Florida Flame Vine (2)

Florida Flame Vine

Vines are an excellent way to add color, texture and structural variety to the landscape.  Vines will generally need some type of support and are usually grown on a trellis, arbor, fence, wall, pergola or post.   They are popular not only for their aesthetic qualities but also for their capacity to quickly provide privacy and/or screening of unattractive features.  The nature of their vertical growth makes them very useful in small spaces where it is difficult to grow a bushy, outward growing plant.

Florida gardeners have an amazing variety of vines from which they can select and the vine flower is what seems to entice most people.   While the colorful and unique flower may be the primary reason for choosing a certain vine, gardeners will also select a vine for its fragrance, edible fruit or the nectar it provides for hummingbirds and butterflies. Vines such as the corky stem passion and Dutchman’s pipevine are must haves for butterfly gardeners because they provide food for the zebra longwing and pipevine swallowtail caterpillars.

There are three types of vines: clinging, twining and sprawling.  Clinging vines have small tendrils which will grab and attach to the support.  Coral, cross and passion vines are examples of clinging vines.  Twining vines climb by wrapping around the support.  Confederate jasmine, bleeding heart and coral honeysuckle are examples of twining vines.  Sprawling vines send out long runners but must be manually woven around or tied to the support.  Bougainvillea, chalice and Chinese hat are examples of sprawling vines.

Pink Petticoat Flower

Pink Petticoat Vine

When reading about the qualities of a certain vine, one will often see the term “vigorous grower”.  This should be translated into “do not turn your back on this vine”.  Most of the vines growing in our area are very vigorous growers and homeowners should be prepared to prune and train a vine several times a year to keep it in bounds.

Chalice vine (640x480)

Chalice Vine