Vines For Plains Gardens – Growing Vines In West North Central Region
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
The Agricultural Heartland of the United States has very definite seasons with potentially extreme temperatures. That can make finding the right plants for the landscape a bit challenging. No need to fret though. There are plenty of beautiful vines in West North Central regions that provide vertical appeal and often flowers or even fruit.
Wild West North Central Vines
The High Plains region is a genuine breadbasket for the nation and has rich soil necessary for large scale agriculture. Homeowners can benefit from this soil by planting native vines for plains or at least those with similar cultivation needs. Wild vines in the Northern Rockies often make excellent additions to the garden and are already adapted to the cold winters and sizzling summers.
If you are a hiker, you are already aware of the local flora available in nature. You may have observed a vine such as wild grape, which bears clusters of edible fruit. The native vines in West North Central U.S. are hardy and very adaptable. You can tuck them along the house, train them over a trellis, or let them languish across a fence. It’s easy to find somewhere for a vine, but they also serve a purpose where covering up something undesirable is required. Transform an ugly outbuilding or fence with the green delight.
Some native vines to try include:
- Honeysuckle – There are native varieties of honeysuckle, but even more available from which to choose due to breeding programs. Vigorous, prolific bloomers with trumpet shaped flowers.
- Clematis – Both native and bred varieties of clematis exist. Plenty of flowers, some as big as your hand!
- American Bittersweet – American bittersweet is low maintenance with several seasons of interest and berries that attract birds
- Virginia Creeper – The fall foliage of Virginia creeper blazes with bright color and fruits decorate the vine well into winter.
- Trumpet Creeper – Strong, huge vine for full or partial sun locations. Trumpet creeper can be aggressive, so avoid planting against the house.
Suitable Perennial Vines for Plains
You don’t have to stick with native West North Central vines. Mix in some bred varieties with the same growing needs for interest and to add a touch of the exotic to the garden. There are many available at garden centers and big box stores or find a boutique nursery with some unique selections. Just make sure your option prefers the lighting, soil, and moisture levels your site can provide.
A few ideas to try are:
- Hops Vine – There is a native species of hops vine but also a golden variety with pretty yellow leaves, rapid growth, and ornamental cones.
- Perennial Sweet Pea – This will come back year after year. Classic sweet pea flowers in white to lavender.
- Honeyberry – If it has a pollination partner, the low growing vine of honeyberry will produce ample quantities of sweet fruit.
- Silver Lace Vine – A fast growing vine that needs a sturdy structure. Silver lace vine has fragrant, pretty flowers.
Annual Vines in the Northern Rockies
These annuals won’t make it through the cold winters in the region but grow quickly and can provide a diversion during the growing season. Annuals also give you more plants with different flower, foliage, and other options.
You may try:
- Black-Eyed Susan – An American and old-fashioned classic, the black-eyed Susan vine blooms in white, yellow, or orange sporting the characteristic warm brown centers.
- Canary Creeper – This has an exotic appearance. Canary creeper is fast growing with bird like flowers.
- Morning Glory – In some regions, morning glory can be a nuisance, but with careful management, it provides easy care coverage and lovely flowers.
- Sweet Pea – Another oldie but goodie, the flowers of sweet pea are brightly colored, and the vine grows quickly with little effort on the gardener’s part.
- Runner Beans – Several colors of runner beans are available like red, yellow, or white. Fast growing plant that will develop edible pods when harvested young.
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10 Foolproof Perennial Plants for the Northeast U.S.
The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova
Perennials are the heart of many ornamental gardens, adding color and texture. If you can make them happy, they will stick around for years and get larger and even more floriferous, so it is important to choose plants that are suited to your growing conditions. Those conditions will include soil, sun exposure, hardiness zone, and the amount of time you have to devote to their care. Beyond the temperature extremes of hardiness zones, some plants just do better in certain areas of the county. Delphiniums struggle through hot, dry summers. Guara can be capricious in frigid winters.
Here are 10 easy-to-care-for perennials that will grow just about anywhere in the Northeast.
