Fast-growing vines are ideal for covering up unsightly fences or creating privacy. Fences covered with vines make excellent backdrops for flower beds, especially in small yards where there is not enough room to grow shrubs. Evergreen vines will provide year-round interest and privacy. Deciduous and annual vines will offer three seasons of interest, but will expose the fence during the winter months.
Hyacinth bean vine (Dolichos lablab), moonflower (Ipomoea alba), morning glory (Ipomoea), cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit), scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus) and canary creeper vine (Tropaeolum peregrinum) are fast-growing annual vines ideal for growing on a fence. An annual vine is one that grows, flowers or fruits, sets seed and dies in one growing season. Some annual vines, such as moonflower, morning glory and cypress vine will drop seed in the fall. This seed may germinate and grow the following spring. Hyacinth bean vine, moonflower, morning glory, cypress vine, scarlet runner bean and canary creeper vine grow best in full sun, although the canary creeper vine will tolerate part shade. Direct sow the seed of these annual vines along the edge of the fence line, in well-drained, moist soil after all danger of frost is past in the spring.
Hops (Humulus), honeysuckle (Lonicera), dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia), autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) and trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) are perennial vines that are ideal for growing on a fence. Hops produce green clusters that look like miniature pine cones. Honeysuckle produces highly fragrant, edible flowers in late spring and early summer. The flowers come in a wide array of colours from the old-fashion white and yellow, to pink and red. Dutchman's pipe is an unusual vine that produces quite unique flowers that look like pipes. Autumn clematis produces fragrant clusters of white flowers in the fall. The flowers are followed by feathery seed heads that sometimes persist into winter. This plant will take over an area quickly, if allowed. Grow all of these plants in well-drained soil in full sun.
Chocolate vine (Akebia), passion fruit (Passiflora) and grapes (Vitis) are fast-growing vines that produce edible fruit. Chocolate vine produces white or chocolate-coloured flowers in early spring. The flowers have a slight chocolate scent. It is best to grow two varieties of this plant to make sure it sets fruit. Passion fruit has showy, fragrant flowers that attract butterflies and bees into the garden. Once pollinated, the round or oval fruit begins to form. Clusters of white or purple grapes hanging along a fence row create quite a unique look in the garden. The large leaves are ideal for creating privacy. Once established, all of these vines are low maintenance. Grow them in full sun in well-drained soil amended with compost or other organic matter.
Ivy (Hedera), creeping fig (Ficus pumila) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) are ideal choices for areas where foliage is more important than fruit or flowers. Ivy is the ideal vine for growing on a fence if you want something that is evergreen. The foliage of ivy can vary dramatically from plant to plant, some are plain green and others are variegated. The exact variety of ivy grown will determine whether to plant it in sun or shade. Creeping fig grows best in full sun or part shade. It is evergreen and deer-resistant. Virginia creeper will grow in full sun, part shade or full shade. It produces blue or white flowers in late spring or early summer and berries in the fall. Once established, Virginia creeper is quite invasive.