About ornamental vines

A vine is any plant whose stems need support. Vines are used to cover walls and fences and they can also be used as ground cover. They are grown for their showy flowers (Clematis and Trumpet Vine), colourful fruits (Bittersweet and Euonymus) and brilliant fall colour (Boston Ivy and Engelman Ivy).

Kinds of Vines

  1. Aerial Rootlets – These plants cling to rough surfaces by aerial rootlets. They do not have to be tied to supports. It is best to plant these types of vines near rough stone, brick or wood.Examples:
    • Euonymus Wintercreeper
    • English Ivy
    • Virginia Creeper (Engelman Ivy)
    • Boston Ivy Trumpet Vine (Botanically a clinging type but because the growth is heavy it needs support)
  2. Twining – These plants twist and twine. They require support such as a trellis, or a wire or open fence.Examples:
    • Bittersweet
    • Silverlace Vine
    • Japanese Wisteria
    • Honeysuckle Scarlet, Gold Flame and Hall’s
  3. Tendril Climbers – The climbing tendrils of these plants require support such as a trellis or wire fence.Examples:
    • Clematis species
    • Sirlace Vine
    • Virginia Creeper
    • Grapes


  • The roots of Clematis prefer to be cool and moist; an ideal location is the shady side of a fence or wall that gets from 4-6 hours of sunlight per day.
  • Prepare a planting hole 60cm (24″) deep. Fill with a good loam soil. Do not use peat moss, but sharp sand with a handful of lime mixed into the soil. Plant the clematis with the crown 5cm (2″) below the surface. Firm soil gently. Water the plant in with a Guardian Transplanter 5-15-5 Liquid Root Stimulator. Mulch the root area during summer to retain moisture and keep soil cool. Prone all varieties 15-30cm (6-12″) above ground after planting the first year (early spring).
  • Yearly pruning should be done in March or early April before the new growth starts. Prune out dead wood, being careful not to damage live wood.
  • Clematis types that bloom only during summer on current season wood include: Jackmanii, Lady Betty Balfour, Ernest Markham, Candida, Ville de Lyon, Comtesse de Bouchaud, Elsa Spathe, Hagley Hybrid and Niobe. They should be pruned back to within 60cm (2′) from the ground during each dormant season.
  • Those that bloom during both spring and summer need light, corrective pruning of spring blooming portions immediately after they have bloomed. These varieties include: Doctor Ruppel, Duchess of Edinburgh and Belle of Woking).
  • To protect the roots from winter freezing and thawing apply additional mulch over the root area in the fail.


  • Wisteria can be most troublesome to bring to flower and often take about seven years to reach a flowering stage. Heavy fertilizing, and especially an excess of nitrogen, results in heavy stem and leaf growth which discourages flower bud formation.
  • Wisteria is a plant which has an abundance of dark coloured, healthy foliage and should receive a low-nitrogen fertilizer such as Iron Plus® 4-8-12. Root pruning may also be carried out by forcing a sharp spade into the soil in a circle around the plant, thus cutting all the side roots. This procedure will not harm the plant but makes the plant think it is going to die and in order for it to preserve itself will be forced into bloom.
  • Wisteria flower buds are sensitive to extreme cold temperatures and may be killed during severely cold winters. If planted in an exposed location, it is wise to wrap burlap around the branches for protection. Wisterias also require full sunlight which is essential for flowering.

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