Possum Grape Vine Info – Tips For Growing Arizona Grape Ivy

Possum Grape Vine Info – Tips For Growing Arizona Grape Ivy

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By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Gardeners who have an ugly wall or underused vertical space may want to try growing Arizona grape ivy. What is Arizona grape ivy? This attractive, ornamental vine can get between 15 and 30 feet in height and self-attaches with small tendrils that bear suction cups on the ends. These “feet” cement themselves to structures and can be damaging if removal is necessary.

In some zones, this plant is considered invasive so check with your local extension office before purchase. Otherwise, throw caution to the wind and check out Arizona grape ivy plants (Cissus trifoliata).

What is Arizona Grape Ivy?

Vertical spaces with green vines spilling over them accent the garden and lend lushness that bare wall or trellis simply can’t fake. Arizona grape ivy plants are fast growing, easy care vines with tiny flowers and pretty lobed leaves. They are mostly herbaceous but develop a woody base and numerous stems. Another name for the plant is possum grape vine.

Those of us not from Mexico or the American South may wonder, what are Arizona grape ivy plants? This North American native is a fast-growing vine that climbs into trees in its wild range. The plant is remarkably adaptable to almost any lighting because of its nature as an understory tree.

In the wild, the tree starts life either in a sunny clearing or in a crowded forest with no light. As the plant grows upward, it reaches brighter and brighter conditions. In cultivation, the vine thrives in partial to full sun or even shade. In its habitat, the plant grows in stream banks, rocky ravines, and roadsides.

Possum Grape Vine Info

Possum or grape ivy is a hardy, herbaceous vine. It has three-lobed rubbery leaves nearly 4 inches long with grayish green color. The plant produces 2-inch wide small greenish flat clusters of blooms which become tiny, grape-like fruits. These are green but mature to a rich bluish black. The stems have tendrils which coil around any object to help pull the plant up as it grows.

Reportedly, the leaves produce a rather nasty odor when crushed. The plant is attractive to bees and butterflies. Birds eat the fruits. Basic possum grape vine info must include the fact that the plant is semi-evergreen. In warmer climates, the plant tends to keep its leaves, but in temperate zones it will drop leaves in fall.

Growing Arizona Grape Ivy

This is one of the easiest plants to grow and is suitable for USDA hardiness zones 6 to 11. Once established, care of Arizona grape ivy is negligible.

Choose a well-drained site where soil has been loosened and amended with compost or other organic material. The plant can tolerate either acidic to mildly alkaline soil.

Provide a vertical structure for support as the plant grows and help it along at the beginning with plant ties.

Possum vine is drought tolerant and resistant to deer, but it will need water during establishment. It also self-sows, so you may wish to remove the seed heads before they ripen. Care of Arizona grape ivy may require occasional pruning to keep the plant in habit.

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When to Trim Grape Ivy

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Grape ivy (Cissus rhombifolia), also called Venezuela treebine, drapes or climbs indoors our outside in warm climates. This frost-tender plant is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 though 11. In colder regions, you can grow grape ivy as a houseplant. This plant doesn't need regular pruning but the occasional trim keeps it looking neat and tidy.

Cissus spp.

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Grape Ivy Plant Features

Grape ivy is for you if you'd like a lush, tropical vine that's easy to grow to decorate your home or office. Grape ivy is not a very fussy plant so you can enjoy its fine foliage in hanging baskets and other planters around your home.

If grape ivy doesn't have a support to climb up, it will trail, making it perfect for hanging baskets, tall urns, and other big pots. Give it a trellis and grape ivy will climb to give you a living wall, room divider, or bold, upright accent. Because grape ivy is easy to grow, you can use it in just about any room of your home with medium light, though we're particularly fond of this beauty in dining rooms, living rooms, and other large spaces.

Grape Ivy Questions?
Our houseplant experts are here to help. Just drop us an email and someone will get back to you to help.

Note: Grape ivy is not meant for human or animal consumption.

Grape Ivy Growing Instructions

Grow grape ivy in medium to bright light at average household temperatures. Being a tropical vine, grape ivy doesn't like conditions below 50°F (10°C).

Grape ivy has medium water needs, too, meaning it likes the soil to dry out just a bit before you water it again. Watch overwatering too much moisture can cause it to drop leaves prematurely. Like with most houseplants, be sure to grow grape ivy in a container that has drainage holes and don't let excess water accumulate for long periods of time in the plant saucer.

