Perennial vines are sold in 1-gal. or larger containers during the summer. In winter, you'll also find deciduous plants like grapes and roses available bare-root at nurseries and garden centers. Although planting and upkeep depend largely on the particular vine you choose, there are some general guidelines that apply to all types of vines. Planting. Position most vines at least 12 in. away from the support to allow enough growing room for developing stems. Vines planted in early summer also need thorough watering. Follow up with repeated soakings, especially during hot, dry spells. Remember, too, that if you plant against the house, the roof overhang could prevent rainwater from reaching vine roots. And if your roof is gutterless, don't plant directly under the drip line; water pouring off the roof during storms will injure plants. Training. Once planted, most nonclinging vines need some guidance to help them start growing up the support. Often, using a few loose ties or simply wrapping the branch of a twining vine around the support is sufficient. Certain plants, such as Carolina jessamine and common jasmine, require training and tying for a season or two. Pruning. Vines growing in confined spaces usually need pruning to keep them in bounds. Annual pruning also helps maximize flowering in many vines. When to prune depends on when the vine blooms. Vines such as early-flowering clematis and many climbing roses, which bloom in spring on growth made the previous season, should be pruned immediately after flowering. Prune them too late, and you'll remove flower buds. Many other vines flower on the current season's growth and generally bloom in midsummer and autumn. Prune these types of vines, including silver lace vine, trumpet vine and climbing hydrangea, in early spring. Certain climbers, notably wisteria and grape, blossom or fruit on old growth. Prune these types during the dormant season shortly before growth resumes in spring. The best time to prune nonflowering woody vines, including English ivy and Boston ivy, is late winter or early spring so that pruning cuts heal quickly and are covered by new growth. Vines are truly a versatile, blue-chip investment among plants. They're also living proof of just how beautiful practicality can be.
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