MOTHER NATURE HAS GIVEN VINES, (a.k.a. climbers) preferential treatment!
When it comes to their special climbing abilities they get to sit in 1st class, on their journey towards the skies, while their neighboring plant-mates, are sometimes put upon, literally, while these climbers ramble up their stems seeking light and looking to gain ground.
Included in the special adaptations vines have for climbing are: being able to attach themselves to surfaces (like a tree trunk) with adhesive pads or adventitious roots, spirally upward with twining stems, & reaching out with tendrils for the journey.
Are you a vine person?
If you are, then you probably know some of the more popular vines listed below. So let’s take a look, it’s very interesting and should help you to better understand growing and training. Here are the several ways that vines grow and climb. 🙂
Grasping with Leaf or Stem Tendrils
– About Grasping with Leaf or Stem Tendrils: Tendrils are grasping organs that are often modified leaf parts. They coil around small objects which they come in contact with, climbing up the stems of other plants. Think – Sweet peas, Cobea scandens, Passionflower and Grape. Like a rock climber scaling the face of a mountain, plants that have tendrils need hand holds in the form of horizontal supports.
Twining with Stems or Leaves
– About Twining with Stems or Leaves: Some vines twist their stems around a support in a spiral manner. These include: Wisteria, Aristolochia, Morning Glory, Jasmine, Honeysuckle and Black Eyed Susan.
There are also leaf twining vines which have leaves that act like tendrils. The young leaves of these plants are able to twist around string, twigs, slim wires, or other leaves. It’s best to provide a thin enough support for the leaf stem to curl around. These include: Clematis, climbing Nasturtium (Tropaeolum polyphyllum) and Rhodochiton.
Clinging with Adventitious Roots
– About Clinging with Adventitious Roots: These vines need little help climbing as their clinging stem roots attach themselves to buildings and structures, which can wreak havoc. Think – English Ivy (Hedera helix), Hydrangea petiolaris and Euonymus.
Scrambling with Thorns
– About Scrambling with Thorns: By using thorns or other hooked structures, these plants, which really can’t climb on their own, are able to grip neighboring stems. To train as a vine more training and tying is necessary. Examples include Roses and Bougainvillea.
Clinging with Adhesive Pads
– About Clinging with Adhesive Pads: The pads attach themselves quite strongly to supportive structures as is the case with Parthenocissus clingling happily to the facade of a building.
Always More to Learn…
Hopefully you’re getting a better idea about how vines climb and grow. Take a look at this post to learn more about training twining vines.
Knowing this can also make it easier to figure out how to use them, and what support structures might be a good fit. I grow several clematis vines in containers and had the enjoyment of using fishing line to create vertical supports. I ended up putting knots all along the line to make knobs for the vines to attach. (I found that they were slipping and unable to grab hold without the knots.)
Besides simple wire training methods, architectural support structures like a pergola or an arbor can add another level of dimension to your garden or outdoor space. Marrying the structure, and training vines to grow up and festoon over is key, and can reward you each year. Vertical elements like a trellis, or having an ugly chain link fence to cover, scream out for vines, which definitely can prove to be as useful as they are beautiful!
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