There is something magical about a climbing vine in a garden. Vines seem to have a mind of their own and go completely wild with just a little bit of love. Something about this makes them symbolize a freestyle bohemia that is much more desireable to me than a few straight-laced plants properly lined up in a row, like a bunch of buttoned up soldiers.
And just because you are limited to a balcony or a small outdoor space doesn't mean you need to miss out.
The five vines here, from flowering to fruit baring, are all suitable for container gardens -- all you need is a big pot and something for it to climb up, generally a few sticks of bamboo will do. For more artful climbing, you can look into twining, netting or strings, or a trellis.
1. Black Eyed Susan Vine
The fast-growing Black Eyed Susan Vine (also called the Thunbergia or Clock Vine) adds a little drama with its solid black eye, framed by sunny yellow, white, or bold orange flowers.
They're easy to grow from seed, prefer full sun, and grow 6 to 8 feet tall. (870 Milligram PacketFerry-Morse 1779 Black-Eyed Susan Annual Flower Seeds, Vine (870 Milligram Packet), $.65 at productsmall.org)
2. Sweet Lace Grape Vine
As the enthusiastic Patti Moreno points out in this video, Sweet Lace Grapes or Vitis Vinifera are a hearty addition to a container garden with the added bonus of a harvest -- which you can use for wine, jams, and jellies.
Sweet Lace Grapes are the perfect grape vine to grow in a container on a patio -- they're small, they're compact, even though they can grow to be between 20-40 feet. Keep it pruned if you don't want it to go that crazy or make sure you give it a vertical support, or plant it up against a lattice fence, or over an arbor.($2 for 50 seeds on Amazon)
3. Heavenly Blue Morning Glory
Best in full sun, the Heavenly Blue Morning Glory blooms all summer long -- up to 10 weeks -- and can grow an ambitious 12 feet high. (I once had a neighbor two floors down that missed out on most of his blooms...which climbed out of the shade to my apartment).
Morning Glories come in several color options, but the contrast of the blue and white here is particularly stunning.($4.92 for 150 seeds on Amazon)
4. Clematis Konigskind Climador
Boasting clusters of lovely violet-blue blossoms, the Clematis Climador (also known as Konigskind ) is a relatively new addition to the perennial container garden market, meaning it is bred to be in a pot, with a long blooming period.
($15 for the vine on Gardenvines.com)
One of the best new clematis to grow in containers is Clematis Konigskind Climador. This perennial has 5-inch-diameter, purple-blue, ruffled flowers that bloom for up to four months on vines that only grow 4 to 5 feet long. This clematis is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9, although the container should be protected over the winter in cold areas.
5. Sweet Pea Vine
The small blossoms of the perennial Sweet Pea vine or Lathyrus latifolus actually look like dozens of tiny orchids (about 1 inch in diameter). But unlike orchids, they are ready to face the elements of your balcony or terrace.
Contrary to the Clematis, the sweet pea vine is no new kid on the block. Says vintagegardengal.com, "It is an heirloom vine, which Thomas Jefferson grew, enjoyed, and called 'everlasting pea' in his day."
Do you have a favorite container garden vine? Let us know in the comments.