Central US States Hardy Vines for Landscape

Central US States Hardy Vines for Landscape
by Keith Markensen

Vines For gardeners who live in THE CENTRAL STATES

WINTERCREEPER – There are two varieties of this broad leaved vine or ground cover worthy of attention. The first is the purple-leaf wintercreeper, Euonymus Fortunei colorata, whose foliage has a purple cast; the second, the big-leaf wintercreeper, Euonymus Fortunei vegetus, noted for its attractive bright green rounded foliage and bitter sweet like fruit in fall. Both are tolerant of most any soil, prefer a north or east exposure and cling to walls or trees by root-like holdfasts reaching up 25 feet or more. As ground covers they grow a foot or so tall. The nice thing about them is that they will grow in shade and can stand root competition from trees. Regrettably they cannot be recommended for the coldest or the warmest parts of the region.

BALTIC IVY – The hardiest variety of English ivy, Hedem Helix baltica, will climb up walls or tree trunks 25 feet or more and also makes an interesting 3 to 5-inch-deep ground cover. It will grow in practically any soil and prefers a north or east exposure. The foliage is medium sized and prominently veined.

BULGARIAN IVY – This ground cover or vine, known as Hederia Helix Bulgaria is as hardy as Baltic ivy and requires the same soil and exposure. Its distinguishing feature is its large leaves that give the plant a rather coarse textural effect. Some training may be required at first to make it climb.

Plant Stuff

JAPANESE HONEY SUCKLE – This vigorous twining vine needs pruning and clipping to keep it in bounds. It will quickly drape a trellis or fence or form a dense ground cover, being especially good for erosion control on steep banks. Known as Lonicera japonica Halliana, it is evergreen in the southern part of the region while in the north it is considered semi-evergreen, its foliage turning bronze and finally dropping in late winter. It likes sun or part shade and does well on even the poorest. soil. The flowers are very fragrant.

LALAND FIRETHORN – Commonly seen as a shrub, Pyracantha coccinea Lalandi is most decorative when trained on a wall or trellis where its branches up to 8 feet long are splayed out to show off white flowers in June and bright red fruit in fall. It does best in the warmer parts of the region where it is evergreen but is also good in protected locations in the north where it is considered semi-evergreen. For best results give it a well-drained soil in full sun.

CANBY PACHISTIMA – This neat plant growing to one foot high has dark green finely textured foliage. As a ground cover or as a low hedge plant, it is excellent among trees or shrubs. You will find it listed as Pachistima Canbyi. It prefers a moist but well-drained soil and year-round shade. It is not recommended for the drier and colder parts of the region.

JAPANESE PACHYSANDRA – Forming an evergreen carpet 10 inches high, this fine flowering vine plant thrives in all but the driest and coldest sections of the region if given year-round shade. It spreads by underground stolons and prefers a moist well-drained soil. Many people know it by its scientific name, Pachysandra terminalis. Among other flowering vines it is one of the best ground covers available.

COMMON PERIWINKLE – For locations where lawns are impossible to maintain Vinca minor comes to the rescue. It is a rugged plant but cannot, however, be walked upon. It likes a light, well-drained soil in full or part shade and under favorable conditions will grow 10 inches tall. There are several horticultural varieties, one of which has bright blue flowers; one with pure white flowers, and a third with purple flowers.

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