Trumpet Vine

Plants That Can Cover A Chain Link Fence – Part II: Perennial Flowering Vine

Last time we discussed annual flowering vines that can be used to cover a chain link fence. This article will cover perennial flowering vines that are ideal for the task.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
(Courtesy: USDA)

Perennials you may want to consider include:

· Dutchman’s Pipe
· Trumpet Vine
· Clematis
· Climbing Hydrangea
· Honeysuckle
· Wisteria

A woody vine that produces flowers shaped like curved pipes and large heart-shaped leaves, Dutchman’s pipe thrives in zones 8 to 10 of the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. The vine grows to about 10-feet to 15-feet long, but could grow as much as 25-feet in some regions of the country. The large heart-shaped leaves alternate along a woody stem and the flowers start to appear in late spring and early summer. They display a shaded plum color with spots. Besides the beautiful appearance, the plant also attracts swallowtail butterflies and off refuge for beneficial insects.

Dutchman’s Pipe
(Courtesy: Remy Frank at

The plant favors sunny to partially sunny locations where the soil is moist and well drained. A note of caution, the flowers emit an unpleasant scent that’s similar to meat and the odor attracts flies that pollinate the flowers. So it is advised that you plant it downwind from your doorway.

It is advised that you grow Dutchman’s pipe from seed. Harvest the seed pods after they dry out on the vine and sow them indoors, then plant outdoors after the soil warms up to at least 60°F (15°C).

Another option for growing the plant is with stem cuttings. Take the cutting in spring when terminal growth is new and root in a glass of water. Be sure to change the water daily to prevent a build-up of bacteria and transplant to soil when it has a thick clump of roots. You want to train the plant to climb up a vertical surface. It is suggested that you grow it in a large pot placed in a sheltered location for a year or two.

Dutchman’s pipe will need a lot of water. Don’t permit the soil to dry out completely when growing in a container. Once it is in the ground it will need supplemental watering. Fertilize annually in the spring and prune it as needed to keep the plant under control. Pinch back young growth to encourage thicker plants.

The plant doesn’t do well in frost conditions but will remain an evergreen in warmer climates. When threatened with frost it is advised that you mulch around the base to protect the roots. When spring comes and temperatures start to rise, the plant will leaf out again and produce wonderful flowers.

Considered by some gardeners as invasive, the Trumpet Vine is a fast-growing woody vine that will need pruning to keep under control. It thrives in zones 4-9 of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map and is strong enough to endure winter with flowers that return in the spring. The plant can grow as much as 30-feet to 40-feet in just one season. So it is advised that you prune it often. If not kept under control, it can grow very quickly and easily take over an area. When it does, it is very difficult to get rid of it.

Trumpet Vine
(Courtesy: Stella Maroo at

Trumpet Vine flourishes in both sun and partial shade and favors well-drained soil. Still, it can adapt to just about any soil and will grow sufficiently.

It is suggested that you don’t plant too close to your home or other buildings because the creeping roots can do some damage including grow under shingles and damage the foundation. A chain link fence is an ideal support.

Many gardeners plant in large bottomless containers like a 5-gallon bucket that can be sunk into the ground. This helps to limit its expansion.

The Trumpet Vine is a low maintenance plant once it is established. Water only when needed and it does not require fertilizer. The only maintenance you will have to perform is pruning in the early spring or fall. It is suggested that severe pruning take place in spring when you should cut back to just a few buds. It is also a good idea to deadhead trumpet vine flower pods. This will prevent the plant from reseeding.

Very popular plants, Clematis feature woody, deciduous vines and are available in two different varieties including herbaceous and evergreen. They also vary greatly with some displaying flowering forms, colors and blooming seasons. Most bloom between early spring and fall.

The plant favors a sunny location where it can get the sun for at least six hours a day. The soil should be kept cool. So it is advised that you plant ground cover or shallow-rooted perennial plants around it. You should also include a 2-inch layer of mulch to keep the roots cool and moist.