Fertilize grape ivy once or twice during spring and summer to keep it happy. If you want your grape ivy to grow faster, you can fertilize it more frequently just be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging.

  • Grapes are woody perennial vines.
  • Plant in full sun to provide the heat required to ripen the fruit.
  • Each vine needs about 6 feet of space.
  • Flowers and fruit develop on new shoots called canes.
  • It is possible to get fruit one year after planting.
  • Flowers are pollinated by wind and insects.
  • Vines can be trained to many decorative forms.
  • Annual pruning is very important to keep growth healthy each year.
  • Prune in spring before leaves emerge.

Do you want to grow grapes primarily to cover an arbor? Then you can choose just about any grape variety that is hardy and reasonably healthy.

Do you hope to make grape juice and jelly? Several dependable easy-care varieties will fit this purpose. Juice and jelly grapes are traditionally some of the most winter-hardy varieties.

Do you want seedless grapes for fresh eating? Some seedless varieties are being grown in Minnesota now, but, except in far southern Minnesota, all of these varieties will need some winter protection. Seeded table grapes are generally more cold-hardy and vigorous than newer seedless varieties.

Grapes for wine

There are now many excellent cold-hardy wine grape varieties available for commercial and hobby winemakers in northern climates. Several of these have been developed by the University of Minnesota specifically for our harsh climate.

For winemaking you will need to choose the variety more carefully, considering what varieties will make the type of wine you want, and what training and pruning they will need. While these grapes can be eaten fresh, they generally have higher acid, higher sugar, higher skin-to-pulp ratio, and more seeds than table and juice grapes.

Follow this simple calendar to keep grapevines healthy and productive

Tasks When to do them
For existing vines, prune before growth starts March
Plant bare root grapevines as soon as soil can be worked April, May
Rub off any shoots that start growing lower down on the trunk April through June
Tie new growth to trellis as needed April through August
Inspect vines throughout the season to catch disease and insect problems April through October
Plant potted grapevines after threat of frost has passed May, June
As fruit ripens, watch for bird damage cover with netting if needed September, October
Harvest fruit based on color and flavor September, October
Clean up all fallen leaves, fruit and debris October, November

Choosing plants

The varieties in the table below can be used for juice and jelly and some can be used for making wine. Of course any can be eaten fresh, and you might be surprised at the wide range of flavors!

There are other varieties available at garden centers and online nurseries that are listed as being hardy to USDA zone 4, but those listed here have been carefully tested by the University of Minnesota and have proven to grow successfully in our climate.

If you're interested in more extensive information about all of these varieties, you can find a current list of nurseries at the Minnesota Grape Growers website. The University of California at Davis also maintains a national grape registry nursery list that includes northern suppliers. Please note that some nurseries only sell wholesale.

Varieties in bold were cultivated by the University of Minnesota and include the year they were introduced.

Grape varieties for northern gardens

Grapes with seeds

Variety Best use Avg. harvest time Description
Bluebell (1944) Juice, jelly Mid Sept. Blue berries that look and taste like Concord. Excellent hardiness in zone 4 does very well in zone 3.
Edelweiss (1977) (joint release with Elmer Swenson) Fresh eating Late Aug. to early Sept. Very juicy yellow-green berries with floral aroma. Can also be used to make sweet wine. Does well in zone 4 okay in zone 3.
Frontenac (1996) Wine Late Sept. to early Oct. Small blue berries that ripen late. Can be used to make rose, red and port wines. Grows very well in zone 4 does well in zone 3.
Frontenac Blanc (2012) Wine Late Sept. to early Oct. Truly white version of Frontenac. Makes very light white wine. Grows very well in zone 4 does well in zone 3.
Frontenac Gris (2003) Wine Late Sept. to early Oct. Small pink berries with a fruity aroma. Makes sweet white wine. Grows very well in zone 4 does well in zone 3.
LaCrescent (2002) Wine Late Sept. to early Oct. Yellow-pink berries with apricot and honey aromas. Grows very well in zone 4 does well in zone 3.
Marquette (2006) Wine Mid to late Sept. One of the best for making red wine. Grows very well in zone 4 does well in zone 3.
Swenson Red (1977) (joint release with Elmer Swenson) Fresh eating Red berries are large, crisp, fruity, with hints of strawberry. Grows well in zone 4.
Swenson White Wine, fresh eating Yellow-green, juicy berries with a floral aroma. Grows well in zone 4.
St. Croix Wine Late Aug. to early Sept. Generally known as a wine grape, but good for fresh eating. Grows very well in zone 4 okay in zone 3.

