pergola climbing vines

Discussion in 'Vines and Climbers' started by mel2009, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. mel2009

    mel2009 Member

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    We just bought a new pergola and husband just finished assembling it. I want to know if the clematis is our best option? We want the vine to fully cover the top fast. Any other suggestions?
     
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  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Clematis will probably work, but if you want something that will definitely cover the roof quickly each season, consider grapes.
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Or wisteria if suitable in your area

    Liz
     
  4. bullseye

    bullseye Active Member

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  5. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Oh the need for refuge and privacy~!

    Wisteria will over power this pergola, and in 7 years you would need posts set in concrete to bear its' strangling weight.... If you want fruit and fast foliage, grow a self pollinating Actinidia (Kiwi), careful if you plant only a male, as it will grow up to 10 metres a year! Vinefera or three varieties of Table grapes could be equally rewarding for this pergola.
     
  6. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    We've had a nearly identical pergola for many years, with a grape plant in the ground at each of the 4 posts. They do quickly size up to where they will provide the needed shade, as well as being in the best position for fruiting (lots of sun and air movement all round). Have to be conscientious about pruning grapes, and heartless!

    One possible problem with your setup is the criss-crossed lumber over the top. This is installed for some shade, assuming the owner will not be growing additional plants on it (I'm thinking). With grapes, it will be hard to access the centre of the pergola for pruning each winter, as well as a bit harder to harvest some of the clusters. Ours has only widely spaced 2x4's going one way over the top, allowing us to sneak a ladder under and do the annual pruning.
     
  7. bullseye

    bullseye Active Member

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    Do you have a pic of this? The only reason am not considering grapes, is the problem I might have with japanese beetles
     
  8. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Well bullseye my construction skills aren't at all in your league, but here's a couple views of our pergola effort. This is such a refuge during the hot days of summer!

    The 2x4's simply give a place for the grape arms to lay across, and the grape plant does the rest. Each winter gets harder to hack those grapes back enough to keep this under control, but at least grapes can be pruned to whatever degree year after year and still grow happily.
     

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  9. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Growing a perennial vine and getting fast, full coverage will be a challenge. I grew a native wisteria (wisteria frutescens) on a pergola and even in three years it hadn't covered the whole top.

    While waiting for the wisteria, I grew a "New Dawn" rose on the other end. It was almost as vigorous as the wisteria. Really nice.

    On the middle posts, while waiting for the two perennial "ends" to fill in, I grew annual moonflower vines (Ipomoea alba). It needs a long, hot growing season (not sure if it would do okay on the west coast) but it grows 20+ feet in a season if conditions suit.

    Watch out for the wasps when growing grapes...
     
  10. bullseye

    bullseye Active Member

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    Do you have photos of this?
     
  11. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Here's a photo of the moonflowers before the rose and the wisteria filled in. You can see the wisteria at the bottom of the left-side post, about 2 feet tall:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/greengardenvienna/3231841533/in/set-72157613022920297/

    Here's a photo, at least a year later, with the rose reaching the top of the pergola. I didn't have to train it-- it just kinda found the pergola:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/greengardenvienna/3234570183/in/set-72157613063001257/

    In this photo you can see the wisteria (not in bloom) has reached the top of the pole and is starting to wind through the lattice:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/greengardenvienna/3234571781/in/set-72157613063001257/

    We moved before the wisteria and rose had to duke it out. The wisteria would have won, hands down. I knew I was going to have to do some annual pruning, even though the variety was a frutescens, supposedly a less-vigorous type native to the southern USA. It was perfectly hardy in my zone-- Canadian 6a. I took two rooted cuttings with me to the new place. One of them is still alive, growing underneath a very old and decrepit crabapple tree, which will soon be smoothered and strangled by wisteria.
     
  12. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Wisteria is wonderful but can be a real handful. I suspect mine is a normal large size all growing free flowing. I have had it on my balcony acting as a flat tree for 20 odd years. It keeps the hot summer sun out. I give it a severe prune during winter to make sure I don't lose flowers. (profuse) I then also clip runnaway growth over summer. By autumn I have a golden show of leaves, bare in winter to let sun in and then the flowers and back to green. Mine shares the lofty heights with a runaway Banksia rose. The lemon of the rose with the wisteria mauve is really gorgeous. I also have a lot of forget me knots running riot at their feet followed by a hycinth with longish stems and open blue bells.

    Liz
     
  13. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Liz, do you let the rose climb on the wisteria?
    Your description is scrumptious. We are just desperate for summer here in the Canadian banana belt. It was a brutal brutal winter.
     
