“Vines in the West” may bring Napa Valley vineyards to mind. However, there are hundreds of ornamental vines for western regions that you can consider for your garden or backyard. If you live in California or Nevada and want to plant West Coast vine varieties, read on. We’ll give you tips on picking western vines that will be perfect for your garden.
About Vines in the West
Vines provide a vertical element in a backyard and also can cover up an ugly wall or unsightly building. The habitat value cannot be ignored either. Vines in the West provide food (in the form of pollen and berries) and shelter to birds, bees, and small mammals.
West Coast Vine Varieties
Like every other plant, vines must be selected with your hardiness zone and climate in mind. If you live in California, for example, you’ll need to find California vines that will thrive where you live and accomplish the purpose you have in mind.
The best West Coast vine varieties are vines that grow fast, require little maintenance, and accomplish your goals in the site you have in mind. Figure out what you want a vine to do for your garden and the type of sun exposure the site gets before you start shopping for vines for western regions. Then, look for native vines when possible.
When you live in Nevada, it’s wise to select native Nevada vines. Native plants usually are healthier and require less maintenance than non-native plants.
One of the best western vines for part-shade garden sites is climbing snapdragon (Maurandella antirrhiniflora). It grows quite rapidly and fills with delicate purple blossoms.
Fringed twinevine (Funastrum cynanchoides) is another vine that prefers a part sun/part shade location. Its long, twining stems clamber up a support or over bushes. It has white, star-shaped flowers.
If you prefer fruiting vines, the canyon grape (Vitis arizonica) is a good choice. You can harvest the grapes and make jam or jelly.
Any short list of the most popular ornamental vines in the West will include western white clematis (Clematis ligusticifolia), a woody native vine that climbs to 20 feet (6 m.). It produces so many creamy flowers that they make the entire vine look white.
The California pipevine (Aristolochia californica) is one variety of the sole host plant of the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. It produces unusual flowers and is drought-tolerant in shade.
Another option to try is chaparral honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula) with its fragrant, pink blossoms that attract hummingbirds. The flowers are followed by red berries that wild birds consume.