Perennial Vines:

Returning year after year, many perennial vines are the gardener's favourite.

There are not many yards that couldn't do without some perennial vines. Returning year after year, many perennial vines are the gardener's favourite. Climbing walls, arbours and obelisks, perennial vines are nostalgic and beautiful. Clematis for instance, have many blooms in many colours. Virginia creeper has beautiful fall colours. Hops is used in making beer and grapes for wine. There are so many great reasons to try perennial vines in your garden.

How to Grow Clematis

Growing Clematis Perennial Vines

Many gardeners look into their yards and yearn for vertical interest. Clematis is the answer and it's a vigorous climbing vine that can do well in Calgary. Clematis not only climbs but blooms in colourful bursts and hues that can compliment any garden, big or small. With the differing bloom times, in many varieties, it's easy to have climbing blooms spring to fall, planted in groups, bunches or singles.

You will discover that Clematis can grow in varying locations within your garden: even north sides. This adds greatly to their versatility. As a flowering plant, just remember they prefer four hours of direct sun each day. In Calgary, we are zone 4a, but you will find that with mulching and the right location, even zone 4b Clematis can thrive here. In our hot dry conditions, location is key. Hardy zone two plants will also need a little consideration, as they like to have cool roots. So, in places like south or west walls, it's a good idea to shade or mulch around the roots to ensure a healthy roots system.

Now that much of our spring planting has been accomplished, this is a good time to consider adding more Clematis to your garden. They can be planted at any time, but late spring and summer planting requires that you periodically pinch out some of the growing tips to ensure root growth. Fall is the ideal time to plant clematis, but because of their popularity, your choices often become limited later in the season. You may have to wait all winter for their availability in the spring.

When it comes to fully pruning your Clematis, wait for the first spring after it's been transplanted. Swelling buds are the sign to prune; you accomplish this by cutting back to two sets of strong buds on each stem. You will need to know the category of your clematis to know what and where to prune after this initial prune.

Group A
Flowers on growth produced the previous year. Pruning weak or dead stems as soon as they are finished blooming in May or June. Pruning later than June could result in fewer blooms the following spring.

Group B
Similar to group A with little pruning needed. In late February or March, pruning variations in the length of the stems to produce a well-balanced plant. Remove any weak or dead wood as well. A severe pruning will reduce the number of blooms at the plants next flowering.

Group C
Considered the easiest, these Clematis bloom on the currents year's growth. Prune in February or March to two strong buds on each stem. C varieties will get leggy with all their blooms at the top if they are not pruned in early spring.

Perennial Vine grow chart:

Listed below are some popular perennial vines. Greengate carries many varieties of vines through the spring and summer months.







American Bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

7/3 ft.
2/1 m


If flower pollination occurs red seed pods are produced

sun to part shade

Clematis varieties

10/3 ft.
3/1 m


Many varieties of brightly coloured flowers; prune according to pruning group

sun to part shade

Engleman Ivy
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
" Englemanii"

20/3 ft.
6/1 m


Clings to rough surfaces; white flowers followed by colourful red foliage

sun to part shade

Vitus varieties

7/3 ft.
2/1 m


Several varieties of hardy grapes; good for juice or jellies

sun to part shade

Lonicera x varieties

10-20/3-6 ft.
3-6/1-2 m

orange, red

Sweetly fragrant, woody vine with small tubular flowers

sun to part shade

Humulus lupulus

7/7 ft.
2/2 m


Fast growing with small green flower buds

sun to part shade

Virginia Creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

20/3 ft
. 6/1 m


Five part leaves, climbs a trellis; small white flowers are followed by attractive red fall foliage

sun to part shade

Tips for growing robust hanging baskets:

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Tip 1:

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Tip 2:

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Tip 3:

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