  14. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    We were desperate for winter a week or two back. Got a spurt of rain and things are looking a lot happier. Glorious Indian summer day today. Re the rose it's sort of equal in its ability to take over. One is at one end of the balcony growing up to the 2nd floor and the wisteria is at the other end. They mergeed a little in the middle. I have given the rose a helping hand with wires strung between the posts to hold it in place. I do a similar thing on my border fence around the garden which is wire squares. For privacy I have planted a "tapestry hedge" A bit like a glorius bad hairday. Vines with geranium climbing up into it and camelias and lots of other things like nastusums (sp)and climbing roses that just take hold and up they go. I give it a rough prune at the end of autumn and its ready to rock and roll. Just remember I am in a climate that rarely goes below about 9C and as high as 40+C so most things grow rather profusley even with out our usual rain fall

    Liz
     
  15. Jennie Beth

    Jennie Beth Member

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    What about a silver lace vine (polygonum aubertii)? I had a 16' x 20' pergola at my old house, and planted one on it. It was half covered by the end of the first season. It does drip flowers everywhere, but can grow 100 sq ft in a season. If I remember right, the tag said to prune back to the ground in the fall, as it can get crazy if left untrimmed. The flowers look like tiny wisteria flowers, in similar, grape-cluster bunches. Yes, it is technically in the same family as japanese knot weed, but I NEVER had any problem with massive invasion. It is a relative, but not THE japanese knotweed!

    Jen
     
  16. tropical

    tropical Active Member 10 Years

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    I love your grape vined pergola! Looks like an inviting outdoor living space.
    I see you have a propane space heater there too. Does it damage the grape undergrowth at all?
     
  17. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    tropical--yes a very much appreciated part of the yard during our brief but highly anticipated summers. Actually we were out there today in the first really comfortable spring day this year, but the grape foliage becomes useful when it fills in a couple months from now just as the hottest days arrive.
    The propane heater is a necessity in my opinion, as our summer nights cool off so quickly once the sun goes down...lots of evening barbeques would be cut very short without that piece of equipment! Surprisingly there is little damage to the grape foliage...the reflector over the propane flame bounces the majority of the heat downward (where it's needed!) so that the bit of withered growth right above the unit is hardly noticeable.
     
  18. TownMouse

    TownMouse Member

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    Hello. I need similar help, so am posting here -- hope it's okay. Seek vine that quickly will grow 8'-12' feet tall and about 36" wide (and I mean EARLY in the season) -- to provide seasonal shade/privacy. This size would cover much our 4' above-grade-level window. The dirt strip below the window is about 20" wide (and 60' long, but that plays no part here) -- and is next to a concrete driveway.

    In the summer, the site has a HOT/reflective, full-sun exposure from 11:00a.m. to 8:30p.m. In the winter, it will be covered in deep, fallen snow (98" this year) -- on top of which will be snow shoveled from driveway (NO where else to put it!). It is the quick-to-mature height which in REQUIRED. My only thought is clematis. Oh!, and I only plant cool colors (pink, blue, white, lavendar/purple). Orange flowers makes me sad.
     
  19. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Clematis paniculata (also known by other names) dies back in winter most or all of the way to the ground for me, but grows quickly to 12 feet or more every summer. It produces masses of small, fragrant white flowers in early autumn.

    A hop vine (regular green or golden-yellow) behaves much the same way, but the big attraction here is the large and opulent leaves.

    There is a decorative grape, Vitis coignetiae, that is grown for its large and showy leaves rather than its insignificant flowers and fruits. It has awesome autumn color. It is very hardy and does not die back like the plants above, but is not as aggressive as wisteria.

    I also like the European honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum which produces both flowers (lightly but sweetly fragrant) and abundant berries that are attractive to birds, though this needs to be trained or tied onto a support and so it may be less effective as a privacy screen.
     
  20. TownMouse

    TownMouse Member

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    Kaspian, you may have solved the problem with the suggestion of hops. I saw mention of it on Ask This Old House (intended to cover a pergola, I think) when they visited a home for some other problem. It did not depict the vine growing but -- after your remarks -- I recall them saying it covers in a season. I will research that option. THANK YOU!
     
  21. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Be cautious of hops, though - they exude a sticky resin and attract bees and wasps...
     
  22. Laticauda

    Laticauda Active Member

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    Most wasps are "friendly" believe it or not, and they are great predators to have around the garden. And we all know that bees are obligate pollinators.

    Don't be afraid of the flying insect, they can be your friend. If you don't mess with them, they won't mess with you.
     

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