(Courtesy: Roy at

The plant can grow as much as 2-feet to 5-feet in height and some varieties actually get to 8-feet to 12-feet. It can be planted in a container or in the garden. It is suggested that planting take place in the fall or early spring, depending on the region and variety of plant.

Make sure that you give the plant plenty of space for good airflow and park it in a well-drained area. It is advised that you plant in at least 2-feet of depth in soil that has been amended with compost before planting.

Clematis is another low maintenance plant. The only thing you have to do is water it about an inch or so weekly and more during dry spells. Surround the plant with mulch each spring. It is also suggested that you prune. Varieties that bloom in the early spring should be pruned following blooming but before July. Varieties with large flowers that bloom in mid spring should be pruned to the top most buds in late winter or early spring. Late-blooming varieties should be pruned about two or three feet in late winter or early spring.

Displaying large, fragrant clusters of white flowers that bloom in late spring and summer, Climbing Hydrangea is a heavy vine that clings to a structured support in one of two ways – twining vines that wrap around a structure or aerial roots that grow along the main stem and cling to vertical surfaces. A Climbing Hydrangea can grow as much of 30-feet to 80-feet tall. You can actually keep the drying flower clusters on the vine after they bloom. They will keep their shape and remain interesting even after the foliage falls.

The plant thrives in zones 5 through 7 of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The soil in which it is planted needs to be rich and moist and well drained. It grows well in full sunlight or partial shade. If planted in regions of the country that experience hot summers, then it is suggested you provide it with some afternoon shade. When growing over a fence choose a northern or eastern exposure.

Climbing Hydrangea
(Courtesy: Megan Hanson at

Maintaining the plant is not difficult. Just water it regularly to keep the soil moist and layer mulch around its base to help the soil retain moisture.

Feed the plant compost or slow-release fertilizer in late winter or early spring just before new leaves begin to show and repeat in the summer when the flowers bloom. Prune in late spring or early summer to remove dead, diseased or damaged and crossed branches that are rubbing against each other. Rubbing can create an entry point for insects and disease.

Not only is the Honeysuckle Vine an ideal plant to cover a chain link fence, it also offers a fantastic aroma that attracts bees, mocking birds, and other creatures. There are more than 180 different varieties of honeysuckle and they are all easy to grow.

Honeysuckle thrives in full sunlight, but it can tolerate some shade as well as different types of soil. However, it is suggested that you grow it in well-drained soil amended with organic matter.

Honeysuckle Vine
(Courtesy: Philip Peters at

It takes well to a sturdy fence and as it grows, it shades the lower portion of its vine causing it to become woody and unattractive. Therefore, it is advised that you thin out the top half of the vine when the plant is dormant to keep it healthy.

Another low maintenance plant, Honeysuckle needs to be watered occasionally and pruned, which should be done in the fall or winter when the plant is dormant.

Wisteria is a sweet smelling vine plant that exhibits violet-blue or lavender blooms covering the vines in mid to late spring. It is advised that you take care when growing because it can easily take over an area without proper care.

Wisteria is a twining vine that requires a sturdy support and regular pruning. It doesn’t do quite well in cold areas and favors plenty of sunlight as well as rich, somewhat moist soil. There is no need to fertilize it and it requires very little water.

The plant needs to be trained to grow upright. So attach the upright stem to the chain link fence. Remove any side shoots and train the main vine upwards. It is suggested that you provide about 18-inches between side branches. When the plant reaches the desired height, pinch off or cut the main vine tip to stunt its growth. The plant requires regular pruning. It is suggested that you prune new shoots throughout the growing season and do heavy pruning in late fall or winter. Cut off dead wood and crowded branches and cut back the side branches to about a foot or so from the main trunk and clip away any suckers from its base.

(Next time: Evergreen Plants That Grow On Fences)

About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.

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