Training Vines

Teaching new plants old tricks

Pick a vine-training method to complement your plant's climbing ability and the wall you want it to cover. With drywall, wood, or plaster walls, you have many options. Brick walls will require a trellis, or special gardening staples made to be glued to brickwork.

Most vines climb in one of four ways:

A twining plant will grow in a close spiral around its own growth, or other plants, if any are nearby. To train a twiner, use either a wire trellis or attach lengths of cord vertically to the wall. You can also encourage twiners by weaving them through latticed fences. White jasmine, morning glories and scarlet runner beans are all easy-to-grow climbers.

Tendrils are little offshoots of the plant stem that curl tightly around any support it encounters. You can train tendril users with the same methods you use for twiners. Rhoicissus and Passiflora are both tendril users.

Clinging vines put out specialized growths along their stems that will attach the plant to the wall. Some vines will have suction cups, while others use hooks or roots. Clingers work best with brick walls. Ivies have clingers.that can attach themselves to just about any surface.

Some vines have no way to climb a wall, but will happily do so, with a little support. Use a trellis and gardening tape a special green tape without adhesive to tie the leaner in place. No gardening tape? Okay, use twist-ties, covered in paper or plastic. Most climbing roses fall into this category.