What Are Deciduous Vines: Growing Deciduous Vine Varieties In Gardens
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Vines are super handy to screen items, add texture, and create visual borders. There are both evergreen and deciduous vine varieties. What are deciduous vines?
Some of the deciduous types may leave the landscape looking a little sad in winter when they lose their leaves, but the vast number provides the gardener with more color and foliage opportunities than their counterparts. Deciduous vine care may be a bit more difficult than hardy evergreens but will be worth it when they come back in all their glory in spring.
What are Deciduous Vines?
Deciduous vines are often noted for their spectacular spring color. The leaves change in response to day length and temperature cues, providing a stunning display in fall. If you are considering growing deciduous vines, check their hardiness level and make sure to provide some protection for roots during the cold season.
Among the types of deciduous vines, you can choose from those that flower, fruit, or have spectacular foliage. There are twining, clinging, and sprawling species so selection starts with the amount of support needed. If you want a year-round screen, deciduous vines aren’t for you, as they will lose leaves and most of their interesting characteristics when cold temperatures arrive.
It’s their sheer diversity, though, that allows the gardener some unique visual statements. Some vines are only deciduous in colder climates and will retain foliage in southern regions. Again, making sure the vine is hardy to your region will gain the most success with these types of plants.
How to Grow Deciduous Vines
You can narrow down your selections by hardiness, purpose, desired characteristics, and site conditions. Size and deciduous vine care will be two other specifications. If you don’t want a huge vine, choose accordingly. If you don’t want to have to prune or clean up a lot of debris either, select your plant with care.
You may want a vine that attracts birds, flowers, or provides you with fruit. Most plants need well-draining soil that is slightly acidic and has plenty of organic matter. For those that will need something on which to cling, install support early in the plant’s growth. This might be a trellis, arbor, pergola or some other erect frame.
Deciduous Vine Varieties
Growing deciduous vines to maturity depends upon taking care of that specific plant’s needs. Some need consistent water, while others are content to wait for natural precipitation. Check fertilizing needs, pest and disease issues, as well as pruning requirements. For the latter, for instance, clematis vines have three distinct pruning classes. Note yours or you may sacrifice flowers the next year by pruning at the wrong time.
Some of the more exciting vine choices are:
- Dutchman’s Pipe
- Climbing Hydrangea
- Trumpet Creeper
- Virginia Creeper
- Kiwi Vine
- Crimson Glory Vine
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Read more about Ornamental Vines General Care
Deciduous Vines for the Garden
Vines are among the most basic and simple plants to grow in the garden. They can be trained to everything, and, on the whole, they are great for whatever space you have to give them. They come back year after year and love to grow. Take a look at the world of simple to grow deciduous vines for the garden.
These are robust and hardy vines that can be grown anywhere with good sun. The male and female blooms are on separate plants so be ready to plant more than one if you want fruit. The ratio of male to female plants should be about one male for each three female plants. Thank you to kiwibob for the image.
This twining stemmed plant is often grown for the wonderful green leaves. The foul smelling flowers are whitish-yellow and look like small pipes. The leaves can reach up to one foot long so be ready for the impact. Thank you to Monocromatico for the image.
The stems have wonderfully alternated leaves, and in some areas they might be evergreen. The real show is in the fall and winter when the vine is covered in bright red berries growing in showy clusters. The berries can also be used for winter decorations and are perfect for the table centerpiece.
With the biggest and best flowers of any plant in the garden, Clematis is queen of the garden. This flower grows on weak stemmed plants that must be supported or allowed to climb up a shrub or small tree. The roots need moist shade and the leaves need sun so they are perfect to fill special places in the garden. Thank you to TomC_UK for the image.
With huge white flowering clusters, this vine is in strong demand in the garden. It will climb up anything and the stems have root-like growths that will attach themselves to any surface and keep growing upward. Hydrangea is very useful for covering a shed or garage and concealing them from the rest of the yard. Thank you to Wintermoor for the image.
Love it or hate it, every gardener, in time, will have strong feelings about having this plant in the garden. The leaves have the classic garden look, the ability to climb and cling to anything, and are sought after in many areas, but they can damage a home or wall very easily. They are very useful in the right place, but think about this plant before you plant it. Thank you to JoleneS for the image.
Want a butterfly magnet that will take full sun and never stop growing? Look no farther than the Trumpet Creeper. This plant will keep growing in the heat and drought. It will bloom its head off on the hottest days of summer and it will bring each and every humming bird in the state to your yard. This is not a good choice if you have limited space, but if you have the room it is the perfect plant for many places. Thank you to brushwoodnursery for the image.
This is my favorite vine for the simple color of the leaves in the fall. When the bitter winds blow in fall, this plant will have strong red leaves to brighten your day. It looks much like Poison Ivy at a distance but with leaves of five and not three. The stems have sticky pads that will climb up anything and everything. Many birds eat the berries that the flowers produce. Thank you to Floridian for the image.
This is the plant for the English or Cottage garden. It is a stunning garden vine that can be trained into a small tree but the most powerful statement is when this plant is left to grow into the spreading vine it was born to be. There are Native American types that can be grown with ease in the smaller garden, but the biggest statement can be made with a well groomed Chinese Wisteria trained to follow a fence or roof line. Thank you to wihead for the image.
Below are a few of the most common Palo Verde species found across North America.
- Blue palo verde (Parkinsonia florida) - this popular tree is taller and more upright than most other Parkinsonia species it can grow over 30 feet tall. It's also fast-growing, matures quickly, and, as the name suggests, it has a more bluish-green hue to its trunk and branches. This species prefers finer soil and tolerates more water. Unlike many palo verde, it can even grow in lawn conditions.
- Foothill palo verde (Parkinsonia microphylla) - one of the slowest growing palo verde species, they have the least tolerance for wet conditions. Their pale yellow flowers aren't as abundant as other species, and they don't bloom for as long either.
- Mexican palo verde (Parkinsonia aculeata) - this is one of the most well-known species, but, these days, it isn't the most popular choice. It's fast-growing and self-seeds the most readily, meaning new trees can sprout up in unwanted places if care is not taken.
- 'Desert Museum' - this cultivar is a hybrid cross of P. aculeata x P. microphylla x P. florida. It's known for being thornless, having an upright growth habit, and for producing an abundance of bright yellow flowers over a long period during the spring, while not generating a lot of messy litter.
Perennial Vines for Sun
Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans) is a fast, strong grower that reaches 30 feet. It produces masses of orange, tubular flowers in summer and thrives in USDA zones 5 through 9. Evergreen clematis (Clematis armandii) has long, thin, leathery leaves and covers itself with fragrant white or pale pink blooms in early spring. It flourishes in USDA zones 6 through 9 and will tolerate part shade. Crimson glory vine (Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea') has large, palmate leaves that glow red and purple in fall. Like most grapevines, it is a fast, vigorous grower that can reach 30 feet. It thrives in USDA zones 6 through 9.