Seedless grapes

Seedless grapes generally don't do well in northern climates. Three varieties that are best for fresh eating and have been tested to grow reliably in zone 4:

  • Mars— Sweet, juicy, blue berries with flavor similar to Concord.
  • Petite Jewel— Red berries with excellent fruity, spicy flavor (may be difficult to grow).
  • Somerset Seedless— Pink-red berries that are juicy and delicious. Hardiest of the seedless varieties.

Planting, growing and maintaining grape vines

Care for your grape vines from planting and throughout the seasons, year after year.

Preparing vines for planting

In Minnesota, spring planting is recommended to give the young vines the most time to get established before their first winter.

If you order from catalogs or online sources your plants will arrive as dormant, bare root plants. When you receive the plants, keep them in a cool place with the root system moist. You should plant the vines as soon as possible.

Local nurseries also carry potted vines. These vines should also be planted as soon as possible, but because the roots are growing the timing is not as critical.

Before planting bare root vines

  • Soak the roots in water for 3-4 hours.
  • At planting, remove all canes except the most vigorous one.
  • Plant vines with the lowest bud on the cane just above the soil surface.
  • Trim off any broken or excessively long roots.
  • Dig a hole large enough to you can spread the root system out.
  • Then cover the roots completely with soil.

Mulching is not usually recommended for grapes because mulch will keep the soil temperature too cool. Grape vines grow best in warmer soil.

Initial watering

After planting, water the vines regularly throughout the first year. The root system needs to grow and establish to allow for shoot growth in the first year.


Grapevines need some type of support or they will trail along the ground. The support can be an arbor covering a patio for shade, or can be as simple as a post in the ground to support the trunk of the vine.

Grapevines can also be grown along an existing fence. Virtually any type of support structure will do, provided it is sturdy. Grape vines grow quickly and get quite heavy.

Grapevines can be trained and pruned to just about any form and shape.

  • Young grapes require about 1/2 to 1 inch of water per week, depending on rainfall, for the first two years during the growing season.
  • When watering young vines, saturate the root zone. Apply 5 gallons of water over a 3 x 3 foot area for 1 inch of water.
  • Plants grown in pots require regular watering until the roots become established and the leaves have acclimated to growing outdoors. It's worthwhile to monitor these plants daily to make sure they do not suffer drought stress.
  • By the end of the second growing season, a trunk should be established and your vine is likely to not need additional watering unless specific soil conditions (sandy, well drained) or prolonged drought dictate the need.
  • Apply water only to the root zone. Avoid getting grape foliage wet as this can encourage many grape diseases.
  • Reduce watering young vines in the fall to encourage the plant to harden-off its canes to prepare for winter.
  • Older vines seldom need any watering unless on sandy or other very well drained soils.

Fertilizer and mulch

The first two or three years, each early spring, apply compost around the base of the vines. Grape vines grow vigorously and might need a nutrient boost each year. You may not have to do this as the vines mature it all depends on what you observe. Do the vines look vigorous and healthy? Maybe you don't need any fertilizer.

Unlike many other plants, it is best not to mulch around the base of your vine as the mulch can keep the soil too cool. Grapevine roots like to be warm.


Keep grass and other plants from growing under grapevines. This allows the soil to heat up early in the spring and maintain higher soil temperatures to encourage growth.

When plants grow under vines, the soil temperature stays cooler. With grapes, this will delay growth in the spring.

Keep the ground under the vines clear of other plants throughout the growing season by hoeing gently under the vines.

Watch before pruning your grapes this winter:

Grapevines must be pruned every winter or spring. It is an important step to growing grapes, because it helps them produce a healthy crop of fruit and survive for many years.

New grape growers are often surprised about how much of the vine gets removed during pruning. In an average vineyard, 80-90% of the new growth is pruned off each winter. This is because grapes are produced on new shoots, not old branches.

