MASTER GARDENER: Vines and climbers add beauty to garden

Trumpet vines attract butterflies and hummingbirds. (Courtesy)

Vines and climbing plants add wonderful variety to your garden. Some work beautifully in small places and can add vertical or horizontal interest. Plant them on a fence, a trellis, a pergola or arbor and watch them grow and give color, fragrance and texture. An added bonus is some of these vines can be used in cut flower arrangements.

Vines can be a wonderful source of food for the birds you want to attract to your yard. A few to plant as a food source for birds in our area are coral honeysuckle, cross vine, and trumpet vine.

According to publication 2402 of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the following vines are good food sources for hummingbirds: coral honeysuckle, cross vine, morning glory, and trumpet creeper. Plant vines for our regular birds as well as our tiny, migrating hummingbirds.

A popular native vine in our area is the Carolina Jessamine which needs a strong structure on which to grow. It yields beautiful yellow blooms, is usually a fast grower, and is mostly evergreen in our area. Do not eat any part of this plant or let children suck the nectar from the blooms (it’s poisonous to humans). Aside from being a beautiful plant, it attracts hummingbirds, bumblebees and butterflies, all of which we want in our gardens. Birds sometimes build a nest in this vine, as a robin did in the vine just off our deck. We had such fun watching the birds hatch and be fed.

Trumpet, or coral honeysuckle, are deciduous native vines that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. If you buy these vines in pots, you can plant most anytime, but fall is the best time. They will grow in light shade to full sun and like well-drained soil. Japanese honeysuckle can be invasive.

Don’t forget to plant clematis. They like their “feet” to be cool so mulch well. If you want wisteria vine, plant the American native wisteria, which is not as invasive as the Chinese and Japanese varieties. Plant vines and add beauty as well as attract wanted creatures to your garden.

Kay Martin, a Master Gardener, is a trained volunteer of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. For gardening questions, call the Help Center at (662) 620-8280 in Lee County or (866) 920-4678 outside Lee County and leave a message.

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