. The much awaited pea-like, fragrant, lavender, 1-2 inch flowers grow on clusters 1 foot or longer. The foliage has compound leaves that are 10-15 inches long with 13-19 leaflets. Moist, well-drained humus enriched soil is their preference and can grow 20-50 feet in height and 4-8 feet wide.

Or, choose your favorite vine. Enjoy your landscape!

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