Suggestions for Vine To Cover Wooden Fence

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)

The fence is tall and I can and will provide support/training if I find the right vine.

What I would like is something:

1) not too "tropical" looking (greenery is fine, but not big tropical leaves, if that makes sense);
2) fairly easy to manage (i.e., won't take over everything around it, at least not FAST), nothing that makes thick impossible to cut later stems or wood though;
3) can have blooms or not as long as they aren't too "tropical" looking, color not important, droppage not a concern;
4) the big problem: site gets half day sun at best (gets sprinkler water just fine though).

Any ideas? Zone 9b. I'm not against shaping and training it at all, but privacy is the goal, and I'd love to find something that isn't wildly invasive and gets out of control.

Thanks! (Probably an impossible wish list here, I realize)

Apopka, FL(Zone 10a)

Thunbergia alata
Black-eyed susan vine works for me in sun or shade. They are twiners, so will need a trellis. I use a black 2x2 inch poly net tacked onto a 6 foot privacy fence. These grow 4 to 10 feet and mine are blooming constantly. No diseases yet, even after five years. Each vine will last a year, and will re-seed easy but not out of control. Pictures coming later.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Some suggestions...
Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)

Thank you both! I will look into those for sure! They all sound lovely. Hoping to get this going and not have a sudden "cold snap" that would kill them ... although I'm really ready for some cooler weather!

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)


I have one more question if either of you knows from real experience (I trust that more than googling, etc.). In Zone 9b, I've noticed that black eyed Susan (as much as I love it) might not live all year round, right? Or will it?

And re: Confederate Jasmine, I read that it is "easy to maintain," but I really need to be sure it won't get out of control. Meaning, I don't know the name of it, but there was a vine on a chain link fence near here long ago and I BELIEVE it was covered with the Confederate Jasmine and when they went to take it off the fence the woody stems of the vine had become 1-2 inches thick and wrapped themselves all in and around the chain links. It was a nightmare trying to clean all the vine off.

Granted, that was a chain link and years and years of unattended growth, and I'm talking about using a vine for a wooden fence so there are no "links" for heavy thick woody "stems" or bark to grow around, really.

Just wondering if anyone can clarify, and thank you so much again!

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Hollyhock, your description of confederate jasmine is spot on.

I just pruned off 300 feet of mine and it took me 3 day and when it fell loose from fence I had to pull it out of drainage ditch with my little Kubota. I have it piled up near road but yard waste people can't take it all in 1 bunch. I am thinking I shouldn't even expect them to and haul it to the dump as we are very close to one. I removed it this same way a few years ago cause the vines wrap so tight in the fence they have to be cut every 2 or 3 inches to get them loose. I still have lots of small pieces to get out. The county is not really responsible for something that falls into ditch from my yard. The grade all machine is coming back to remove the dirt and debris in the ditch. Jasmine grew through and up and over fence and into dirt in ditch which if I didn't have a tractor to use I'd never get it out without back breaking effort. At 78 I don't have the strength I used to. That said if your wood fence is not woven tightly tog. you could probably remove it easier. When it is in bloom it is really beautiful and very fragrant. Cold doesn't bother it a bit. Great for privacy. Front yard looks bare right now but by next year it will all grow back I'm sure. I fertilize with our cows manure and that makes anything grow. One good thing it all is joined. When I was pulling it out of ditch I had to watch traffic going by as it came out like 1 huge caterpillar. I got it all out of the road as fast as I could.
I did this last week and it is already leafing out again. My reason for such a harsh trim is I have seen it pull chain link up out of the ground.
I have a friend that lives in town and has an old wood fence covered with it. She said she can't even get to the fence now and lets it go as she likes the privacy. If you trim it every few years I feel it keeps it under control better.

I know blue sky vine has a soft running stem and easily cut but mine lost all it leaves after it bloomed which is beautiful while blooming but is bare during cold weather. I planted mine at the end of my house and it grew up the house into my attic through gable vent. Had to get that all out and so I moved it to fence but jasmine crowds it out so I will have to be more diligent at pruning around it.

Heck everything I can think of requires some care. Hope you find something that serves your needs.

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)


Oh my what a horror story re: the Confederate Jasmine in the chain link fence! I know *exactly* what you are talking about. It had to be cut every couple of inches and strong hands (stronger than mine) had to then wrench those smaller pieces out of the chain links. It was incredible! Awful. So as you say I think the best use for it is somewhere where you don't ever plan to have to remove it or really cut back any of it from a structure of any kind.

