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Ornamental climbing vines for partial shade

 
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I have a treillis-backed garden planter that serves as a privacy fence between the driveway and the yard. (it hides our garbage cans )

I generally plant kale and shade tolerant greens in the planter itself. In previous years, I've grown peas on the treillis, but rarely get good yield (it doesn't get enough sun) and by midsummer, the peas are wilted.

What would you suggest that I could sow easily (either starting indoors or directly outdoors), that would quickly cover up the treillis, and provide a nice ornamental background to my pots until early fall.

Bonus points if it's good for pollinators, or if it provides edible flowers (but neither are a must). I'm a decent vegetable gardener, but I'm clueless about ornamentals

(My vision is to use every bit of the yard for growing edibles while preserving a nice "curb-appeal" - and possibly inspire neighbors to also garden in their front yards)
 
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Location: South Carolina
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Look up akebia quinata. It’s a pretty evergreen vine. It can get very big, but should be restrained in a pot. I have it growing over a bench swing that hangs on an old kids swing frame and have recently started it from rooted runners in two other places for privacy. The original vine is probably 15 years old. It has not been invasive for me. I do nothing special to it, but cut it back hard every 5 years or so. It flowers early in Spring. They smell wonderful. The clusters have both male & female flowers, they are small but attractive. Our honeybees like it. It can fruit under some conditions, but in all the years I have had it only once did it surprised me with two fruit pods several years ago.
 
pollinator
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Schissandra chinensis.  Not only is it beautiful, but edible and medicinal to boot.  Will grow on a north facing wall. Check it out as a possibility for your need on the PFAF website.  Akebia has gorgeous little purple flowers and smells lovely.  It's also called the chocolate vine as I believe you can scrape the pulp of the inner bark and it supposedly taste like chocolate.  I have one in my garden and I love it, but it is still young and I've never tried the "chocolatness" of it. It will need a bit of sun though or dappled shade and as Jb mentioned, it can be a wee bit invasive.

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Schisandra+chinensis

You can search for shade loving climbers on PFAf as well.  Good luck.  Let us know what you decide.
 
Jb Hudson
Posts: 6
Location: South Carolina
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One quick note. My akebia grows in the shade of an enormous oak tree & a large dogwood near a ring of 40+ year old untrimmed camellias. With that shade level maybe that’s why it’s not invasive. Have fun finding the right plant for you, it’s fun seeing what other people suggest.
 
Olga Booker
pollinator
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Hi Jb,

It's good to know that it can grow in such shade, I was not aware that it could.  That's brilliant, thanks for telling us.
 
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Hopniss (or groundnut, aka apios americana) might be a good permaculture choice, but it likes plenty of water.  It's perennial and it's natural niche is partial shade.  It can grow from Main to Louisiana.  I'm not sure what your area is, but if you can spare the water and aren't living in interior Alaska or Northern Canada it seems like a good choice.  Produces flowers, a bean and potato-like tubers.  The tubers are not big enough in a single season, but after 2 or 3 years are supposed to make a good tuber.  you can order them at https://oikostreecrops.com/products/perennial-vegetable-plants/groundnuts-apios-tubers/

Another alternative is chinese mountain yam, found at https://oikostreecrops.com/products/perennial-vegetable-plants/edible-roots-bulbs-tubers/chinese-mountain-yam/.  They are often grown as an ornamental in the US.  There seem to be two drawbacks I see for them.  Some types of 'air potato' are highly invasive in some areas.  I don't know if this variety is one of them.  If so, the the 'air potato' tubrels could self seed and cause problems.  the other problem is that the tasty tuber grows straight down, requiring more work to harvest.
 
Kena Landry
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Yes, I probably should have mentioned I'm in zone 5b (but probably more 6a, due to urban microclimate)
 
Mick Fisch
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you could grow a grapevine.  Grapes like sunshine to fruit, but they can grow in the shade but may not fruit (or fruit may not ripen).  If you want to not mess with the fruit, you could  plant a fruitless vine (some grape species have male and female vines, plant a male vine, you get no fruit.  Another option is to plant the grape vine but take leg of the vine out into the sunshine so you get fruit.
 
gardener
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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Hops grow well for me and I use them for a green tunnel from garden to garden.
 
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Depending on your growing zone you could use Maypop (Passiflora incarnata) or another passion fruit vine if you're farther south. They have edible fruit the size of a large egg, and have a show-stopper of a flower. They die back in winter here in zone 7, but come back in the spring.

Passiflora Caerulea is very comparable, but I hear the fruit is unpleasant to eat.

Both can get a bit out of hand by the end of the season.

This spring I plan on starting their diminutive cousin Passiflora Lutea. Fruit is more grape sized and the flower much less showy, but the growth isn't as accelerated. They can grow in shade and are hardy to zone 5.

All three are great for pollinators.
 
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