Perennial Plants Are Not Immortal
Gardeners sometimes are disappointed when their perennial plants die after a few years, imagining that because they are labeled "perennial," this means they should live forever. But every plant species has an expected lifespan. Some perennial species are relatively short-lived, such as lupine, columbine, and coral bells, while others may live for many decades (peonies, hostas, and sedum). If your goal is a garden that never needs to be replanted, make sure to choose perennials with a reputation for a long lifespan.
Australian House and Garden
Star jasmine is the best choice for shady fences (Trachelospermum jasminoides). Other shade lovers are climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris), creeping fig and ivy. When planting a climber, consider how much sun or shade they will receive. Sun-loving climbers in shady spots will bolt to the top and leave the fence bare.
Bougainvillea is a sun loving plant that will provide a pretty pop of colour against a back fence or garden shed. Bougainvilleas come in all sizes, from dwarf to rampant, so be sure to check at the nursery. Roses such as 'Lamarque', 'New Dawn', climbing 'Gold Bunny', 'Crepuscule', and 'Pierre de Ronsard' are other great alternatives.
Photographer: Simon Griffiths
Boston ivy is a voluptuous climber that will spread freely to camouflage a shed, garage or tank. With or without a trellis, climber or creeper plants can cover bare courtyard fences or garden walls turning your backyard into a gorgeous green oasis. Banksia rose (Rosa banksiae) is evergreen and thornless and suitable in sub-tropical through to cold climates. For perfume, consider lemon-scented jasmine (Jasminum azoricum) or climbing bauhinia (Bauhinia corymbosa), both are perfect for warm areas. But beware, they are not frost tolerant.
Photographer: Simon Griffiths
Crimson glory vine are an excellent option for times when you need an extremely fast-growing creeper or climber to hide a wall or other eyesore in the garden. Other fast-growing alternatives include Bower of beauty vine (Pandorea jasminoides) has trumpet-shaped blooms, commonly available in pink flowers with a crimson throat.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Passionfruit vines are an ideal climber that do double duty as an edible plant in your garden. They do best in warm areas. For other alternatives, you could go retro with a choko vine. Seasonal vegies that work well to cover a wall include climbing spinach, peas and snow peas, beans and cucumbers.
Wisteria is a classic climber with flowers that hang down when draped across a patio roof or passageway. Being deciduous, wisteria provides summer shade and winter sun, as does crimson glory vine (Vitis coignetiae), which has dazzling autumn colour. To clothe an outdoor pavilion or pagoda, try chocolate-scented Akebia quinata, fragrant white bridal wreath (Stephanotis) or yellow Carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens).
Peonies (Peonia spp.)The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova
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The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova
The Peonia genus of plants includes 25 to 40 species of herbaceous plants and woody shrubs with compound leaves and very large flowers. Peonies love the chill of a northeastern winter, which provides the extended cold necessary to set the flower buds for the coming season. Unfortunately, the Northeast also has hot, humid summers which can cause gray mold, or botrytis, on the leaves. Be sure to place your plants where there is good air circulation, so the leaves do not remain wet for long periods. It is best to cut the plants back and dispose of them at the end of the season since spores can over-winter and reinfect the plants.
Peonies are very long-lived plants—they will live for many decades once they are well established. But they do not like to be moved, so be careful to position peonies carefully when planting. Deadheading is not necessary unless you want to do it for appearance, and the plants do not require division.
- USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
- Color Variation: White, pink, red, purple, bi-colors
- Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
- Soil Needs: Average, well-draining soil
Plant Selection Tip
Soils in the Northeast tend to be somewhat acidic, thanks to the prevalent rainfall in the region. You may have trouble growing plants that prefer a more alkaline soil pH, such as clematis, forsythia, barberry, or lilac—unless you amend the soil to adjust the pH toward the acid side of the scale. On the other hand, gardeners in the Northeast may find that conditions are ideal for acid-loving plants, such as azeleas, hydrangeas, and iris. Conditions can vary, though, so it is best to check your soil pH with a soil test, then choose plant species well suited to the pH of your garden soil.