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Flowering vines attract garden critters

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Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012 12:00 pm

By Mary Lew Quesinberry

Special to the Daily Herald

Plan and plant to lure butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden with three late-summer/fall flowering vines. Coral Vine/Queen's Wreath, Hyacinth Bean Vine and Sweet Autumn Clematis are well mannered, easy-to-grow vines that make a beautiful display when planted together on an arbor or fence.

Coral Vine (Antigonon leptopus) is a fast growing vine with tiny rose pink-colored flowers and heart-shaped leaves. It is a native of Mexico, mostly evergreen in a mild winter and its tendrils can reach 40 feet. It is grown from cuttings, plants or seeds. It will grow in full sun and light shade. Keep it watered and mulched, particularly in the winter to ensure its survival through freezing temperatures.

Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) is an evergreen vine even in the coldest Central Texas winters. A drought-tolerant plant that is not particular about soil, it has a sweet fragrance and small star-shaped white flowers and dark-green shiny leaves. The masses of flowers in the fall totally cover its leaves, and its tendrils can grow to 30 feet.

Hyacinth Bean Vine (Lablab purpureus) is a super-fast growing vine that reaches 15 feet. It has purple flowers and shiny, purple seedpods. It is easy to grow from seed if you soak the seeds overnight before planting. Hyacinth Bean Vine will freeze in the winter, but is easy to replace with the many seedpods you save. The seeds of this plant look like Oreo cookies and are welcome gifts to friends who garden.

Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds will visit these vines and enhance the beauty of the purple, white and rose-colored blooms with their graceful flight. Plant these vines in a sunny location in soil that is amended with decomposed granite or expanded shale. These amendments will keep native clay soil from compacting and smothering the root system. Water and organic mulch will benefit the vines in both summer and winter weather extremes.

Have any questions about gardening in Central Texas? Email ask.bcmga@gmail.com.

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