this week we get to some of my favorites plants, annual vines.
Annual vines are three things….cheap, easy, and glorious. For leass than the third of the cost of one perennial plant you can buy a packet of annual vine seeds and grow many fantastic ground or trellis covering vines. That is quite the bargin.
I grow many and change them up every year (which is another great thing about them) but will focus on the ones that add the most to my late season garden
The first is by far the biggest of the bunch, cobea scandens. Planted by seed this baby will get to at least 20 ft by late summer. It has little sticky tendrils that can grab onto anything, they even can climb vinyl siding with zero damage done when they are pulled off. Before i grew this I had read on the interweb volumes of complaints railed against cobea scandens because it blooms very late if started by seed after frost. Well, you can start it indoors or a greenhouse if you have one, or you can quit your crabbing because…HELLLO! the late bloom is the point of the thing.
Most years I grew the straight species, and it’s adorable ittle flowers that look like tiny tea cups on saucers, ( hence it’s common name cup and suacer vine) adorn the front of my garage for the better part of August-October. It is divine. This year I have the cltvr.’Alba’ and I am a little less than impressed with the flowers as they don’t stand out as much , although if you are close up they are great. The garage just needs a jolt of color …note for next year. You could actually overwinter this plant if you cut it back and bring it inside as it is a tender perennial not technically an annual. I have one growing in morning shade/afternoon sun and one growing in part shade all day into a birch tee.
Hyacinth bean is another stunner with it’s lilac to white flowers and electric purple pods. This vine can be seed started directly in the ground after it is warm outside ( here June 1) and the heat will make it soar. I have used it in many places here and find the direct sown plants perform MUCH better than any I start early indoors. the foliage is lovely on this one as well. I must mention though, that is is a full sun plant.
Morning glories get a bad rap, but with all the new varieties you can find on ebay, as well as the tried and true like Heavenly Blue and Grandpa Ott, there is no reason not to include them in your garden. I find only the older ones will reseed , any I pay many $$ for a few seeds never do. Some have nicier foliage than others ( picotee comes to mind) and some are just HUGE. Last year I grew Vega Star and that ting was a monster! With most varieties I would seed at least 4 or 5 vines in a space to get a good display, but this one a single plant will do.
Moon Flowers are anothe ipomea species ( related to morning glories) and are easy as pie, and the flowers are as big as one to boot. They are dreamy planted near any place you spend time at night as they open then , although they also open on cloudy days too,
Rhodochiton astrosanguineum is an mouthful of a name for a very sweet plant with cool looking bell flowers ( common name: purple bell flower vine) that has the added attribute of liking a shady position. This year I have it growing in three places, all in containers to raise the flowers up to eyeball height.
You can read an awful lot about annual vines on my blog, and I encourage you to plant as many as you can. When you think of how late they bloom, remind yourself that
a. they take up very little space in the ground so can be added amoung many other earleir bloomers and
b. late blooming is what we are after here.
How come no one ever complains about how early daffodils bloom????