BU-00545 Reviewed 1997
There are few woody vines that are adapted to the conditions of Minnesota. Vines are useful in creating a feeling of informality in the landscape. Some can be used effectively to break up large architectural masses, especially if there is not enough space for trees or larger shrubs.
Bittersweet is grown primarily for its fruits, which are used for winter bouquets. It requires good light and a support to produce an abundant crop of fruit. Since each bittersweet plant is usually of a single sex, several plants should be planted in an area to ensure fruiting. Bittersweet is adapted to a wide range of soils. The height of some of these vines is determined by the height of their support. Some vines will spread on the ground and are useful as a ground cover. Bittersweet vines climb by twining.
American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens). This native species produces the most desirable bright orange fruits for fall arrangements. Hardy in both zones 3 and 4.
Chinese or Loeseneri Bittersweet (Celastrus rosthornianus) is sometimes sold in Minnesota. Although it is more fruitful than the American it is less desirable if grown for fruit since the hulls surrounding the fruit shatter easily. The hull is somewhat yellow while the fruit is a medium orange color. It is a very vigorous vine that will grow 30 feet tall if support is provided. This plant suffers winter injury most years in zone 3, often killing back to the ground. It is normally hardy in zone 4, but can suffer injury there some years.
Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) often takes a couple of years to become established, but then grows vigorously. It climbs by tendrils that often have disk-like tips that will adhere to wood or masonry surfaces. Leaves are three-lobed and are dark green, but turn a bright red in the fall. Dieback to the ground is common with young plants and occasionally occurs on older plants. Trial in zone 3; adapted to zone 4.
Clematis (Clematis hybrids) is probably the showiest of the vines that can be grown in Minnesota. It grows best where it doesn't get too hot. It does well with an exposure to the east but if it is grown on the south and west side of a structure, the clematis will be benefited by midday shade. Clematis does best in a cool, moist soil, but the soil must be well drained. In Minnesota, lime should not be added to the soil. The soil can be kept cool during the growing season by using an organic mulch. Clematis climb by leaf petioles that act like tendrils. Most clematis sold in Minnesota will bloom on the current season's growth if cut to the ground in the spring before growth starts. Some clematis are useful as a ground cover. Zones 3 and 4.
Englemann Ivy (Parthenocissus quinquefolia 'Englemannii') climbs with adhesive disks at the end of the tendrils. It has a compound leaf made up of five leaflets similar to the woodbine, but the leaflets are smaller. It takes on a bright red fall color. Zones 3 and 4.
Vine Honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.) are not commonly used landscape plants in Minnesota because there are few that are hardy. There are species of vine honeysuckle that become weedy because of their vigor. Fortunately these are hardy in Minnesota.
Dropmore Honeysuckle (Lonicera x brownii 'Dropmore Scarlet Trumpet') blooms from early in the growing season into the fall. The abundant showy flowers are an attractive red-orange color. The foliage is a rich green. This vine climbs by twining and will grow 10-15 feet if support is provided. Zones 3 and 4.
Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans) climbs by aerial roots. Although not considered dependably hardy, it is sometimes seen in southern Minnesota. It grows best in a sunny location on fertile soils. The large trumpet-shaped flowers are yellowish orange to scarlet in color and appear in July. This vine needs a sturdy support. Dieback is common after a severe winter. Trial in the southern part of zone 4.
Virginia Creeper or Woodbine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a common native that climbs in trees. It has tendrils that end in disks. The foliage turns a bright red in the fall. The small berry clusters turn blue in the fall. Zones 3 and 4.
Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis and W. chinensis) is not normally considered hardy in Minnesota; however, it is occasionally grown here in protected locations. Some gardeners lay the vines down to protect them over winter, but some wisterias survive the winter without protection. This vine produces long clusters of violet-purple flowers. It is a vigorous twining vine that will grow 65 feet tall. Trial in the southern part of zone 4 on protected sites.
WOODBINE (see VIRGINIA CREEPER)
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