Vines and Groundcovers

vines.jpgVines are typically used to grow up and along fences, walls and the sides of buildings. There are two types of vines: twining and clinging. The twining vines need something to twine around such as a trellis or a chain link fence. Clinging vines generally have suction cups that suction themselves to a wall or a fence.

Here are some of the vines and groundcovers that will grow in at least zones 3 – 5. I have included the minimum zone that these will grow in parentheses.


  • Dutchman’s Pipe—Vigorous, twining vine. Large, heart-shaped green leaves. Grows flat against a trellis. Offers dense shade. The flowers are brown and small and are usually hidden by the leaves, and resemble a Meerschaum pipe. It grows in sun or shade, and grows to about 30’ long. (Zone 4)

  • Honeysuckle, Dropmore Scarlet—Tall growing, twining vine. Bright orange=scarlet tubular flowers from June to September. Grows in full sun. Fast growing to 10 – 20’ long, 10’ wide. (Zone 3)

  • Honeysuckle, Goldflame—Woody, twining vine valued for fragrant, rosy-red and yellow flowers from June until Frost. Fast growing to 10 – 20’ long. Needs full sun. (Zone 5)

  • Honeysuckle, Hall’s—An extremely vigorous twining vine. The extremely fragrant white flowers fade to yellow. Needs full sun. Fast growing to 15 – 20’ long. (Zone 5)

  • Honeysuckle, Mandarin—Twining vine with orange-red flowers that attract hummingbirds. Masses of flowers bloom from May through July. Needs full sun. Fast growing to 15 – 20’ long. (Zone 3)

  • Hops, Nugget Ornamental—A vigorous climbing vine that will quickly wraps itself around any upright structure in a season. Produces papery cone-like hops later in the summer, typically used to produce beer. Will die back to the ground each winter, but grows back quickly each season. Grows 15 – 20’ tall. (Zone 3)

  • Ivy, BostonDense, self-clinging vine. Attractive green foliage and exceptional orange-red fall color. Blue-black berries. Excellent for covering masonry, fences. Full to partial sun. Fast grower to 30 – 45’ long. (Zone 4)

  • Ivy, Engelmann—Vigorous, climbing vine. Fall color is a deep, burgundy-red. Small blue fruits are attractive to birds. Rapid growing to 20 – 30’. (Zone 3)

  • Rose, Henry Kelsey—Beautiful climbing rose with medium red, double flowers with a yellow center. Rich, spicy fragrance. Small orange hips in the fall. Dark glossy green foliage tinted with burgundy. Needs full sun. Grows 6 – 7’ tall. (Zone 3)

  • Rose, John Davis—Climbing rose with medium pink, double flowers. Spicy fragrance. Needs full sun. Grows 6 – 8’ tall. (Zone 3)

  • Rose, William Baffin—Climbing rose with strawberry pink blooms all summer. Small red-orange rose hips in the fall. Needs full sun. Grows 8 – 10’ tall. (Zone 3)

  • Trumpetvine—Shrubby, coarse foliage on a vigorous, twining vine. Will climb in stone or woodwork. Showy, orange and scarlet flowers blossom in mid-summer. Grows to 20 – 30’ long. (Zone 5)

  • Virginia Creeper/Woodbine—Rapid growing, twining vine. Deep burgundy-red fall foliage. Small blue fruits attractive to birds. Full sun or shade. Fast growing to 30’ long. (Zone 3)


  • Juniper, Blue Rug—Low growing, evergreen groundcover. Forms a dense mat of blue foliage. Good as a groundcover or along banks. Attractive when used to drape over a retaining wall. Full sun to light shade. Grows 4 – 6” high, 3 – 5’ wide. (Zone 3)

  • Juniper, Calgary Carpet—Low growing, evergreen groundcover. Soft green foliage. Use along walkways or as a groundcover. Needs full sun. Grows 6 – 9” tall, 10’ wide. (Zone 3)

  • Juniper, Japanese GardenEvergreen groundcover. Beautiful bluish-green foliage. Nice accent in a rock garden. Needs full sun. Grows 6 – 10” tall, 3 – 5’ wide. (Zone 4)

  • Kinnickinnick—Excellent evergreen groundcover with waxy green foliage and scarlet red fruit. Thrives in sandy soil and hot sun. Pinkish-white flowers in spring. Fruits in August and September. Full to partial sun. Spreads 10 – 15’ wide. (Zone 2)

  • Mahonia, Creeping—Low growing, evergreen groundcover. Dull blue-green leaves in summer turn a bronzy purple for the winter months. Blooms in early spring with yellow flowers. Blue-black berries in August and September. Full sun to part shade. Grows 12 -15” tall, 3 – 4’ wide. (Zone 5)

  • Wintercreeper, Purpleleaf—Outstanding evergreen groundcover. Deep green foliage turns a beautiful, rich plum color during the cool season. Will climb nearby structures or walls. Full to partial sun. Moderate grower to 6 – 8’ wide. (Zone 4)

Now that you have some ideas for some great vines and groundcovers, which ones will you use in your yard? What other vines and groundcovers will you use? How will you use them? Leave me a comment about your vines and groundcovers.

