Add a Graceful Vine to Your Landscape

Bonnie Nowicki, Master Gardener

As we continue to be ever hopeful about these challenging times in our country, perhaps envisioning a lovely arbor covered with lush greenery and fragrant flowers is just what we need to boost our spirits. Visualize a charming vine meandering up a wall, arbor, or trellis. Vines, actually, are a practical means of climate control here in Arizona. They give welcome shade for patios and other outdoor living spaces. Vines also add a vertical dimension to our flat desert landscape. First decide your landscaping needs, and climbing support and structure, before selecting a deciduous or evergreen vine. Some will also grow nicely in attractive containers.

Hall’s Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a hardy evergreen vine that loves sun and does well in the desert southwest. Yellowish, creamy white, fragrant flowers appear all summer. Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia violacea), native to Australia, has lovely purple unscented flowers that burst forth to decorate the winter landscape. Sun to partial shade is ideal and its mature size is a manageable fifteen feet.

Jasmine and Jessamine (Gelsemium) have varieties that are evergreen and semi-evergreen. Most need winter protection but return from the roots in the spring. Fragrant flowers vary in shades of pink, white, and yellow etc. Carolina Jessamine is a favorite of many gardeners. Black-eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata) is more compact, easy to grow in sun or partial shade and climbs to eight feet. Its bright yellow flowers bloom until the frost. It’s also excellent in containers.

Lady Banks Rose (Rosa banksiae) is evergreen, thornless, and the foliage is relatively pest and disease-free. When given good support, this climber is treated as a vine. Its yellow or white flowers begin blooming in late spring. Pruning is recommended after flowering, as it could grow to twenty feet. Grow Grapes (Vitis Vinifera) on your arbor and enjoy shade and yummy food too! Thompson Seedless grows especially well in hot, dry climates. Strategic spring pruning and moist, fast-draining soil is important to produce fruit. Deciduous Trumpet Vine (Campsis) is fast-growing, very hardy, and heat and drought tolerant. Large and lovely orange-red flowers appear in the summer, followed by long seed pods for gardening interest.

My fellow gardeners, try your hand at growing a vine and enjoy the shade and scent it provides.