Honeysuckle flowers are filled with sweet nectar.

Types of Weedy Vines

by Victoria Weinblatt

Types of weedy vines exhibit aggressive growth habits that can become a nuisance and some, but not all, are designated as invasive species in some regions. Despite attractive flowers and foliage, these fast-growing plants can quickly takeover areas of your yard and may kill surrounding plants. Other negative impacts of these typically exotic species include reducing biological diversity, harboring plant pathogens and increasing competition for local pollinators.

1. Control With Pruning

You can control some weedy vines with heavy pruning in late winter. Porcelain vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) is considered invasive in some areas and grows 15 to 20 feet tall and wide in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. Its inconspicuous summer flowers yield small, ornamental fruit in pale lilac-blue that attract birds. Silver lace vine (Fallopia baldschuanica) grows 15 to 25 feet tall and wide in full to partial shade and turns out fragrant, white blossoms from summer to frost in USDA zones 4 through 7. You can also try to tame this drought-tolerant vine by trimming off superfluous growth throughout the growing season.

2. Self-Seeding

The aggressive nature of certain weedy vines comes from self-seeding. Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) grows 15 to 30 feet tall and wide, is considered invasive in some regions and grows in USDA zones 5 through 9. It puts out creamy-white blossoms in late summer and you can reduce self-seeding with a hard pruning in fall as soon as the flowers mature. Trumpetcreeper (Campsis radicans) grows in USDA zones 4 through 9, extends 24 to 40 feet long by 5 to 10 feet wide and displays orange-red blossoms in early summer. This extremely aggressive southeastern U.S. native suffocates most plants that get in its way and touching the foliage gives some people a rash.

3. Suffocating Shrubs

If left unchecked, the aggressive growth habit of some weedy vines can suffocate surrounding shrubs. The fragrant, chocolate-purple, spring blossoms on chocolate vine (Akebia quinata) yield edible fruit. This plant grows 20 to 40 feet long by 6 to 9 feet wide in USDA zones 4 through 8. Japanese honeysuckle “Halliana” (Lonicera japonica “Halliana”) grows 15 to 30 feet tall by 3 to 6 feet wide in USDA zones 4 through 9. Its white and yellow flowers come out from summer into fall and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Both weedy vines are on the invasive plant list in some regions.

4. Nationally Noxious Weeds

Some weedy vines are considered noxious weeds on a national level, which means they are illegal to grow, transport or sell in the U.S. Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) is a rarely-flowering annual that grows 6 inches to 1 foot tall by 10 to 70 feet wide and performs best in temperatures at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Kudzu vine (Pueraria montana var. lobata) grows 30 to 100 feet tall by 10 to 20 feet wide, up to 1 foot per day, in USDA zones 5 through 10, with purple summer flowers. This voracious vine can kill trees and damage buildings and utility poles.

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