The wild and unruly look of climbing vines adds a certain Secret Garden quality to any landscape. Despite their often unkempt appearance many of the popular vines you will see in store do require some basic care. To ensure a prolific plant here are some tips for the most common climbers.
Clematis prefer moist, well-drained soil that’s neutral to slightly alkaline in pH. Seasonally add compost and a good quality granular fertilizer. There are even Clematis specific fertilizers available
Clematis vine does not climb by twining around something like morning glory does. It climbs by wrapping its leaf stems around an upright support. Because these stems are not very long, the easiest things for a clematis to grab onto, are twine, fishing line, wire, thin branches, wooden dowels or steel rods. If you are using a trellis consider adding some sort of netting to it.
Do not cut your clematis to the ground, leave the prior year’s growth in place until mid-spring. Begin pruning only when you can see which vines are dead and which ones are starting to leaf out.
Climbing hydrangeas need a rich, moist soil that is well-drained. If your soil needs improvement, dig in a generous amount of compost before planting.
Not much needed for climbing hydrangea they send out a root system called aerial roots that will stick to pretty much everything. Including almost smooth surfaces like brick or siding, keep in mind they will leave behind a sticky organic residue on the surface when they are taken off.
The best time to prune climbing hydrangea is after it flowers. The new flower buds are formed soon after flowering and remain on those stems for the following year. You WILL need to prune your climbing hydrangea they are incredibly vigorous and can grow well over 60′ in height. If you don’t prune it it can quickly take over a space. Cut back the long shoots and those growing outward from the wall to just above a bud or leaf point.
At the beginning of the growing season, add a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) around the base of the plant. Make sure you choose a controlled release variety. Do not over fertilize you will end up with lots of foliage and no flowers. Keep the soil pH between 6.1 and 7.8.
This vine will grow well up a fence or trellis but will also grow well in a container with an obelisk. There are several varieties, all will reward you with sweet fragrance and the attraction of various wildlife to enjoy it’s nectar. Some honeysuckle are even evergreen and will reward you with year round interest.
Honeysuckle can become invasive as a ground cover, if not controlled, and require clipping to tame. Therefore, a regular shearing and shaping will keep this beauty within its boundaries. Pruning is generally done in the fall or winter, when the plant is dormant.
Those are just a few of my favourite vines there are dozens more to consider for your personal landscape. Visit us this weekend to check them out!
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