That said, the wooden fence I'm considering planting a vine to cover is right next to my "formal garden" area and there are roses, etc. I don't want to have to be fighting back anything too much, that's the problem. I need a vine that is there all year and covers the fence and looks nice (privacy), but doesn't go completely Godzilla Crazy! (heh)

If I can find out whether Black Eyed Susan stays all year even without blooms on it (i.e., has a nice green privacy effect) then I sure would like to try that one as I just like the look of it. Or maybe the Blue Sky vine you mention would be good. As long as it's year round and not a monster-garden-fence-house-eater. :)

Thanks all!

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

I hate to be a wet blanket and I do like the black eyed susan vine but it is also listed as invasive. HOWEVER, it has a very thin stem and I would think wacking it back would take little effort. Blue sky vine is not woody so maybe that would work. If I remember correctly (haha) it looses all its leaves in the winter so no visual barrier. Flowers are beautiful during the summer. Like 3" blue trumpets.

Side note: My wrists and fingers were about numb after working on that jasmine. I'm 78 and maybe I'll croak before it needs pruning again otherwise I may just let it do it's thing and grow as much as it wants to. If county didn't leave so much dirt in the ditches it would be easier to get that cleaned. I can't tell the county what to do I just bug them to get the GradeAll out here now and then. That means years between visits. LOL

Good luck with your project!

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)

Bonnie, nope not a "wet blanket" at all! Very informative, and I value others' opinions and experience. I saw a black eyed susan vine growing on a pergola here years ago and it was gorgeous. But now that you mention it, it was not near anything else, only concrete around it, etc. Good to keep in mind.

I think in our zone and this humidity, anything can get out of control pretty easily. I'm just trying to pick the "least of the worst" and I know that Confederate Jasmine was a nightmare on that chain link fence! Thick, and took forever to remove the thick pieces that had to be chopped and then you had to wait for them to die to remove them (for them to fall off, basically). So yes, maybe the less woody ones. Just wish there was a light, non-woody one that would stay all year and wouldn't go crazy and wasn't so "tropical" for this particular look I'm going for!

Thank you ALL again.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

I have another jasmine that isn't as fast growing as the confederate jasmine, Jasminum nitidum, common called angle wing jasmine. Smells just as wonderful but easily kept confined to one spot. Never has frozen and gets flowers heavy in spring, but sporadically all year long, unlike the confederate that only blooms in the spring, I have flowers on it now. I have had it for maybe a decade in the same spot and I could easily remove it if I wanted to.

I also have another vine that drapes nicely on my wooden fence, Mexican Sunflower (Senecio confusus). I does pretty well with our cold winter, and even if it does freeze back, it has always come back. It is hard to find though.

I attached some photos of the Mexican flame vine, the angle wing jasmine and the coral honeysuckle. You won't have a problem with the angle wing jasmine or coral honeysuckle freezing. But the sunflower will if we dip to the below freezing for several hours.

Thumbnail by sunkissed Thumbnail by sunkissed Thumbnail by sunkissed Thumbnail by sunkissed Thumbnail by sunkissed
Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

more photos of the angle wing jasmine...

Thumbnail by sunkissed Thumbnail by sunkissed
Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

God ideas Sherri. My honeysuckle is in same place and has been for years. I think you gave me a Mexican flame vine but it died out I'm ashamed to say. It is a beautiful vine. Seems hard to find one that stays green all winter.

My front fence is bare now but it already has started leafing out again so I know I didn't kill it.

My passion vine and dutchmens pipe vines all loose their leaves during the winter. I always cut the dutchmens pipe back to the ground but it has always come back. Butterflies love them both.


Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)


Wow! Thank you for that. Those photos are so gorgeous and that fence looks a bit like ours. I'll definitely consider what you've mentioned!

It does sounds like the trick is finding one that stays green all year but doesn't go crazy and become a house-eater or whatever. Ha!

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

And not all of us have the same soil, therefore some vines will do better for some than others. I have probably the worst of all, I think when my house was built they brought sand filler in. Over the 20 plus years I've lived here, I've organically enriched my soil. When I first lived here I lost many plants mostly due to poor soil, I'm sure.

Bonnie's cows have given me some soil enrichment...LOL.

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)

Oh yes, we have the sandy stuff too and I've spent a long time and lots of money and labor sloooowly getting it enriched. It's pretty dang good now, actually! I try to use the "tone" products too (RoseTone, GardenTone, etc.) -- they seem to work so well for me. Cows are great "enrichment" ... HA!

