Most vines require a warm, sunny location, good drainage, and no special type of soil. Besides charm and comfort, vines serve various purposes: shade and privacy, relief from sharp building lines, and cover for unsightly views.
Some vines grown in large pots with stakes or poles are patio attractions.
The heavenly blue morning glory is perhaps the most popular vine in the United States. The dainty cypress vine, which our grandmothers planted, is still cherished. It produces small tubular flowers and ferny foliage. The colors come in red, orange, and white.
Other old-time favorites are moonflower, cup-and-saucer, Madeira vine, hyacinth bean, butterfly pea, and scarlet runner. The pure white moonflower, five to six inches across and very fragrant, is open in the evening until the following noon. Since a dense mass of foliage is formed by the heart-shaped leaves, it is especially effective on a trellis or fence.
Clear green bells on cup-and-saucer vines, also known as cathedral bells, turn purplish blue and then produce plum-shaped fruits. Wirelike tendrils permit this vine to cling to rough surfaces. In planting, the seeds are pressed edgewise into moist soil and covered lightly. Vines may reach a height of 30 feet at maturity and will bloom from midsummer to frost.
A quick cover for porches and arbors is the Madeira vine, grown from tuberous roots. Making a dense shade, this twiner of attractive foliage produces long racemes of fragrant white in late summer. It may be grown in combination with the hyacinth bean, whose wine-purple flowers on stiff stems resemble those of the sweet pea.
The butterfly pea shows a profusion of blue pealike blossoms soon after planting. The flowers, less than two inches long, have white horseshoe-shaped centers. Opposite, oval leaves do not make a dense shade, but a single plant producers many runners.
The scarlet runner with brilliant blossoms all summer is one of the fastest-growing vines. It is most effective when trained on strings against a wall or fence. In England the beans are picked in the green stage and used as food. It rarely grows more than 10 feet high.
A gardener wanting a truly exotic climber should plant the paradise vine, a native of Brazil which was introduced into England in 1804. Although the vine is nipped by frost, it grows as a perennial in mild climates and reaches a height of more than 20 feet. After about three months of growth, the plant begins to bear a broad, flat-topped arrangement of flowers. The alternate leaves on slender-stem leafstalks are cut to the midrib in opposite segments. An interesting feature is the plant's climbing habit; the base of the leastalk will wrap itself around a string or any suitable object for support.
Lilac-blue flowers followed by scarlet berries, however, draw the greatest attention to this exotic plant. Bright yellow anthers are set in the five-lobed triangular flowers. The blooming period is spring until late fall.
The paradise vine grows in almost any soil with plenty of water. It requires at least half a day of sunshine but may be grown in pots in a sunny window. Propagation is by seed and cuttings. Grown in a large container on the patio, this vine is a conversation piece.
To prevent tangled masses of vines, shoots often must be thinned and the runners trained. Vines should be planted at least a foot from a wall.
Attention to the best types of support for a particular vine is necessary. Structural strength, stability, and a neat appearance are prime considerations.
Regardless of the care and maintenance, the rewards are many.