The unusual blossoms on passionflower vines grab attention.

Vines That Will Grow on Masonry Walls

by Victoria Weinblatt

Lush, green vines add natural beauty to stone and brick walls and pleasantly camouflage concrete-block walls. And you can exercise creativity by training the vine's shoots to grow in the pattern you desire. Clinging vines attach themselves to masonry walls in a couple different ways, depending on the vine. Some have tendrils with tiny adhesive disks that cling like Spider Man, while others send aerial rootlets into crevices of rough-textured surfaces. These attributes make clinging vines the best choice for masonry walls. Twining vines can also grow on masonry walls, but typically require a trellis.

1. Sites With Full Shade

Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris) and the Japanese hydrangea vine cultivar (Schizophragma hydrangeoides “Moonlight”) grow in full to partial shade and beget white flowers. Climbing hydrangea offers a stunning display of fragrant flowers you can place in fresh and dried flower arrangements, and its reddish-brown bark offers winter interest. This vigorous vine easily attaches to masonry walls and grows 30 to 40 feet tall in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 7. “Moonlight” climbs masonry walls, blooms for six to eight weeks and offers yellow foliage in autumn. This vine grows 20 to 30 feet tall in USDA zones 5 through 9.

2. Clay Soil, Black Walnut Trees and Drought

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata “Fenway Park”) tolerate clay soil, black walnut trees and drought. Virginia creeper is a terrific cover for masonry walls in USDA zones 3 through 9 and helps control soil erosion. Its foliage emerges purplish, matures to green and becomes purple to crimson-red in the fall. "Fenway Park" easily scales masonry walls, grows in USDA zones 4 through 8 and is invasive in some regions. It exhibits yellow leaves in sunny spaces or lime-green leaves in the shade, and then turns yellow, orange and red in the fall. Both vines for masonry walls grow 30 to 50 feet tall.

3. Noteworthy Flowers

Cross-vine (Bignonia capreolata “Tangerine Beauty”) and blue passionflower (Passiflora caerulea) produce eye-catching, fragrant flowers. “Tangerine Beauty” easily attaches to walls, displays tangerine-color trumpets that yield 7-inch long seed capsules and has reddish-purple foliage in autumn. This vine grows 20 to 30 feet tall in USDA zones 6 through 9. Expect strikingly unusual blue and white flowers followed by edible fruit on a vine 10 to 25 feet long when you plant blue passionflower in USDA zones 8 through 9. The best place for planting this twining vine is a patch of loose gravely or sandy soil, next to a south-facing brick wall with an overhang to protect it from heavy rain.

4. Short Walls, Small Gardens

Certain vines are just the right choice for short walls and small gardens. With a little encouragement, you can train clematis (Clematis tangutita “Golden Cross”) to grow on a masonry wall in USDA zones 4 through 9. It grows 5 to 6 feet tall and offers late-blooming flowers. Once winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) reaches the height of your wall, you can pick it up and drape its shoots over the top so it cascades down the other side. It prefers a south-facing wall with sandy-loam soil in USDA zones 6 through 10 and grows 10 to 15 feet tall. Both vines have yellow flowers.

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