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Yes, Bio-tone if my friend. The smell alone lets you know it is good stuff...LOL

This isn't a real woody vine, King's Mantle (Thunbergia erecta) and easy to contain to one spot. It flowers heavy in spring, summer and fall. So far mine hasn't frosted but it is close to house for extra heat. I'll post a further out photo once I download them.

Thumbnail by sunkissed Thumbnail by sunkissed
Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

I've got a plant that looks like that too. All I knew it is thumbergia of some kid. It's blooming again right now. Very pretty.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Bonnie, you may have Thunbergia battiscombei, also known as Blue Boy Clock vine. It has larger leaves and more tropical looking but the flowers are almost identical. I have both but the clock vine doesn't get the clusters like the King's mantle does, also freezes down most winters. I even had the blue sky vine, but that one never came back after our two heavy freezes a few years ago.

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)

Sunkissed, WOW that is gorgeous!! I want that. Want, want, want. Why have I never seen this before? Do they not sell it in our area or something? I'm going to find it, somehow, somewhere. Thank you!!

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)

OK, I just searched and searched and no one sells Thunbergia erecta! Two places listed on DG and one is in Hawaii. The other is in Delaware or something. I can't believe no local places sell this? Is it "rare"? Can I find seeds somewhere? It looks PERFECT for what I had in mind. It says it can be trained as a vine. To me, it doesn't look "tropical," the green leaves I mean. I love the flowers, the color. I'd be willing to fuss over a plant this pretty and not too woody and hard to control, for my fence-covering project!

Help! Thank you again!

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Hi Hollyhock,
This sure looks like what I call blue sky vine and I have it. Was given to me at a RU years ago.
I almost lost it when I moved it but now it's coming back and I have several pieces I am trying to root for a couple of DG members that have been waiting forever. If it makes it I will let you know. I am about 1 1/2 hrs. from you so you could just ride over as I may have some other vines you could use.

Blue sky vine really grows up high but I have it now on a fence. I'm sure hoping it takes root as lots of people don't have it but would like it. It does have a soft stem so very easy to cut.


Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

This isn't the blue sky vine, but the same genus, I've had the sky vine but it froze and never came back. The Blue sky vine (Thunbergia grandiflora) is more of a vine, with larger leaves and lighter violet blue flowers. Very pretty...

I looked up where I bought the Thunbergia erecta, it was at Lukas Nursery. I didn't realize it was so hard to find, I bought it three years ago. But now that you mention it, I don't ever see it in nurseries, but do see the Blue sky vine sometimes.

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)

I've seen Blue Sky vine in nurseries, yep, yep.

But I've NEVER seen that erecta vine and I'm going to be looking for it. It looked like two vendors had it for sale here. I can't believe it's that rare if it's so good for FL, zone 9b, etc. easy to grow, you know? You'd think Home Depot and Lowe's would even have it! Weird, huh?

Sunkissed, hang on to yours! It may be "rare"!! haha :)

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

I checked Lukas for you yesterday, nada. I even checked a few nurseries this past weekend that I was at, didn't even see any blue sky vines. Maybe too late in the year for them now? It says they can root easily so I'll certainly try and root some clippings to share.

Merritt Island, FL(Zone 9b)

Sunkissed, thank you!

Meanwhile, I have a thread over here where I asked what this pretty shade-loving thing was:

Notice the flowers? They don't look EXACTLY like Blue Sky or anything else anyone can say for sure. Whatever it is, I bought it at a nursery years back, as I say in that thread, and it loves shade and doesn't go crazy at all, and I just started a new one in a pot so it seems to propagate easily enough. I've never found it in other parts of the yard (that tells me it isn't re-seeding etc. like crazy, which is good!) and it's no fuss and stays green all year. Whatever this thin is, I love it!

Any clues? Notice the center doesn't have the yellow, and the shape of the leaves is different than Blue Sky I think. Hmmm!

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

My blue sky vine has never moved around but it does grow up a lot. Just need a large trellis or fold it back onto itself.

I checked my cuttings today. I may have 1 starting and I promised them 2 years ago to 2 people. Will have to try starting more of them if they are hard to find. I was given it at the first round up I ever attended. Came from Jeremy. Our wonderful dear departed gardening friend.


Post a Reply to this Thread

You must log in and subscribe to Dave's Garden to post in this thread.