A Dislike For Vines – Why I Don’t Grow Vines In My Garden

By Mary Ellen Ellis | July 29, 2020
by Mary Ellen Ellis
July 29, 2020

I have never been a fan of vines. I think they can look lovely in other people’s gardens. I drive by a home regularly with a gorgeous old wisteria, but I have never been able to grow a vine that I liked. They tend to look messy and require too much upkeep. The main issue I have, though, is with a pervasive, invasive vine in my beds.

My Problem with Vines

Vines can be beautiful, practical too. They can provide shade and privacy. I have a friend with hops vines growing up and over a trellis to shade his back patio. It looks great and smells like beer too.

My issue is most likely that I lack the aptitude to grow vines well. I once tried a morning glory and it just looked messy. I also lived in a home at one time with English ivy crawling up the brick walls and removing it to avoid structural damage was a real hassle.

To grow vines and make them look nice and do what you want them to do takes time and effort. With some practice and training, I’m sure I could do it better, but I prefer to admire lovely vines in other gardens instead.

Bindweed – the Dreaded Invasive Vine

I may also have a special dislike for vines because they can be difficult invasive plants to control. There are many different types of problematic invasive species, but the vines are truly insidious.

Every year I do battle with field bindweed, an invasive species in Michigan that I can never seem to eradicate. No matter how early I start pulling it out, the vine takes over. It especially likes to wrap itself around my daylily leaves and stalks.

The vine is actually attractive, with delicate, white-to-pink, trumpet-shaped flowers. but don’t let its beauty fool you. It is impossible to control and only grows where I don’t want it. Grr! My daylilies are not native, so it isn’t as if the bindweed is choking out a native species. But if I leave it alone, it will choke eventually out and overrun everything in that bed.

I know from some online research that control of bindweed requires attacks on multiple fronts and more than one year. Even digging up the roots doesn’t help, as just the tiniest fragment left behind can grow into a new plant. So I have simply added pulling out bindweed to my list of garden chores, but it has tainted my view of vines.

Maybe one day I will embrace a pretty wisteria or a covering of hops, but for now I prefer not to introduce any more vines to my garden.

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