How to Ensure Your Vines Thrive

Jun 3, 2016

Vines can help spice up many gardens, but it is important to pick one that is going to thrive in its new environment.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, it’s Horticulture Day! Host Charity Nebbe talks with Aaron Steil, Assistant Director of the Reiman Gardens, about vines. They discuss how to care for different vines and which conditions help ensure vines flourish.

Steil says annual vines that are started from seed are usually successful if planted around this time of year. The vines will continue to grow over the summer and will begin taking off in the fall. Morning glories, black eyed Susans, and cypresses are some annual vines that do well in Iowa.

When it comes to perennials, Steil recommends wisteria and bittersweet, but warns against non-native types of the plants. When shopping for these vines, it is important to double-check that the plant is not the oriental version, which don't do well in Iowa.

“My favorites? Well, wisteria is a nice one. Many of us when we see pictures of wisteria are looking at pictures of a Japanese or a Chinese wisteria, which is not reliably hardy or grows well here in Iowa. Instead of looking at wisteria, the native ones, like Kentucky wisteria, which is blooming right about now,” said Steil.

Other perennials that can thrive in Iowa’s environment include Aunt Dee, blue moon, and summer cascade. Steil warns against the alluring orange flowers of the trumpet vine.

“It’s one of those plants that’s so pretty when it’s in bloom: it attracts some pollinators, hummingbirds like it, but then usually once it gets established, it becomes a little more than we can manage,” said Steil.

Iowa’s environment is attractive to many different types of vines, as long as they have a sturdy place to grow and receive enough sunlight.

Later in the show, Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist Richard Jauron joins Steil to answer listener questions.