Container Gardening For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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Growing vines on trellises and other supports is a good way to add height to container plantings. A vine-covered arbor makes a lovely garden entryway, and vines growing on lattice can shield a porch from hot summer sun — and from your neighbors. Many perennial vines get too big too quickly to make them practical for containers; Here are few that are more manageable.

  • Bougainvillea: The papery flowers have a tropical vividness in shades of red, orange, purple, white, and other colors. Look for dwarf varieties (La Jolla is a good one) for containers — they spill nicely over the sides. Trailing types (Crimson Jewel) are best for hanging baskets. Tall varieties can be tied up as a vine.

    Provide full sun except in the hottest climates. Keep the soil on the dry side; drainage must be perfect. When planting, take pains not to disturb the roots at all. In spring, prune off any cold-damaged wood or crossing branches. During the growing season, prune off branches growing where you don’t want them to go. Bougainvillea is hardy in zones 9 to 11 (some varieties are hardier than others).

  • Clematis: Fortunately, the most spectacular clematis are also the best suited to containers. These are the deciduous hybrids with the beautiful, huge, six-petaled flowers in blue, purple, red, and many other shades. The vines can climb as high as 20 feet. Use one in a container with a trellis or train the vine up and over an entryway. Choose from many varieties at your local nursery or in mail-order catalogs.

    Provide full sun or part shade. Conventional wisdom says to put the plant in a place where the container is in shade and the uppermost growth is in the sun if you can find such a location: The idea is to keep the roots cool and the flower buds exposed to light. Most are hardy in zones 4 to 9. You may need to move clematis into a protected spot for the winter.

  • English ivy (Hedera helix): English ivy is easy to train and, in a container, easy to bring indoors. Let English ivy drape from a hanging basket filled with shade-loving annual flowers. Train it into topiary shapes. Use it in a container where it can climb up a trellis or wall, like in an entry or on a patio.

    Provide part or full shade, or even full sun in cool climates. Keep the soil moist. Pinch young plants to encourage bushy growth. English ivy is hardy in zones 5 or 6 to 9. Bring plants indoors during the winter in cold regions.

  • Mandevilla: You can find this tropical vine sold almost everywhere during the warm months. Buy it in bloom, move it into a 12-inch-wide container or hanging basket, and enjoy it for the summer. Provide full sun or part shade. Keep the soil moist. Feed at least monthly. Mandevilla is hardy in zones 10 and 11. Frost kills the plant. Try bringing it indoors and growing it in a sunny window for the winter.

  • Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) With its glossy evergreen foliage and wonderfully sweet white flowers in summer, star jasmine deserves a spot in any garden where it can grow. In a container, train star jasmine up a trellis wherever you can appreciate its fragrance. Provide full sun or part shade in hot climates. The soil should be kept moist for best growth, although plants can withstand dry conditions. This plant is easy to grow, and is hardy in zones 8 to 10. Star jasmine can be moved indoors for the winter in colder climates.

  • Wisteria: Chinese wisteria (W. sinensis) and Japanese wisteria (W. floribunda) are probably the ones that come to mind with their thick. Both grow into enormous plants and are classified as invasive in many regions. Instead, consider the more manageable and well-behaved native species, American wisteria (W. frutescens). Train it on a trellis or frame. The plant produces the familiar clusters of purple-blue or white blossoms. Provide full sun and a strong support. Wisteria is hardy in zones 6 to 9.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Bill Marken is the author of the first edition of Container Gardening For Dummies and coauthor of the second edition.

Suzanne DeJohn is an editor with the National Gardening Association.
The National Gardening Association is the leading garden-based educational nonprofit organization in the United States, providing resources at and The National Gardening Association offers plant-based education in schools, communities, and backyards across the United States, through the award-winning websites and

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