18 Valuable Vines

Choose the right vine for your garden to cover a wall, trellis or porch.

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Foot-long panicles of wisteria dangle overhead, a moonvine sends out its evening aroma, a trumpet vine offers its nectar to hummingbirds--the right vine can turn a garden into something special. Besides providing a little romance and ambiance, vines trained to climb arbors, trellises or walls provide that critical design element of verticality.

Plus, there's lots of payoff for very little effort. Not only are vines no-fuss plants, several are fast growers and will cover a large area quickly. Use them to help provide privacy or soften a wall, add interest to a trellis, cover a "fort" for the kids or add lushness and fragrance to the porch. Whether you're interested in flowers, fruit or foliage, there's a vine for you.

A woody twining vine that's fast out of the starting gate, akebia (Akebia quinata) can grow 20 to 40 feet in a single season. Use as a quick cover for arbors, fences and trellises or as a groundcover for stabilizing slopes or planting in a sun or shade garden. In early spring flowers appear with the five-leaflet, clean-green leaves; in fall purple pods appear. Easily grown in a range of light and moisture conditions, it is so adaptable that you have to prune it regularly and often to keep it in bounds. Keep it in check by growing it in large containers. Akebia is such a fast grower that it's considered an invasive species by some. Sometimes there's a thin line between a fast-growing vine and a weed out of control. USDA Zones (4)5 to 8.