General Question

Evan's avatar

Will vines grow DOWN a fence, just like they'd grow UP a trellis?

Asked by Evan (805points) June 1st, 2009

I want to plant some clematis, and some other flowering vines, on top of the multiple fence posts of my 6’ wooden fence, in pots on little platforms on top of the fence posts. But friends have expressed worry that the vines might not grow well, since they normally like to climb UP things.. but wouldn’t they also climb along the fence, and even down along the fence posts?

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8 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

Fence or trellis, they grow upward and hang down.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Nice, a plant question! No, vines tend to grow upward, with their tendrils searching for support. It’s called gravitropism, when a plant can sense which way is up. But, what you can do is let them grow a little while, then tie down the growing portion of the plant in the direction you want. Do this several time as it grows, and soon you will have it going the direction you want – down.

dynamicduo's avatar

Vines usually grow up cause that’s where the sun is. They want to get high, high, way higher than their brothers and sisters so that they can get the most sun and the best chances of pollination if the vine has flowers.

I’m not a gardening expert by any means, but I would continue looking into your assumption about them growing downwards, as I’m not sure if they’ll do that or not. Perhaps there is a better species of vine that does grow downwards.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I have been growing Virginia Creeper (aka Woodbine) for several years and let them cover my arbor. Since they are very invasive, I keep them potted. You can train vines to do about anything, but they are going to want to climb, its’ their nature. Start them low, and then move them when they are pretty well established, that way you can tie or fasten them to the fence as you wish.

basp's avatar

You can make them do whatever you want following jeffgoldbloom’s suggestion above. Simply tie the vine loosely in the direction you war it to go. My husband has used that method for years with great results.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t know what it is, but a neighbor’s vine is growing up his side of the fence and down over mine, including down over my shrubs, which look really weird as a result.

syz's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra Virginia Creeper is a horrible, horrible pest in my yard…..I battle it constantly.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@syz you have to keep a constant eye on it. That’s why I keep it in large pots. Any I find that comes up elsewhere is immediaterly uprooted. Another thing you can do is follow the vine to its source, and pour boiling water on it. That kills it at the base, and works very well. I wish I could get a handle on the Creeping Charlie, that stuff is the Kudzu vine of the North.

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