We have deep shade gardens and have recently installed a garden gate and arbor. I need suggestions for a shade-loving vine to climb on my arbor.
Mimi Jordan, Gaithersburg, MD
Horticulturist and author Erica L. Glasener replies: For quick cover, there is sweet autumn clematis (Clematis maximowicziana, also known as C. terniflora). This vine grows to 30 feet in one season, but don’t be deterred by its aggressiveness. I’ve found that sweet autumn clematis is easy to grow and control. It is covered with clouds of small, white, fragrant flowers in September and October. Cut it back as soon as it finishes flowering. It is hardy to Zone 5 (–20°F).
An easy-care vine that grows quickly is Akebia quinata, the fiveleaf akebia. It has rosy purple flowers in late March through early April, and bears unusual sausage-shaped seedpods in the fall. A deciduous vine, it grows in sun or shade from Zones 5 (–20°F) to 8 (10°F). Prune it regularly to keep it within bounds.