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Trellis Plants in the Desert

Using Trellis Plants I feel Trellis plants or vines are underused in the desert. If you like a lush look you gravitate toward grass and if you like Xeriscaping and xerogardening you lean more toward cactus and succulents with a touch of sage and groundcovers. Vines or any trellis plants can soften a blank wall in one season. Usually you will need to do some sort of “trellis” for the vine to climb on. I have a few that I favor. One is metal the other is fishing line. The first is self explanatory meaning a metal  creating squares, circles or some other shape that is dug a foot or so into the ground and the vine will adhere itself to it. Another is a mesh. For this the mesh is hung from the top of the wall and the trellis plants are then attached to the hanging mesh. The other is fishing line that is at least 50 lb. It is attached at each end of the wall where the vine is to grow. Depending on the length of the wall a center supports may be needed to keep the fishing line from sagging. The center supports can be as simple as rebar, green plant stakes, a Sheppard’s hook or even nursery stakes. I have a 30 foot blank wall in my yard that I originally planted three Bougainvillea attached to fishing line. Because of the maintenance and thorns I took them out. I also needed to use a mesh in front of the bougainvillea to control it. I created a box in sort for the bougainvillea to grow in.  This spring I planted a Baja Passion Vine in a 24 inch pot on a 16 inch pillar that sits behind my water feature. This trellis plant should grow about 20 feet wide creating an espalier affect. An espalier becomes a living sculpture in the garden and is especially effective against a blank wall. I am using the nursery stake that the plant came with as my center support. I feel trellis plants look best when they are supported as naturally as possible. I hope that makes sense to you. I plant desert vines or any plant in the pots because I want the immediate height. In this case that more of the desert vine that shows from behind the water feature the better. I fertilize the pot once a week with the backwash water from my Koi pond. It is a very mid fertilizer. I put the backwash pipe into a two gallon container and empty that into the pot that contains the desert vines. In time I may need to remove it from the pot and plant the trellis plant in the ground or build a raised planter box for it. I am using the Baja Passion desert vines because I really like the exotic flowers, however I have also thought of using a Pyracantha vine to have both flowers and the red berries in the winter. I tend to use fragrant desert vines as trellis plants in courtyards planting with jasmine, trumpet vine and honeysuckle to name a few. There have been times I have combined desert vines. This came from the idea when combing white and purple lantanas for an interesting affect. I used a lilac desert vine to block the afternoon sun from hitting the back door. The back part of this trellis plant looked very sparse and woody because of a lack of sunlight, so added Arabian Jasmine. They both flower at different times so they will not compete with each other. Being a landscape designer my backyard is always a transitional experiment being in one phase or another. Actually for that matter my front yard is always changes as well

 

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