Fast-growing perennial vines have an important place in a Zone 5/6 garden setting since they are both decorative and functional. They are a great way to cover up the monotony of a large wall, hide an eyesore, frame a doorway or just add color and beauty to your garden. Vines don’t always need to be grown vertically either. Some varieties can help slow erosion on a steep bank, or disguise a problem garden area.
Vines are valued for the rich texture of their foliage, decorative habit of growth, fragrance, and spectacular beauty of their flowers. Before purchasing a perennial vine, you need to recognize how a specific vine climbs. This will help you decide which vine is most suitable and how to support it.
Many perennial vines are capable of enormous growth during a growing season. Over the years they become much heavier, so be sure you start off with adequate support. Make the support (trellis, arbor, pergola) stronger than you think you’ll need. It’s best to keep in mind an old gardening saying: The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap!
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Here are some of my favorite perennial vines for Zone 5 & 6 gardens:
1. American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens): This is a hardy native plant with a twining habit. Blooms white with showy berries in the fall. Grows 15′ – 20′ high.
2. Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata): One of the most popular of all climbing vines. Often seen growing up brick walls and buildings. Shiny green foliage turns to hues of gold and scarlet in the fall. Vining to 30′ – 50′ or more.
3. Clematis: An all-time favorite of mine! They come in so many colors, sizes and varieties its tough to choose. Prized for their beautiful, bold flowers. A grabbing type of vine. Once you show it the way, it puts on a spectacular show …
4. Hummingbird Trumpet Vine: This hardy, attractive vine is not only a beautiful orange with yellow tint, it’s great for bringing hummingbirds into your garden … These vigorous growers will thrive just about anywhere … sun, partial shade, and even in less than ideal soil. Attracts butterflies too!
5. Golden Hops (Humulus Iupulus): A vigorous vine always in color with showy golden veined foliage and yellow blooms. The ornamental seed bracts are the source of hops for beer making. Grows 12′ – 15′ high.
6. Honeysuckle Vine (Lonicera): These are easy care and produce abundant foliage, flowers and fruit. Very vigorous so needs sturdy support. Hummingbirds are attracted to their tubular, fragrant flowers. Grows 10′ – 15′ high.
7. Wisteria: Hanging clusters of purple, pink or white blooms. Strong support is needed for this aggressive spreader. A fragrant, twining type of perennial vine. Grows 25′ – 30′ high.
8. Climbing Hydrangea: Although slow to establish, this beauty is worth the wait! You will be rewarded with clusters of 6 – 10″ showy white flowers. Stems feature an interesting brown peeling bark in winter. Great vine for the shade. Grows 25′ – 30′ high.