The exact process of pruning grapes depends on how you decide to grow them in your garden and how much space you have. But generally, grapevines are pruned to 1-2 trunks, 2-4 cordons (woody arms), and bud-containing spurs that produce the next season’s fruit.

Fences are ideal to use as support for vines. Vines can also be contained to one stake in the ground. If you have an arbor or pergola, grapevines can be grown over the top to produce shade. If your goal is shade, you may prune less than if your goal is fruit. If your goal is to produce a lot of high quality fruit, it is best to grow it on a basic trellis or fence where it will have lots of sunlight.

Remember, flowers and fruit are located on buds that developed the previous year. Therefore you need to encourage new growth, but not too much.

Year one

For the first year, pruning is the same no matter how you plan to train your vine. The key is to develop a strong root system and straight trunk.

  • After the first season, your dormant vine will probably have one or several main canes, with skinny lateral canes growing off of them.
  • Choose the healthiest 1-2 main canes, and remove the rest. Prune off all of the lateral canes that are branching off of the main one.
  • Tie this cane to a stake or to the fence and encourage it to grow straight up.
  • Remove the top of the main cane to force the vine to grow lateral shoots the next season. The amount you remove depends on how healthy the cane is. Prune back to where the cane is pencil-diameter and the buds look plump and healthy.

After year one

During the second summer, train lateral shoots onto the trellis or fence, so that they run parallel to the ground, on both sides of the trunk.

Once the trunk has reached the trellis and is the height that you want it, and the lateral cordons (arms) have been formed, prune the vine each winter or spring before growth begins.

  • Remember, fruit is produced on the current season's growth, which grows off of last season's wood.
  • Heavy pruning provides the best fruit.
  • Light pruning results in large yields of poor-quality fruit.
  • Table, juice, and jelly varieties can have 40 to 60 buds per vine after pruning, but wine varieties should have only 20 to 30 buds per vine after pruning.

Pruning old, neglected vines

Have you moved into a house and inherited some old, overgrown grapevines? Don't dig them out just yet they can probably be saved!

You want to prune old and neglected vines in stages. Your goal is to get the vine back to a single trunk with well-placed canes. Prune when the vine is dormant, just before growth begins in spring.

If the vine is overwhelmingly large or has excessive dead wood, it is fine to cut off the entire vine a few inches above the ground. This will encourage new canes to grow from the ground (suckers) that you can use to re-grow the grapevine from scratch. This is a common practice.

Even if you wish to leave behind some of the old growth, you should still start a new trunk, and remove the old one once the new one is established:

  1. Select a new trunk from canes growing from the base of the vine.
  2. Cut the chosen new trunk to back to the desired height.
  3. Choose two canes on each side to bear fruit this season and tie them to a trellis as they grow. If there are no lateral canes, wait until the next season and choose two new shoots to become the cordons, removing others lower down.
  4. Remove other old wood. You might be cutting out a LOT of old wood.
  5. Continue pruning and training as with a new vine.

The best way to tell if grapes are ripe is to taste a few. Many varieties turn color before they are ripe.

  • Clip full clusters off the vine with pruning shears or heavy scissors.
  • Handle clusters carefully.
  • Remove any discolored, injured, or undesirable berries.
  • Cool them as soon as they are picked.

  • Store grapes in a refrigerator in a steady, consistent temperature.
  • Cover grape clusters loosely with plastic to reduce moisture loss.
  • Most grapes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or two.

In particularly harsh years, winter injury may sometimes kill much of the vine.

Grapevines are often able to regrow new canes from low down on the trunk. You may need to limit pruning for the year to determine how much of your vine has died.

It might be easier to start again with a cane from the base of the vine and treat the vine like you just planted it. Because the vine will have a large root system, you might be surprised at how fast it will regrow.

Managing diseases, insects and other pests

Most insect and other problems can be reduced by planting vines in a sunny location with good air circulation.

Weather conditions, winter hardiness of the variety, infection from the previous year, history of pesticide use and surrounding vegetation can affect a vine's susceptibility for a particular year.

Insects and other creatures

Japanese beetles

Japanese beetles chew holes in the leaves leaving them with a lace-like appearance. Look for beetles and their damage beginning in late June or early July through August.

Having Japanese beetles on a plant attracts more beetles, so it's important to prevent accumulation. The best control for home gardens is to check your plants often, at least twice a week and ideally in the morning when they're less active, and knock beetles into a pail of soapy water.

