While some fences are more decorative than others, many are eyesores and ruin the view of a beautiful garden or well-maintained yard. Fences can be painted, but the best camouflage for most fences is a cover layer of vines or other trellising plants. Some of these plants even produce food, giving you a dual-purpose fence cover.
Varieties of climbing, trailing roses make a good choice for fences bordering yards with no pets or children, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. Sharp thorns could scratch dogs or children playing around the fence. Also known as Rosa setigera, climbing roses tolerate sun or shade. Roses are an annual plant. They will require replanting each year, but will grow quickly to cover the fence. Some types, such asthe "New Dawn" variety, bloom early in the late spring while others won't produce blossoms until summer.
Carolina Jessamine, also found under the scientific name of Gelsemium sempervirens, is an evergreen vine that will keep most of its foliage through the winter. Evergreen plants are a good idea for covering a fence, according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, because they won't die off and leave it uncovered for nearly half the year. This plant produces large yellow flowers in the early spring if exposed to enough sunlight, but will produce plenty of foliage without blossoms if kept in the shade.
For maximum growth and coverage from an annual plant, choose the hyacinth bean. Lablab purpureus is a twining vine that can reach between 10 and 30 feet in one season, according to Iowa State University Extension. Large, 6-inch-long leaves will cover any type of fence. It blossoms from late summer to fall, producing purple or white flowers. To reach its maximum growth potential and produce plenty of blossoms, this vine requires full sunlight. The plant is named after the burgundy seed pods it produces in the fall, which are edible.
Most vegetable- and fruit-producing vines can be trained to grow on fences, but they must be sturdy and strong enough to support the weight of the developing fruits. Cantaloupe vines, also known as Cucumis melo, will produce relatively heavy fruits, so a well-maintained wood or metal fence is required. This plant requires partial sun, according to North Carolina State University, and must be spaced between 20 and 24 inches apart. Gaps in the plants should grow together to create a continuous fence cover.
Moonflower, or Ipomoea alba, is a night-blooming member of the morning glory vine family, according to Paige Lauren Deiner's May 2007 article in the "The Monitor." Large, white trumpet flowers are open only when the sun is down, making this perfect for covering a fence near a patio or porch where you spend time outdoors after dusk. It is an annual, requiring replanting each spring, and the vines are covered in small thorns. Like morning glories, they require partial to full sun, but they will grow up to 40 feet in one year.
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