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Vermont Garden Journal: Climbing Annual Flowers For Your Patio Or Trellis

Black-eyed Susan vine has dainty, daisy-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colors and grow up to six feet tall.

Whether it be to cover an unsightly fence, create a green wall on a patio or decorate a trellis, climbing vines are a great investment. So, if you want to make a quick impact in your yard or garden, annual climbing vines grow fast and flower all summer.

While most gardeners know of morning glories, the poster child of annual climbing vines, there are many other annuals that provide a colorful, vertical effect.

Black-eyed Susan vine or Thunbergia alata, has dainty, daisy-shaped flowers that come in white, yellow, orange, pink or red colors on a six-foot-tall vine. Black-eyed Susan vines are typically grown in containers and allowed to cascade over the pot edge. But, if trellised, they can reach six feet tall in containers, and even taller when grown in the ground. They will flower sooner and more often in containers if they are slightly pot bound. Start seeds indoors now and plant in full sun, on fertile soil and keep them well watered.

The Cup and Saucer vine or Cobaea scandens can grow 20 feet tall when planted in full sun in a warm location. The white or purple, fragrant blossoms are cup shaped with the actual flowers inside the cup. They grow best in warm weather so don't rush these plants into the soil early.

One of my favorite annual climbing vines is the cardinal climber. This morning glory family vine has finely cut leaves and bright red, small trumpet-shaped flowers that hummingbirds love. The vines twist and twine up to 12 feet tall and the feathery leaves allow light to filter through them. Nick the seeds with a file before planting to hasten germination, wait until the soil has warmed to plant and watch out for self-sowing seedlings the next year.

Now for this week's tip: Turn under cover crops once the soil has dried. Allow them to decompose for at least three weeks before planting. Cover crops add organic matter to the soil, which is the fuel for good plant growth and healthy soil structure.

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