Monitor frequently and throughout the growing season for any other potential pest outbreaks. As with diseases, cleaning up dead leaves and berries and cleaning under the vines will help.

Spotted wing drosophila

This invasive fruit fly prefers strawberries and raspberries, but also feeds on grapes. This pest can do significant damage in large numbers and should be reported to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture when found.

Other insects

Yellow jackets and multicolored Asian lady beetles may feed on ripening grapes, damaging the fruit and promoting fungal disease infection. The best prevention is harvesting grapes as soon as they are ripe.

Other creatures

Birds are attracted to the ripening berries and can eat them all before you are ready to harvest. The only foolproof method of protection is netting to cover the ripening fruit on the vine.

Deer and raccoons may need to be kept out with a fence if they prove to be a problem.

Diseases and other challenges

Good air circulation in very important for preventing most diseases. This means annual pruning to keep the canopy from getting too dense.

Equally important is raking and removing leaves each fall as well as picking up and composting fallen fruit. After pruning, remove cuttings away from the vines. These practices will remove some of the places disease can overwinter to infect the following spring.

If possible, diseased portions of a vine should be removed and discarded at the first sign of disease, to prevent spread to the rest of the vine.

Powdery mildew

This fungal disease can infect all parts of the grapevine.

  • The first sign of infection appears as a white powdery layer on leaves or fruit.
  • Leaves infected while they are still growing become distorted and stunted.
  • If grapes are infected when they are small, the skin stops growing but the pulp continues to expand and the berry splits.
  • If infection occurs during fruit ripening, purple or red varieties fail to color properly and look blotchy at harvest.

Downy mildew

This fungus can infect any actively growing parts of the vine.

  • When lesions form on leaves, the affected areas become brown and wither.
  • Severely infected leaves curl and drop from the vine.
  • When parts of the vine are infected, they frequently become distorted, thickened, or curled with a white downy appearance.
  • If the infection is severe enough, parts of the vine will wither and die.
  • If grapes are infected, they fall off the vine.

High humidity promotes infection from both powdery and downy mildews. Infected shoots should be pruned and destroyed. Pruning in late winter should increase air circulation, as the vine grows during the year with the goal of reducing the chance of heavy infection.

Make sure all leaves and rotted fruit are removed from around the vine to reduce infection.

Fruit rots

Common fruit rots of grapes in Minnesota include Botrytis bunch rot, black rot, phomopsis, anthracnose, and sour rot. These fungal diseases can cause complete crop loss in warm, humid climates.

Botrytis infection can be seen on leaves, petioles, shoots and grapes. Prune grapevines during dormancy and position shoots during the growing season to allow exposure of fruit to sunlight and good air flow through the canopy. Pruning and training are also helpful in controlling Botrytis bunch rot.

Botrytis fruit rot can grow on dead blossom parts in the cluster.

  • Before grapes begin to ripen, it moves from berry to berry within the bunch.
  • Botrytis occurs most commonly on ripening berries, where infection and rot spread rapidly throughout the clusters.

For black rot, grapes are susceptible from bloom until about 6 weeks later. Symptoms seen after that time period are due to an infection that occurred earlier.

  • Infected berries first appear light brown.
  • Black spore-producing bodies develop on its surface.
  • Later, the berries shrivel and turn hard and black to become mummified.

Herbicide damage

Grapes are very susceptible to damage from 2,4-D and dicamba herbicides, which are widely used to control dandelions, creeping charlie and other weeds in lawns. Many common, store-bought weed killer products contain 2,4-D and dicamba, so gardeners may be applying them without realizing it.

  • 2,4-D and dicamba are very susceptible to vaporization and drift through the air after they are sprayed. This means that they can drift long distances and from neighboring yards.
  • Exposure to herbicide causes deformed leaves and causes flower clusters to fall off. Avoid using these herbicides anywhere near grapevines.
  • If you hire a lawn care company, consider asking them not to spray for dandelions or creeping charlie, as 2,4-D and dicamba are frequently used to control those weeds.

You might want to ask your neighbors to not use them either.

Poor fruit set

Small or sparse clusters are usually a result of poor pollination of the grape flower clusters during bloom. Poor fruit set is sometimes called “hens and chicks” because some berries on the clusters are much smaller than others and ripen unevenly.

