7 Vining Plants that Help Block the Sun

Written by David S.

In hardiness zones 9-11, it’s nice to have a little shade in the summer. Inside we go over five vining plants that help to create shade. Maybe that means creating dappled shade in first-floor rooms. Perhaps that means creating a space where you can enjoy the outdoors in comfort. When you pair the right vining plant with the perfect support structure, you can achieve excellent results. 

Structures for Vining Plants
Vines appreciate just about any structure that allows them to climb; but, the idea here is to create a shape that helps to create a situation that benefits you. In this case, we are talking about creating lighting situations that enhance your experience. The following structures help vining plants do just that. 
 Pergola — Pergolas are beautiful structures that create open-air rooms. They consist of four posts and a lattice top and are a perfect structure for heavier vines, such as grapes, wisteria, and bougainvillea. They are also customizable. You can find pergola kits or if you are more of a DIY, build it from lumber. 
 Arches — Generally, arches are constructed of wire, but there are plenty of examples of garden arches that utilize posts and lattice or wire. Arches are fantastic around gates and walkways. They are lovely for a variety of vining plants. Depending upon their construction, they can support roses, clematis, grapes, wisteria. 
Trellis — Generally, trellis help to support smaller, lightweight plants, but larger trellis can also support larger plants. The significant consideration is wind. A large plant on a support that is not adequate will catch the wind and topple. Trellises are excellent for roses, jasmines, clematis, etc. A heavy-duty trellis would support the weight and wind coefficient of grapes, wisteria, and bougainvillea. 
Custom — A custom support may borrow from the above options and create a shape or support that meets the needs of the space and the plant. 
A good tip is to consider the location of the structure and your lighting goals. For larger spaces, a pergola is probably a good choice. For walkways or window dressings, an arch can be impressive. A trellis is best used along a horizontal surface but can also be positioned to create a beautiful window view. 

Vining Plants That Help to Create Shade
1. Clematis — Wonderful to zone 9 — They grow to 12-feet and are available in a broad mix of colors. These are lovely on a trellis or an arch. 
2. Honeysuckle — Generally good to zone 9 — they stretch to 30 feet, making them fantastic for arches, pergola, and when pruned, for trellis. 
3. Jasmine — Wonderful in zones 9-10 — they stretch to 15 feet, but their lightweight makes them ideal for trellis, arches, and on a pergola with other types of plants. 
4. Grapes — Most do pretty well to zone 9 and a few in zone 10. If you fancy becoming a winemaker, then the good news is that most of the traditional cultivars of grapes do well in zones 9 and 10. Those include Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir. You can also do well with table grapes such as Thompson seedless or Flame. Grapes can stretch to 115 feet, making them an excellent vine for pergola. 
5. Roses — Many are hardy to zone 11, though not all. Thankfully, the variety of climbing roses is quite large, so finding the perfect climber is not tricky. They come in a plethora of colors, and most will climb to 10-12 feet. They are ideal for trellis, pergola, or arches and make lovely additions to window areas, outdoor sitting areas, and gateways. 
6. Wisteria — Hardy to zone 9 – Available in purple or white — grows to 40 feet, making it ideal for first or second-story windows or on a pergola.  
7. Trumpet Vine — Hardy to zone 9 — Available in various colors, including orange, yellow, red, and hybrids that are purple or white — Grows 30-40 feet making it a lovely topper for a pergola. 

Growing Vining Plants 
Each vine has its range of conditions in which it grows best. For general purposes, create soils with a pH of 6.0-6.5; some vines, such as honeysuckle, thrive in soils with a pH range of 5.5-8.0.

The soil conditions should be well-draining but moist. You can increase the soil’s moisture level by adding an aggregate such as vermiculite, perlite, or specialized soil, such as FoxFarm’s Salamander Soil Ocean Forest FoxFarm also offers Cultivation Nation Seventy Thirty growing medium. — a mix of 70 percent coconut fiber and 30 percent perlite. Vines love nutrient-rich
soil. If you are mixing soil components to achieve a vine blend, be sure to start with aged manure or a bagged use a product rich in organic compost— such as Black Gold’s Organic Potting Soil Mix. E. B. Stone Soil Booster.

The ideal growing location will allow vines to achieve full sun. Most vines are understory plants, meaning that they creep along the forest floor and then climb up trees to reach the full sun at the top of the canopy. It is a sneaky adaptation that is genius in growing conditions where most of
the prime “sunning” locations are taken. 

Watering: Most vines need consistently moist soil. Aim to keep the top 12 inches of soil moist.

That may mean watering once per week or more often. Many vines are also drought-tolerant, but not all.  

Pruning 
Pruning is necessary for vines. Remember that you want to create a shape that benefits your needs. Late fall, winter, or early spring are the best times to prune vines. Many will lose their leaves, and a few weeks or a month after that happens is a good time to prune them. If you are growing out a vine to cover a pergola, then heavy pruning may not be necessary. Some vines also flower better after they are pruned. Pruning is very much dependent upon the plant you choose to grow. 

If vining plants are in your future, be sure to stop by and check out the wide selection. Our plant experts are available to help you choose the best variety of vining plants for your yard, and they can help you pick out structures, such as a pergola kit, to support your vines.

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