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For The Garden

Colorful climbers for the desert garden

Author: Nancy Erdmann
Issue: April, 2012, Page 102
ARABIAN JASMINE
(Jasminum sambac)


ARABIAN JASMINE
(Jasminum sambac)


Type: Deciduous vine and perennial bloomer

Blooms: Summer; white

Height: 6-10 feet

Soil: Well-draining, amended soil

Light: Full sun to light shade

Water needs: Keep soil moist through the growing season, but do not over-water.

Maintenance: Fertilize once a month, from spring through fall. Cover this frost-tender plant when temperatures dip. Cut back any frost-damaged stems in spring.

Attracts: Butterflies and hummingbirds

Note: This jasmine is used for making tea, perfume and Hawaiian leis.

Why we like it: Its highly fragrant flowers and ability to handle the heat make this a must-have in the garden.


Photo by Steve Priebe

QUEEN’S WREATH
(Antigonon leptopus)
QUEEN’S WREATH
(Antigonon leptopus)


Type: Evergreen or deciduous vine and perennial bloomer

Blooms: Spring to fall; white to pink to red

Height: 20-40 feet

Soil: Tolerant of most types

Light: Full sun

Water needs: Allow to dry slightly between waterings.

Maintenance: Train as needed; cut down to the ground in winter to rejuvenate in spring.

Attracts: Birds, bees and butterflies

Note: Each year it matures, queen’s wreath will produce longer and more abundant stems and flowers.

Why we like it: This fast-growing, twining climber is valued for its long sprays of delicate flowers and its large heart-shaped leaves. Use it to adorn a trellis, cover a fence or climb nearby tree trunks.


Photo by Kirti Mathura

YELLOW ORCHID VINE
(Mascagnia macroptera)
YELLOW ORCHID VINE
(Mascagnia macroptera)


Type: Deciduous vine and perennial bloomer

Blooms: Late spring to summer; bright yellow

Height: 10-15 feet

Soil: Any type

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water needs: Twice a month once established; additional watering in summer

Maintenance: Prune when needed.

Attracts: Birds, bees and butterflies

Note: This plant—also known as butterfly vine—starts out slowly but grows well once established. May freeze back but recovers in spring.

Why we like it: Its pingpong paddle-shaped petals are followed by large paperlike pods that are said to resemble butterflies. It can be trained up a trellis or allowed to grow as a ground cover.


SNAIL VINE
(Vigna caracalla)
SNAIL VINE
(Vigna caracalla)


Type: Deciduous vine and perennial bloomer

Blooms: Spring to fall; pale purple

Height: 10-20 feet

Soil: Well-draining, amended soil

Light: Full sun

Water needs: Allow topsoil to dry out before watering; avoid over-watering.

Maintenance: Cut to the ground if hit by frost. Prune in early spring.

Attracts: Birds, bees and butterflies

Note: Snail vine often dies back in winter but comes back in spring.

Why we like it: A fast-growing plant, it produces fragrant snail-shaped flowers followed by beanlike seed pods. It handles reflected heat and does well against brick walls.


Other favorites
Arizona canyon grape, Arizona grape ivy, cape honeysuckle, Drummond’s clematis, Lady Banks’ rose, lilac vine (Hardenbergia violacea), passion flower, pink trumpet vine, trailing star jasmine, yellow morning glory
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