What do you think of when you hear the word vine? Some people may think about grape vines and others may think about the clematis which has become very popular over the years. Both of these vines are perennials, which means they come back every year but there are annual vines which if you’ve got a trellis, fence or other support you should think about giving a try. While it sometimes takes some time to get perennial vines to grow to maturity annual vines must do all of their growing in one season and therefore they grow quickly and give you much more “instant gratification”!
While you can find annual vines in garden centers or online here through Blooming Secrets they are also very easy to start from seed. Several of the more popular annual vines include the following:
- Morning Glory-These are one of the better known annual vines and the flowers literally do open in the morning and close at mid-day.
- Blue Hyacinth and Scarlet Runner Vine-These vines are in the bean family and they produce both flowers as well as colorful pods which form after the flowers are finished blooming. The Blue Hyacinth Vine also has foliage that is a deep purple color that really stands out in your garden.
- Thunbergia which is also known as the Black-Eyed Susan Vine. The flowers have a dark center and come in shades of yellow, white and orange.
These and other annual vines can be grown virtually anywhere in the United States. They usually must be planted after all danger of frost is past so it may be beneficial in zones 3, 4 and even 5, which have much shorter growing seasons, to start them indoors about 6 weeks prior to your last frost date or buy plants. Most annual vines prefer being planted in full sun and start blooming in mid-summer when many perennial flowers have finished blooming and will continue to do so until the first frost in the fall. Most are also not very fussy about the soil they are planted in and it is important to not over fertilize them as this can result in more leaves than flowers.
It is important to do a little research on the vine you are interested in before you decide to plant it. Annual vines can grow anywhere from 4 feet to 20 feet in a season and they need to have the proper support to hold up this type of growth. Additionally, the support needs to be easy for the vine to twist around. If you are trying to train a vine on a picket fence or a deck you may need to hang some plastic mesh for the vine to attach to. Finally, if you find a vine that you particularly enjoy it may be possible to harvest the seed in the fall and you then have your seed for next season. I have done this successfully with all of the vines that have been discussed in this article so why not try an annual vine in your garden this year!