While grapevines are self-pollinating, pollination can still occur for several reasons:

  • Cool weather or very hot weather before or during bloom.
  • Fungicides applied before or during bloom.
  • Boron or zinc deficiency.
  • Too much or too little nitrogen.

Emily S. Tepe Emily E. Hoover, Extension horticulturalist Matthew Clark, Extension grape breeding specialist and Annie Klodd, Extension educator

#515 Growing Vines in the Desert

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Vines have many uses in desert climates. Some provide bright color in hot areas, others cover bare walls and fences, dress up posts and columns or make nice shady area ground covers. Whatever your reason for selecting vines, it’s very important to pick the right vine for the right place. Get a copy of StarNote 001, Planting Guide, for complete planting instructions. While many vines need little or no feeding, most will benefit from an application of a complete fertilizer like Dr. Q’s® Tree, Shrub & Vine Food in March, May and September.


Banks Rose (Rosa banksiae). Deciduous, nearly thornless vine rapidly cover an area up to 20 x 10 feet. Spring flowering, white or yellow varieties have small, double flowers for about 6 weeks. Makes a great bank cover or train on fence, arbor, column, trellis or wall. Water moderately in summer, deeply and infrequently at other times. Semi-evergreen in mild winter.

Cat Claw (Macfadyena unguis-cati). Tough, semi-evergreen, heat-loving vine has large, yellow trumpet flowers in spring. Climbs quickly by means of little hooks like cat claws. Excellent on sunny, hot walls or fences. Also does well in part shade. Likes widely spaced watering once established. Cut back after bloom. Snip ends of vines to encourage branching.

Graber Firethorn Pyracantha (Pyracantha fortuneana ‘Graberi’). Supple, evergreen, limber variety grows to 10 x 10 feet or more. Has fragrant white flowers in spring followed by red or orange berries (birds love them) in winter. Excellent in full sun on trellis, wall or fence. Great, thorny, barrier screen. Drought tolerant when established. Water deeply and infrequently.

Grapes (Vitis varieties). Grown primarily for their fruit, these deciduous vines make attractive landscape plants as well. Good on fence, as wall cover, or train to cover a patio, roof, arbor or entryway. Many types are available including seedless varieties like Red Flame and Thompson. Vines grow very quickly when given lots of water. The downside to this is reduced fruit production. Give ample water while fruit is growing and water deeply and infrequently otherwise. Feed with Ammonium Sulfate (21-0-0) in early spring and use a complete fertilizer like Dr. Q’s® Tree, Shrub & Vine Foodevery 6-8 weeks thereafter. Watch out for skeletonizing caterpillars and treat with Spinosad® or Bacillus Thuringensis (BT) as needed.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). Versatile, semi-evergreen vine is noted for its fragrant white and yellow flowers spring through fall. Excellent for fence, arbor, wall or trellis good ground cover on slopes. Give moderate to infrequent water when established. Prune heavily and clean out in spring. Fertilize occasionally to increase flowers production.

Tangerine Beauty Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata). This tough, semi-evergreen, heat-loving Cat-Claw relative has a profusion of orange trumpet flowers in spring and sporadic flowers the rest of the year. It cimbs quickly by means of little hooks like cat claws. Excellent in hot, sunny areas, filtered sun or part shade. Likes moderate watering once established.

Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans and hybrids). Fast growing, deciduous vine has clusters of red-orange, trumpet shaped flowers all summer. Hybrid varieties have salmon-red or yellow blooms. Can cover a 20 x 20 foot area. Excellent choice for hot corners, walls, fences and arbors. Will take ample water, but does very well with deep, infrequent irrigation. Fertilize lightly in spring.


Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata). Self-attaching, semi-evergreen variety good on post, fence or wall. Forms a dense, flat mat when established very easy to control. Needs good drainage and regular water. Has brilliantly colored fall foliage.

Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens). This bright, pretty, evergreen vine, covered with clusters of small, yellow, trumpet flowers in spring, grows to 20 feet. Excellent cover for trellis, arbor or fence with eastern exposure great for shady entryways. Likes good drainage give moderate water in season, deep, infrequent water otherwise. Prune as needed to shape and control.

Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis). Large, deciduous vine has fragrant, purple flower clusters in late spring. Grow on fence, wall or arbor. Needs good support to establish correctly. Can be pruned into a shrub or small tree. Give ample water during early growth and blooming period, If older plants fail to bloom, withhold all nitrogen fertilizer for one year. When established, can grow in full sun but looks better with afternoon shade.

English Ivy (Hedera helix). Dense, tough, evergreen ivy climbs easily on walls and fences good spot ground cover and filler for small spaces. Other varieties like Hahn’s English Ivy and Needlepoint Ivy will also fill the bill. Most do best with regular water and afternoon shade. Keep away from stucco as aerial roots will cause damage.

Passion Flower (Passiflora alatocaerulea). Large-leafed, deciduous vine grows to 20 feet or more with large, pinkish lavender flowers all summer. Put in afternoon shade, sheltered from strong winds. Like moderate water in blooming season. May freeze in cold winters, but usually recovers. Mulch base of plant heavily for additional protection. Prune as needed for form and control.

Silver Lace Vine (Polygonum aubertii). Attractive deciduous vine with masses of white flowers spring through fall grows 12 feet or more in one season. Makes good screen, in morning sun, on fence, arbor or entryway. Very water efficient water once a week when established. Prune completely to ground to renew bloom will be delayed until summer.

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminioides). Bright, waxy-leafed, evergreen vine climbs by twining around supports to a height of about 10 feet. Especially good in east and north exposures on fence, trellis or entryway good sprawling ground cover in semi shade areas. Covered with intensely fragrant white flowers in spring. Generally hardy but may freeze to ground in exceptionally cold winters. Prefers moderate water in spring, deep, infrequent water otherwise. Benefits from occasional fertilizer in spring and fall.


Algerian Ivy (Hedera canariensis). Large-leafed, evergreen ivy is an excellent climbing ground cover on north facing walls and under trees. Slow down its extremely vigorous growth by cutting back on fertilizer and water. Use the lighter, variegated variety to brighten darkly shaded areas. Climbs by use of aerial rootlets so watch out for stucco and other porous masonry surfaces.

Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila). Dainty, evergreen vine starts out slowly then accelerates to cover large areas in a short time. Provides excellent cover in medium to dense shade looks great on chimneys. Will climb equally well on wood, masonry or metal. Small, delicate leaves become larger and thicker with age. Water moderately in summer, deeply and infrequently otherwise.

Periwinkle (Vinca Major). Glossy, evergreen vine makes a colorful ground cover in shady areas. Long, trailing stems, topped with lavender blue flowers root as they spread will climb with support. Best with enriched soil, good drainage and moderate water. Feed regularly with Dr. Q’s® Tree, Shrub & Vine Food.

OTHER FLOWERING VINES: Several other vines are available on a seasonal basis. Some of the varieties most often planted in our area are:

Bougainvillea, a tough, brightly colored, sun-loving summer annual in shades of red, purple, pink or orange.

Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia violate) is covered with lilac flowers in spring. Give it PM shade – – may winter over.

Pink Chinese Jasmine (Jasminium polyanthus), intensely fragrant, pink flowers in spring, best in shade, frost tender.

How to Prune Mahonia

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Clusters of fragrant yellow flowers followed by blue berries attractive to wildlife accompany the evergreen mahonia, commonly known as grape holly. Oregon grape holly (M. aquifolia) is grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 6 through 9. Japanese mahonia and leatherleaf grape holly (M. japonica and M. japonica "Bealei," respectively) are hardy in zones 7 through 9. M. eurybracteata has long slender leaves that are softer than those of other species. It grows in zones 7 through 9. The same pruning principles apply to these mahonias. Size constraints are different for the taller leatherleaf grape hollies than for the shorter Oregon grape and M. eurybracteata.

Time pruning for mahonias right after they flower: Oregon grape holly flowers from March through May Japanese mahonia blooms from March to April leatherleaf grape holly has a later spring flowering period M. eurybracteata blooms during winter months.

Cut back new shoots lightly after flowering to shape the canopy. Use gloves to work on species with prickly leaves.

Examine the shrub for dead, damaged or diseased growth and prune them away. Use extension pruners for taller growth.

Prune Oregon grape holly harder if it is used as a ground cover to stimulate flowering and keep the desired shape.

