Vines Will Be Vines
In The Garden – By Stephen and Kristin Pategas
Vines climb, scramble, and crawl. Most of them live to clamber to the top of a tree or structure – they are hardwired to seek sunlight. A few grow horizontally and climb less aggressively. These are typically grown as a groundcover. Plant the blooming climbers at the base of an obelisk, trellis, or pergola to get color at eye level and above.
A selection of vines for Central Florida – all are evergreen unless otherwise noted:
Allamanda carthartica – Yellow allamanda (large yellow bell-shape blossoms, many other cultivars with different colors)
Bignonia capreolata ‘Tangerine Beauty’ – Cross vine (good spring color and then a slight repeat in autumn)
Callaeum macropterum (formerly: Mascagnia macroptera) – Yellow butterfly vine (almost six months of yellow blossoms slowly turn to chartreuse then rusty brown seed pods)
Gelsemium sempervirens – Carolina jessamine (will grow in full sun or lower light)
Lonicera sempervirens – Coral honeysuckle (hummingbird attractor)
Millettia reticulata – Tropical wisteria (reminiscent of the northern wisteria which is invasive here
Muehlenbeckia axillaris – Wire vine (very fine-textured groundcover)
Passiflora x ‘Incense’ – Incense passion flower (a variety of bloom colors, avoid the red ones which are poisonous to butterfly larvae)
Petrea volubilis – Queen’s wreath (reminiscent of the northern wisteria)
Pyrostegia venusta – Flame vine (historic postcards of Florida highlighted this vine)
Solanum jasminoides ‘Variegata’ – Variegated potato vine (white blossom)
Trachelospermum asiaticum – Dwarf Asian jasmine (non-flowering groundcover with numerous cultivars with different leaf colors)
Trachelospermum jasminoides – Confederate jasmine (fragrant white blossom, grows in sun to light shade, also a variegated cultivar)
Vitis ‘Southern Home’ – Southern Home muscadine/bunch grape (produces edible grapes, deciduous)
- Vines recently planted to grow up and onto a trellis may have a hard time finding their way. Provide bamboo stake “bridges” to the trellis for them to scramble up.
- To help make a young vine grow lush and full at the base of a trellis, trim it regularly so it branches and spreads out on its upward journey.
- Fertilizing a healthy vine is like asking the IRS for an audit. If you want more work in the garden, toss fertilizer on its root zone.
- When growing a vine on a trellis, trim it into a pyramidal shape with the bottom wider than the top. This will prevent foliage at the top from shading lower foliage and stunting its growth.
- Do not allow vines to grow upward into trees. The vine’s foliage will add to the wind load which adds stress for the tree. It will also shade some of the trees’ foliage and cut down on the tree’s energy production.
Nasty invasive vines include skunk vine and potato vine. Rogue them out to decrease maintenance in the garden and help prevent their spread. The native Virginia creeper is an aggressive rascal and its seeds sprout everywhere. Yank seedlings at first sight.
Hortus Oasis (FL26000315) in Winter Park is a boutique garden design company specializing in residential, commercial and specialty gardens. Stephen is a registered landscape architect and Kristin is a certified landscape designer. Contact them at Hortus Oasis (FL26000315) in Winter Park is a boutique garden design company specializing in residential, commercial and specialty gardens. Stephen is a registered landscape architect and Kristin is a certified landscape designer. Contact them at 407-622-4886/ gardene @hortusoasis.com.
All photography by Stephen G. Pategas/Hortus Oasis