Gardeners often lament the small garden spaces available to them. Containers overflow and take up room on the patio or in the garden bed. Large plants need room to develop when planted in the ground. One answer to a shortage of garden space is planting annual vines.
Most annual vines, such as moonflower and hyacinth bean vine are rapid growers and offer interesting flowers within a season. It's not too late to get them started, in containers or along that old fence where nothing seems to grow. Annual vines can even climb on trees. Trees are not harmed, as the vines die off at the end of the season.
Annual vines are adaptable to both the soils in which they're planted and to the amount of sunlight they must have. Most do well in poor soils and partial sunlight. Experiment with these interesting and attractive vines in your small garden space this year.
Hyacinth bean vine
An unusual bean plant, the Hyacinth bean vine produces attractive pink and white flowers and is easily grown from seeds. You may also purchase the plant at some local nurseries. Either way, once planted in a small garden space, the hyacinth bean vine shoots up and clings by tendrils to whatever support may be close. I planted these last year and they climbed happily on a nearby Angel's trumpet plant, offering an interesting comparison to the big yellow blooms.
In mid-summer, pinkish-purple bean pods begin to develop on this vine to complement the flowers. These pods are actually edible, but we didn't try them in our salads, as they require special preparation. The pods eventually take on a more purple color and late in the season they turn brown. When the bean pods are brown and drying, it is time to collect seeds for next year's plantings.
Another rapidly growing, climbing vine is the moonflower, Ipommoea alba. Large white blooms open in late afernoon, providing a striking display and intense evening fragrance. The moonflower is actually a perennial vine and may return in sub-tropical areas, but most U.S. gardeners grow it as an annual, as cold winters prohibit its return the next year.
Both the Hyacinth bean vine and the moonflower can grow in pots or planted in the ground. Take advantage of these easy care vines for flowers and fragrance this summer.
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