Prune away some of the oldest and tallest stems to their bases if the shrub has not been regularly pruned and has grown leggy tip pruning will not repair legginess. Stimulate new basal growth by pruning whole stems with the oldest bark.

How to Prune English Ivy

Limit severe rejuvenation pruning to the early spring. Rejuvenation pruning involves clipping the English ivy vine back to its main stem. All foliage is removed as close to the ground as possible. This won't kill the plant as it enters its primary growing season. Rejuvenation pruning works effectively to control rampant ivy growth.

Gardeners grow English ivy as an ornamental ground cover or climbing vine. These graceful plants require regular pruning to control rampant growth and encroachment over windows, door and other plantings. English ivy grows well in cool climates, preferring temperatures below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. These shade-loving vines perform well in containers when designers want the beauty of trailing vines. Gardeners commonly use English ivy in topiaries, as this vine trains quite easily. Learning how to prune English ivy requires an evaluation of how you prefer the plant to grow.

Observe the health of the ivy plant. Look for areas containing dead or dying leaves, as well as leggy areas with more vines than leaves. This could indicate harsh winter conditions that damaged the plant. Perform pruning in the spring for optimum growth during the warmer months of the year. Minor amounts of control pruning can be done at any time during the year.

  • Gardeners grow English ivy as an ornamental ground cover or climbing vine.
  • Gardeners commonly use English ivy in topiaries, as this vine trains quite easily.

Trim off dead leaves and vines with sharp clippers. Cuts should be made close to where the vine branch joins another branch. Removing dead areas first will help you decide how much of the remainder of the plant should be pruned.

Decide how much growth should be controlled on the plant. English ivy can grow rampant, covering windows, doorways and smothering other plants. Ivy plants tend to grow well in optimum conditions, so a spreading plant probably loves its current location.

Prune back sections of the English ivy vine to the nearest main stem. Trailing branches can head off into any direction. Be patient and remove one vine at a time to avoid giving the plant a sheared appearance. This will help you avoid over pruning the plant.

  • Trim off dead leaves and vines with sharp clippers.
  • Be patient and remove one vine at a time to avoid giving the plant a sheared appearance.

Clip the ends of vine sections to encourage new branch formation. Limit the use of tip pruning unless you want to encourage spreading growth of the English ivy vine. This method works well to fill in blank areas on arbor-grown ivy plants.

Pruning Grapes

Pruning grapes each spring is an essential step in growing healthy grapes and harvesting an abundant crop. See growing grapes to learn how to plant, trellis, and care for your grapes.

When pruning grapes, you’re going to give your grapes a major haircut. You’ll prune off 80% - 90% of your grapevine. Each healthy plant will support 50-60 grape buds. This summer, these buds will develop into clusters of grapes and leaves.

Grape Plant Before Pruning

Step 1

Choose 4 young, healthy, trailing grapevines: an upper-right, lower-right, upper-left, and lower-left). Everything else will be pruned off the grape plant.

What to look for when choosing your main trailing grapevines:

    Young and healthy wood

Each vine should have about 15 buds. A side branch coming off the main trailing vine counts as one bud. You will prune these side branches in step 3.

Look for a vine that's going in the right direction.

If you don’t have a healthy grapevine going in the right direction, it’s pretty easy to retrain a young vine. Gently move another vine into position, and tie it to the wire. As the plant grows, the tendrils (curly grabbers) will wrap around the wire and support the grapevine in the new position.

You can see in the picture that we used a lower vine to become the upper-right, trailing grapevine. The right side of the plant is pruned, the left side is not.

Step 2

Once you’ve chosen 4 vines, cut everything else off the grape plant.

IMPORTANT. While you’re pruning grapes, run your hand along the vine you’re keeping. The grapevines are so intertwined that it's easy to accidentally cut off a vine that you want to keep. Double check and be sure that you're pruning out the right vine before you make the cut.

Step 3

The next step is to prune the side branches that are growing on your main trailing grapevines. Each side branch should be cut just above the first bud on the branch. There should be approximately 15 buds on each long trailing vine.

Step 4

Now you're going to wrap your trailing vines around the trellis wire. If they don't easily stay in the right position, you can tie the vines to the trellis wire with a piece of twine. These ties hold the grapevines in place until the tendrils (curly grabbers) grab hold of the wire.



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