I'd like to grow a natural fence on the side of my porch using long, narrow planters and a trellis to provide some privacy. The area is mostly shaded but gets some sun. What would be the best plant/vine to start from seed? I'd like it to have grow as fast as possible and be perennial.
Welcome to our community and thank you for your question. When you say the area you would like to plant gets "some" sun, when does the sun shine there? A morning sun can be very gentle but an afternoon sun could be very harsh. Out here on the West Coast, the afternoon sun in the summer can be brutal on shade plants. If you have mostly shade, with a little morning sun, Star Jasmine is a good choice. It will grow in a part shade area as well as tolerate the afternoon sun. Confederate Jasmine would also work, it is a twin to the Star Jasmine, and only the flowers are a different shape. Both will grow just fine, it is just the amount of flowers growing may be reduced in there is only morning sun but it will also tolerate any afternoon sun that might filter in.
Another good choice for mostly shade is English Ivy or Creeping Fig. Creeping fig will attach itself to your trellis.
Check with your local Home Depot Gardening Department for more selections in your area.
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If it doesn't have to be a vine, boxwood is great for hedges. While they can take full sun, they actually prefer partial shade. Just so you have an idea, when you see those English gardens with the neatly manicured mazes and such, a lot of times that's boxwood. It's used in topiaries quite often. If you're in a area with deer, don't worry. Deer won't touch them. Most of the common varieties are hardy to zone 5. I believe the unsheared one at the bottom is hardy from 4 to 9. If I'm remembering correctly, it is Green Mountain or something like that.
They're also an evergreen, so will maintain color throughout the year.
Here are some examples:
NC State has a great write up on them:
I have trumpet vine on my pergola. It grows very fast and needs pruning to keep it neat. It is a very hardy perennial and provides good shade.
Hello AndrewBlue! I guess there are a lot of recommendations for you to choose from , so I will throw in my favorite " Shade Lovin" climber....Climbing Hydrangea... Ilove the leaf, I love the blossom but I especially love the way it looks in the winter!
Okay its got great winter interest, looks wonderful in the spring and it goes all golden in the autumn! And it will grow in generous planters and climb! Good luck with your decision!!
Welcome to our community and thank you for your question as well as your insight. Yes, the creeping fig does attach itself to just about everything, but that is also its advantage especially when trying to cover a drab cinderblock wall. This creeping vine needs to be trimmed on a regular basis to keep in in check or it will keep on growing and covering everything it comes across! I have had a creeping fig on my back yard wall for the last 30 years. I stated it from a single one gallon container. It has now covered 2/3 of my back wall which is about 100ft long by 5 feet tall as well as continuing around to the front yard on the same wall which is another 75 feet. All this from a one gallon container of creeping fig, 30+ years ago, who would of thought! I have it trimmed on a regular basis to keep it on my side of the wall though!
I would not call the Star Jasmine an invasive plant but it too needs to be trimmed on a regular basis. The advantage of the Star Jasmine is that no other plants will grow where the Star Jasmine has taken over. The root system gives off a gas that kills off other plants. With two hours of afternoon sun the Star Jasmine should do well. The problem with the afternoon sun is that it is the hotter time of the day, unlike a morning sun where the ground is still cooler and has a little more moisture. What time in the afternoon does your area get its two hours of sunlight?
As far as having flowering plants in the shade in SoCal, the Star Jasmine is a partial sun plant which needs about 4 hours of sun to promote flowering. Less sun will inhibit the flowers but the vine itself should grow and stay green. The Home Depot Garden Department does carry a part sun, shade plant call the Night Blooming Jasmine. Just as the name indicate the plant flowers and produces a gentle aroma only at night time. I have had this plant in my front and back yard for about 40 years now.
The issue with fragrance is the sun in many cases, but there are still plants available like the Gardenia that prefers the shade. There is also a fragrant Hosta plantaginea which grows well in the shade. The Hosta is usually available in bulb form during January and February in most SoCal Home Depot Garden Departments. This type of plant may not tolerate the hotter afternoon sun, even if it is for only two hours. The mint plant seems to do well in a variety of sun conditions. This plant does like to take over so it would do better if it were confined.
Lavender would be another good choice as it will adapt to its environment.
Be careful when choosing plants for your sun area. Even though there is only two hours of sun, you have the hot portion of the sun and shade plants will not perform well in this type of environment. A part sun plant may be better choice. I think that the Star Jasmine, the Confederate Jasmine or the Lavender would be a good choice for you.
You might consider the DayLily. I had this in my front yard with only about 2 hours of sun from about 11 AM to about 1 PM and it flourished!
Do not be afraid to experiment with several sun plants to see which will work best in your area. I would stay away from the shade plants since they can only tolerate the morning sun and will burn if exposed to the hot afternoon sun.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.
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Thanks for your suggestions. The area I'm trying to plant is in the SW side of my house. There's a pathway there with about a 10in strip of dirt the previous owners planted some low growing plants. I want to put up a trellis and grow something vertical to provide some privacy but more to provide something nice to look at instead of a concrete block wall. I'd prefer something flowering, hearty, aromatic (we have windows and doors facing this wall) and not thorny (I have a toddler and this path is a bit narrow). The area gets noon-ish sun, from approx 12:30pm to 2pm during the hottest days of summer (like now) in Orange County, CA.
I had considered the Star Jasmine before as we had it in our previous yard but remember that it could be a bit of work cutting it back to keep it from just being messy. Is there something that might espalier (although it might be too much work for me) or perhaps look less messy? Is Star Jasmine the best bet and just require more tending to?
Hi again cosmiccat,
For a climbing vine type plant that also flowers, the star jasmine is a good bet and is one of the easier ones to take care of but does require regular trimming to keep it nice and orderly. There are a couple of varieties of Honey Suckle, the Burnmese Honeysuckle (Lonicera hildebrandiana) and the Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonecera "Halliana") that are also very fragrant but are also very bushy as well and would need regular maintenance to keep them in check.
The Stephanotis is a bit more manageable as is the Snail Vine and both are fragrant. There are other vining plants that flower such as the Mandivia, Clematis and Trumpet Vine but these area not know for being fragrant.
I hope that this gives you a few more ideas on selecting your desired plant. There are other climbing plants but having ones that are going to be fragrant and less maintenance is the challenge. Let me khnow if I can be of further assistance to you.
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