Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 37: Vines Worth Buying


You may think you don’t have a place for vines in your garden because you don’t have a fence or arbor for them to climb. But, truth is, you don’t need a traditional support system in order to grow vines. Many of the recommendations in this episode are vines that love to scramble or politely cling to other plants, and end up being the glue that brings the landscape together. Many gardeners are fearful of incorporating vines because they’re afraid the vines will engulf or choke out everything in their path. Fortunately, there are a plethora of options—several of which we highlight here—that are not so thuggish and, in fact, might just end up being the missing piece to your garden puzzle.

A honeysuckle that is unlike any other, ‘Kintzley’s Ghost’ (Lonicera ‘Kintzley’s Ghost’, Zones 4–8) has an almost eucalyptus-like appearance. As a bonus, it is resistant to powdery mildew, which often plagues other varieties.

Although not the variety you want to select if looking to make beer, golden hops (Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’, Zones 3–8) is more ornamental than other cultivars, which is due to its stunning chartreuse-yellow leaves. Golden hops also tends to be slower growing and better behaved than its green-leaved cousins.

Arguably the most refined vine of our recommendations, ‘Betty Corning’ clematis (Clematis ‘Betty Corning’, Zones 4–9) exudes pure elegance. The sky blue/pinkish blooms curl slightly upwards at the petal tips, which makes us think of ballerina skirts mid-twirl.

We talk a lot about providing pollinator plants in the garden, but what about host plants for the larvae of those pollinators to snack on? Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla, Zones 3–8) is a bold, shade-loving vine that happens to be the ideal food source for pipevine swallowtail caterpillars (seen here feeding at Danielle’s house).



Watching a moon flower (Ipomoea alba, annual) open before your eyes is one of the greatest joys a gardener can experience. The fact that it is an annual vine makes this happening all the sweeter.




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