18 Valuable Vines

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

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Native to China, Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is a deciduous, self-clinging vine with large (up to six inches across) glossy green leaves that turn a brilliant orange to deep red in autumn. Blue-black berries occur in late spring and are attractive to birds and bees. Don't confuse this plant with evergreen English ivy, which clings much tighter to a surface. The tracery of the bare branches in winter is also attractive. Grow in any ordinary garden soil. Trim back as needed. Does best in climates with cool summer nights. USDA Zones (3)4 to 10.

B>Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). It's as common on the brick walls of university buildings as it is on brush piles in the middle of agricultural land. Farmers who have spent the better part of a Saturday trying in vain to get a handle on creeper-run-amok wouldn't knowingly invite this plant into their gardens. But this very vigorous woody vine can have a place in the landscape—as a cover for fences or walls in tough terrain where more finicky plants won't grow. Virginia creeper climbs by tiny adhesive-tipped tendrils, this plant can scale walls, trees, fence posts, and cover a brush pile in no time. A climb of 25 to 40 feet in a season is the least of its growth potential. Its calcium carbonate "cement" is hard to remove, so it's best to be certain you want it to climb a wall before you ask it to. Other gardeners appreciate this deciduous vine for its fall color (crimson to burgundy). One great cultivar is variegated. Warning: Virginia creeper has invasive tendencies in some areas of the country. Always check with your local extension office or trusted nurseryman to find out which plants are invasive in your area. USDA Zone (3)4 to 9.