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by Pernell Gerver

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"The Best Vining and Climbing House Plants"

Vining and climbing house plants make good use of vertical space indoors. There are many different types of vining and climbing house plants. Their long stems can be trained to grow up a trellis or allowed to hang down from the pot. There are many different vining and climbing house plants with a range of flower colors and bloom periods. Click on a plant name to order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

Winter-blooming jasmineWinter-blooming jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) is a climbing, vining house plant that bears large clusters of very-fragrant flowers. The flowers are pink in bud and open pure white. The fragrant flowers bloom from mid winter to mid spring and their scent really perfumes the air. The long, vining stems wind around their support and can be trained into a hoop, as shown in the photo, or allowed to climb up a tall trellis. The stems can reach five feet long or more.

Bougainvillea 'Raspberry Ice'Bougainvillea is a climbing house plant with colorful flowers. Long, thin stems form a shrubby, climbing house plant. The stems can be trained up a trellis or be allowed to trail from a hanging basket. 'Raspberry Ice' is a variety that bears large clusters of papery, fuchsia-pink "flowers" (actually bracts) at the tips of its stems. The flowers remain colorful for weeks and bloom almost all year long. In addition to its showy flowers, it has attractive variegated foliage.

Plumbago auriculata is another house plant that has long, thin stems that form a shrubby, climbing plant. The stems grow four feet tall or more and can be trained up a trellis. It bears large clusters of unique, pale, sky-blue flowers from spring to fall.


Blue Sky flower, Thunbergia grandiflora

Blue Sky Flower (Thunbergia grandiflora) is a vining indoor plant that has long, climbing and trailing stems that are ideal in a hanging basket or twined around a trellis. From fall, through winter, and into spring, it bears sky-blue, tubular flowers with a yellow throat. The flowers are up to three inches across and bloom in abundance, nearly covering the vine when in full bloom. It grows well in bright light and average to cool room temperature.

Purple Passion Vine (Gynura sarmentosa) is trailing or climbing house plant that is grown for its striking foliage. Its soft, hairy, velvety leaves are olive green covered with tiny bright-purple hairs that give the leaves a distinct purple hue. New leaves are the most colorful. The leaves are held on bright-red stems and trail a couple of feet. It looks especially nice in a hanging basket or trained to a small trellis.

Purple Passion Vine, Gynura sarmentosa

Passion Flower 'Crimson Tears'

Passion flowers are vining indoor plants that bear some of the most striking flowers of any house plant. The large, rounded flowers bloom in a range of eye-catching colors. Passion flower grows well in bright light and average to cool room temperature. One of the showiest passion flowers is the variety 'Crimson Tears.' This passion flower bears large, cranberry-purple petals that surround crimson, lavender, and white filaments. It blooms intermittently all year long, including winter. Its long, twining stems grow three feet or more and look especially nice trained to a trellis.

Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"It's Best to Leave Ice-Covered Branches Alone"

Q. After the last snow and ice storm we had, I noticed that many of my small shrubs in my garden were bent over. Some of them, especially my forsythia, were nearly completely flattened by the snow and ice. I tried to free up some of the branches of the forsythia, but they broke off in my hand. I also noticed my small summersweet shrub was bent nearly to the ground. What can I do to help these plants stand back up? Will it hurt them if they stay covered by the snow and ice? Thanks for your advice

A. During winter snow and ice can cause significant damage to all sorts of conifers, trees, and shrubs. The same storm that affected your garden also bent down a small tree in my garden. A grafted willow tree I have had bent over under the weight of the ice and then its branches got pinned down at ground level.

Ice-covered rhododendron

Ice-covered rhododendron

Snow-covered evergreen shrub

Snow-covered evergreen

As you found out, when ice has covered or trapped a plant if you go to help the plant you may end up breaking it. The ice covering the branches can easily make the branches snap off. If you see a tree or shrub that has bent down because of ice on its branches, leave it alone. It is best to let the ice go away on its own and the plant usually recovers and springs back up when the ice is gone. Plants can be quite resilient.

Now if there is only snow that is weighing down the plant, you may be able to help the plant out by taking excess snow off its branches, and there is a right way to do it.

Conifers such as spruce easily catch and hold snow, bending under the weight and in that situation there is something you can do as long as ice is not involved.

The best way to remove excess snow is with a broom. Using an underhand, upward motion, tap the underside of each branch. Don't tap the branch from above. By tapping the underside of the branch, you cause the snow to flick off the top of the branch. Once the snow is off of the branch it will spring back up on its own.

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