Photo by Kevin Rosseel

Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to the Garden

butterfly.JPGMost people welcome butterflies and hummingbirds into their gardens. If you choose the right plants, you can even encourage them to stay for awhile. Butterflies will find a sunny area such as a meadow that is sheltered from the wind to be the most welcoming. They will especially love such amenities as leaf litter, rock crevices, damp places, brush piles and even weeds.

When you choose plants for your garden, keep in mind that not every plant will attracthummingbird.jpg butterflies in every region. You should also be very careful to not use pesticides unless you are able to target the specific pest without harming the butterflies.

Hummingbirds ingest half of their food every day. Flowering plants provide nectar; spiders and insects supply protein. Hummingbirds will visit a wide variety of plants. The following plants and flowers are some of their favorites.


Botanical Name (Common Name)

  • Achilla(Yarrow)
  • Alcea–(Hollyhock)
  • Allium–(Chives)
  • Anaphalis–(Pearly Everlasting)
  • Antirrhinum–(Snapdragon)
  • Aquilegia–(Columbine)
  • Arabis–(Rock Cress)
  • Armeria–(Thrift)
  • Asclepias–(Butterfly Weed)
  • Aster–(Aster)
  • Astilbe–(False Spirea)
  • Borago–(Borage)
  • Calamintha(Calamint)
  • Catananche(Cupid’s Dart)
  • Centaurea–(Cornflower)
  • Centranthus ruber(Jupiter’s Beard)
  • Crysanthemum–(Shasta Daisy)
  • Coreopsis–(Coreopsis)
  • Cosmos–(Cosmos)
  • Delphinium–(Delphinium)
  • Dianthus–(Pink)
  • Digitalis–(Foxglove)
  • Echinacea–(Purple Coneflower)
  • Echinops–(Globe Thistle)
  • Erigeron–(Fleabane)
  • Eupatorium–(Joe-Pye Weed)
  • Fuchsia–(Fuchsia)
  • Gaillardia–(Blanket Flower)
  • Heliotropium–(Heliotrope)
  • Heuchera–(Coral Bells)
  • Iberis(Candytuft)
  • Iris–(Siberian Iris)
  • Knifophia–(Red Hot Poker)
  • Lantana–(Lantana)
  • Lavendula–(Lavender)
  • Liatris–(Gayfeather)
  • Lobelia–(Cardinal Flower)
  • Lobularia(Sweet Alyssum)
  • Lupinus–(Lupine)
  • Mimulas–(Monkey Flower)
  • Monarda–(Bee Balm)
  • Nasturtium–(Nasturtium)
  • Nepata–(Catmint)
  • Origanum–(Oregano)
  • Penstemon–(Beard Tongue)
  • Petunia–(Petunia)
  • Phlox–(Phlox)
  • Physostegia–(Obedient Plant)
  • Rudbeckia–(Gloriosa Daisy)
  • Salvia–(Sage)
  • Scabiosa–(Pincushion Flower)
  • Sedum–(Stonecrop)
  • Tagetes–(Marigold)
  • Veronica–(Speedwell)


Botanical Name (Common Name)

  • Campsis–(Trumpet Vine)
  • Clematis–(Clematis)
  • Lonicera–(Honeysuckle)


Botanical Name (Common Name)

  • Aesculus–(Horsechestnut)
  • Malus–(Apple)
  • Salix–(Willow)


Botanical Name (Common Name)

  • Buddleia–(Butterfly Bush)
  • Caryopteris–(Bluebeard)
  • Chaenomeles–(Flowering Quince)
  • Cornus–(Dogwood)
  • Lonicera–(Honeysuckle)
  • Mahonia–(Mahonia)
  • Philadelphus–(Mockorange)
  • Pontentilla–(Cinquefoil)
  • Ribes–(Currant, Gooseberry)
  • Sambucus–(Elderberry)
  • Spiraea–(Spirea)
  • Syringa–(Lilac)
  • Vaccinium–(Blueberry, Lingonberry)

Now you have an idea of some of the favorite plants for butterflies and hummingbirds. Which of these do you already have planted in your yard or garden? Which ones are you planning to add to your garden or yard?

Photos by Prisonbreak and Bert Glibbery