Vines are a beautiful addition to any outside décor, but how do they know which way to grow? Training vines to follow a fence, wall, or grow up a trellis takes time and some serious know-how. With regular care and maintenance, your vines will grow exactly where you want them, providing extra privacy, camouflage, or decoration for your outdoor landscape.
Step 1: Choosing the Vines
Different types of vines grow differently--some of them have flowers, while others have sweet scents or uniquely colored leaves. When choosing the plant to grow along your fence, it’s important to first decide the purpose of the vines. If your goal is extra privacy, a plant with larger leaves and thick foliage might be your best bet, such as an ivy with its large leaves, which can live through colder temperatures. Honeysuckle can also provide privacy, but certain types will attract bees, butterflies, and birds.
If you desire beautiful, flowering vines, annual plants like Morning Glory will provide privacy in the spring and summer, but when winter comes you will lose some of that as the flowers fall. Trumpet Vines can withstand hotter, drier temperatures and have annual flowers that attract hummingbirds.
For a beautiful scent, try Wisteria, which can take a few years to bloom, but whose scent is totally worth it. Climbing roses are just that -- roses that use their thorns to climb along walls and fences. For really beautiful scents in the summer months, try planting Lavender or Jasmine alongside some of these vines or on its own.
Step 2: Planting Vines
Most vine plants will naturally grow up a fence rather than along it. In order to cover a large area of fencing, you could plant a vine plant every foot or so. Otherwise, in order to use fewer plants you will need to train the vine to grow up and along the fence. You can use string, plant tape, or rubber bands to curve your vine in the direction you would like it to grow. A trellis or other wooden support can be put against a fence or wall and be used to hold up heavy vine branches, which can then be tied to the trellis.
Step 3: Training Vines to Grow
All types of vines need some support to grow along a surface, unless they’re one of the few types that naturally cling to everything, such as Ivy, Virginia Creeper, or other clinging vines. If they’re a type of vine that naturally curls and wraps around a fence or trellis, you can wrap the vine branches around and through these surfaces easily without harming the plant. When vine plants grow larger, you can tie longer parts of the plant where you would like them to grow with string or plant tape and untie old strings and knots if you’d like. Tying the plant to the fence or a trellis holds it up and leads it in the direction you wish it to grow.
Step 4: Regular Care and Maintenance
While vines take far less work and maintenance than a vegetable garden, they still need plenty of care and love. First, be sure that your vines get enough water, depending on their type. Secondly, vines require plenty of sunlight and nutrient-rich soil. Certain types of vines can grow particularly quickly, so it’s important to check the vines regularly and make sure they haven’t gotten out of control. Trim vine plants that are growing into areas you don’t want them to, or lead them back along the fence or wall.