Vines are a good way to decorate or cover a chain-link fence. Annual vines are usually faster growing than perennial vines. Perennial vines have the benefit of providing longer term coverage. If you decide to plant woody vines, such as climbing hydrangea, trumpet creeper or wisteria, place a sturdy wooden or metal lattice in front of the fence to keep the vines from pulling the wire apart and destroying your fence.
Perennial Vines for Full Sun
A number of perennial vines like lots of sun. The trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) has trumpet-shaped coral, red or yellow flowers. It grows in sun or shade in USDA zones 6 through 8. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) has dark leaves that turn bright red in the fall. It is fast growing and hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8. Passionflowers (Passiflora incarnata) grow up to 30 feet long and have purple and white flowers. They are hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9. The trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) has an orange flower shaped like a trumpet. It grows up to 50-feet long in USDA zones 4 through 10 and can become invasive.
Annual Vines for Full Sun
For temporary coverage on a sunny fence, annual vines are the best choice. The cardinal climber (Ipomoea multifida) grows 10-feet long and has 2-inch long red flowers with a white centre. The cup-and-saucer vine (Cobaea scandens) has an unusual cup-shaped flower and grows about 15- to 25-feet long. The cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) grows 10-feet long and has white, pink or red flowers. It is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 10. Morning glories (Ipomoea purpurea) are a fast growing perennial that grow up to 10-feet long and have purple, blue, pink or white flowers.
Shade-loving Perennial Vines
For some reason, vines that like full shade tend to be perennial. Algerian ivy (Hedera canariensis) is an evergreen vine with large, thick leaves that grows up to 50-feet long. It will grow in partial shade if planted in moist, well-drained soil and is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 10. English ivy (Hedera helix) is a semi-evergreen that grows about 9-feet tall in zones 3 through 9. The Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) has leaves that go from bronze-green to dark green and then deep red. It grows up to 50-feet long and will tolerate any lighting conditions from full sun to full shade. It is hardy in zones 3 through 9.
A number of vines are capable of keeping their leaves all year-round. The five-leaf akebia (Akebia quinata), or chocolate vine, has leaves that start out purple and then turn blue-green. It grows up to 30 feet under almost any condition and is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8. The climbing fig (Ficus pumila) will grow up to 50-feet long in sun to partial shade in zones 8b through 10. The cross vine (Bignonia capreolata) has showy orange to reddish-orange flowers and should be planted in full sun in zones 6b through 9. The autumn flowering Jessamine (Gelsemium rankinii) and the Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) both produce yellow flowers and can grow up to 20-feet long in zones 7 through 10.
- Clemson Cooperative Extension; Vines; Karen Russ et. al; June 2009
- University of Florida IFAS Extension; Flowering Vines for Florida; Sydney Park Brown et. al;
- Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service; Annual and Perennial Vines; B. Rosie Lerner et. al
- University of Minnesota Extension Service; Vines: Growing a Living Screen; Jill MacKenzie
- North Carolina State University: Perennial Vines for North Carolina