As the mercury rises, hard surfaces and walls are more noticeable as passerbys get beamed with reflected heat off the surfaces that are absorbing heat. Covering these hot surfaces with plants can be one way to buffer this heat. Since there are many vine options in the Desert Southwest, I thought I’d narrow down the field by suggesting a few of my favorites. In this video, I have suggested three different vines which work great in different microclimates of a yard. You’ll learn how each of these vines have different water demands as well as varying maintenance requirements to keep them on your wall, working hard at buffering that heat.
Crossvine (Bignonia capriolata)
This vine (also known as the Tangerine Beauty), is perfect in part filtered sun or morning sun, performs well in the Arizona climate, and produces a prolific amount of flowering each spring. Crossvine attract pollinators and hummingbirds and require support to grow on a vertical surface.
Alternatives to Using a Trellis
Sticky tabs are an excellent option to adhere your vines to walls in your yard. I have experienced better adhesion when using clear liquid nails than when using the adhesive provided with the tabs.
Creeping Fig Vine (Ficus pulima)
This vine is perfect for shaded areas. It will provide a very dense, green look on a wall. This vine is self-adhering, which can damage paint and wood. Because of the differences in juvenile and mature leaf structure, the vine creates the illusion of more than one vine. Creeping fig will need 6 – 12 months to establish, during this time you will likely see little growth. After the vine is established, you will see rapid growth.
Cat’s Claw Vine (Macfadyena anguis-cati)
This yellow blooming vine with dark green leaves will flourish against hot walls and is commonly used where nothing else will grow. This vine is quite tough and very hard to get rid of, so be sure you want the vine where you plant it. Cat’s claw will attach to rough surfaces on its own. This vine requires regular pruning or a trellis system because it is a very heavy vine as it grows in width. Cat’s claw should be grown away from other plants because its growth is so aggressive.