Creeping and climbing vines have a number of handy uses in landscape design, including covering a bare wall, serving as ground cover, providing additional shade when draped over a pergola or obscuring an unattractive structure. Because they grow so quickly, vines are ideal for fast and noticeable changes to landscape aesthetic. And since they take up little to no ground space (unless used as ground cover), they’re perfect for adding vegetation to small outdoor spaces or tiny yards. Here are some versatile options ideal for the climate of Cortlandt, Westchester County and surrounding areas falling under the plant hardiness zone 6b.
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
The Virginia creeper is particularly noted for its fiery fall coloring when the five-pointed leaves transform from an unassuming, mid-range green to blazing orange and crimson. A fast growing vine, the Virginia creeper is ideal for covering relatively smooth surfaces such as exterior walls or boulders. It manages this with the adhesive pads at the end of it’s forked climbing tendrils and can reach a height of 60 feet under optimal conditions.
American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)
With it’s thick, woody stems, the American wisteria climbing vine can grow up to 50 feet long and bears long bunches of bluish-purple, trumpet shaped flowers in summer. The long, fuzzy pods of seeds borne by the wisteria are also an attractive feature, though these are toxic but non-lethal. Several species of indigenous butterfly are attracted by the wisteria, making it an excellent choice for homeowners looking to attract benevolent insect-life to their yards.
Baltic Ivy (Hedera helix baltica)
A variant of the lighter green English ivy, Baltic ivy is a dark green, densely growing vine that can be used to cover fences, walls or structures, and can also be used as a low growing ground cover. Baltic ivy adheres particularly well to roughly texture surfaces such as brick or stone. Evergreen, extremely resilient to cold, and thriving in shaded areas, Baltic ivy is perfect for maintaining greenery in your yard year round, or adding greenery to patches of ground where grass struggles to grow.
Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
So called because of the bright red and orange flowers, the trumpet creeper is an eye catching plant that is as tough as it is showy. Thick woody stems ensure extreme resilience to temperatures and aggressive pruning and may in fact require it in order to keep this vigorous grower under control. Although it can strangle other plants, the trumpet creeper is ideal for quickly covering large spaces, bringing color and substance to otherwise bare landscapes.
Chocolate Vine (Akebia quinata)
Originally from East Asia, this vine-like shrub has found a welcoming habitat in the eastern United States. The small, off pink flowers and unusual purple, pod-shaped fruit are a unique touch to a landscape, but perhaps the most attractive attribute of this exotic-looking plant is its scent. From May through to June, the chocolate vine blooms, emitting a strong fragrance somewhere between chocolate and vanilla. The fruit is sweet and edible, though it consists mainly of seeds and a thick skin. The chocolate vine serves as both a functional vine and novelty plant that is sure to draw attention and start conversation.