Who hasn’t appreciated a majestic home wrapped in Boston ivy or a rustic cottage tucked away in Virginia creeper?
Climbing plants add character to a home’s front, contribute to its personality, and create a sense of permanency. Vine plants have long stems that can cascade, climb, or creep.
Flowering vines provide colour and texture to underutilized areas of your garden while also providing privacy and screening.
They can be annual or perennial, and there are vines for almost every USDA Hardiness Zone.
But, while they’re lovely to look at, one can’t help but wonder, “Are those vines causing harm?”
This article looks at climbing vines and their impact on home exteriors.
There are many different varieties of vines, such as annual crops and perennials, soft-stemmed and woody, seasonal and deciduous, blooming and fruiting, non-clinging, and clingy vines.
Non-clinging varieties, such as purple passionflower, must be “trained” to climb by using supports like twine and trellises.
Clinging varieties can climb on their own, looking for surfaces to attach to for support.
They can complete this extraordinary task because they possess one or more of the following:
- Aerial rootlets
- Disks that stick together
- Twining growth pattern
Let’s define each one and look at some examples.
1. Aerial Rootlets
Aerial rootlets resemble small fibres on the stems of plants. They are called adventitious because they grow in response to a need, in this case, support for the plant as it fulfills its intrinsic need to climb. Boston ivy and Japanese climbing hydrangea are a few examples.
Furthermore, most plants require light. Some people even physically turn toward it, a condition known as positive phototropism.
Others, on the other hand, turn away from the light. This is known as skototropism, also known as negative phototropism.
Tropical monstera, also known as the Swiss cheese plant is an example of a negatively phototropic species.
It has clinging aerial roots and grows toward dark fissures in tree bark, where it can burrow and strengthen before moving upward in quest of sunlight.
Tendrils are narrow stems that serve as sensors for a plant, reaching out to grasp something.
There are two kinds of them:
Leaf tendrils are coiled stems that emerge from a leaf node and do not have a long feeler stem.
Stem tendrils emerge from the main stem at any point along its length. They resemble extremely narrow, leafless stems that terminate in a spring-like coil.
Positive thigmotropism refers to a tendril’s proclivity to wrap around something it comes into contact with.
Squash, Cucurbita species, and grapes, Vitis vinifera, are examples of stem tendril plants.
3. Disks that stick together
Clematis is a flowering climber that clings to support by wrapping its leaf stems around it.
A sticky material at the tips of aerial roots and tendrils may aid in sticking to surfaces. The English ivy is an example of a vine with aerial roots and sticky disks. Virginia creeper has tendrils with sticky ends.
Sticky disks or holdfasts are the names given to these gluey dabs. They function similarly to suction cups.
4. Twining Growth Pattern
Twining is a plant habit that leads stems to spiral in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. This is known as circumnutation.
Twining stems reach, winding around other plants, poles, or even themselves as they grow, regardless of whether there is anything accessible to wind around.
Morning glory, Ipomoea spp., hyacinth bean, Lablab purpureus, trumpet honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens, and wisteria, Wisteria spp. are examples of species with this habit.
There are plants that, in addition to vines, display vine-like behaviour, such as ground-covering periwinkle, Vinca minor, and climbing and rambling roses. They, like non-clinging vines, can be trained to “climb.”
With this information under our belts, let’s take a look at what might happen when climbing foliage comes into touch with a building.
Dangers Of Climbing Vines
- Clinging perennials with tendrils and aerial rootlets, particularly those with sticky disks, represent a significant hazard to vulnerable structures.
- Because they do not climb on their own, non-clinging plants pose the least risk to exteriors. Instead, they rely on a trellis or other structure for support, which keeps them away from the facade of a building.
- Twining varieties, particularly woody ones, can have huge diameter stems, sometimes as thick as tree limbs, with the ability to remove downspouts and shutters, clog gutters, and undermine sheathing, shingles, and siding.
- Water, rodents, and insects may be drawn inside by deteriorating elements such as cracked masonry and gaps around windows and doors.
- Others value climbers’ ability to absorb pollution and prevent salt damage. Vines such as English ivy leave sticky disks and tendrils behind that are so entrenched that they stay in place as dry brown bones of their previous selves, leaving surfaces unpaintable and ugly.
How To Avoid Vine Damage
- Determine the method by which it is clinging. If it has tendrils that look to be embedded or that are dislodging building materials, it is best to seek an expert for removal and repairs.
- On the other hand, if your house is in good physical shape, your vine appears to be nonfarm, and it receives plenty of sunlight, simply keep it clipped away from doors, downspouts, gutters, the roof, and wires, and enjoy it.
- If you want to grow a perennial variety but don’t want to risk harm, consider utilizing a framework like wood lattice to provide something for it to cling to. Place the lattice or other support structure at least one foot away from your house.
- If you must anchor it to the house, consult a professional to avoid the formation of cracks that can be penetrated by water, insects, and rodents.
- Aside from lattice, some people construct support structures out of wood-framed wide wire mesh.
- They frequently include hinges to allow the homemade trellis to fold down or open sideways for home maintenance such as painting, pointing, or power washing. They then close it and secure the hinges.
Are Climbing Plants Bad?
Plants winding their way up your outside walls can be very attractive, but the actual damage that some plant life causes to your house’s exterior walls may make some people reconsider allowing the plant to grow in the first place.
By no means are all climbing plants bad for your house; some might truly bring benefits in terms of style and eco-friendliness; nonetheless, some climbing plants are particularly aggressive in the way they anchor themselves to your walls.
If left unchecked, they have the potential to cause serious structural issues.
Do Climbers Damage Walls?
They can, indeed, cause damage to wood, vinyl siding, and masonry walls.
Aerial roots prefer porous materials like bricks and stones. They’ll grow into them just fine. Old mortar is particularly prone to deterioration.
Vine damage to wood is also a concern. Because wood is porous, aerial roots and suckers can easily grow. Vine can collect moisture and shade walls, making them rot-prone.
Which Climbers Do Well In Pots?
Climbers grown in containers are extremely flexible, giving another depth to the landscape, softening hard lines, and creating a burst of colour and interest.
They are ideal for adding height to patios and even balconies, as well as providing additional privacy from nosy neighbours. Most climbers can be grown in containers, however, some are better suited than others, and some are appropriate but only in extremely big pots.
Some climbers that can grow well in pots include
- Virginia Creeper
- Trumpet Vine
- Climbing Hydrangea
We can conclude that having vines in your home is beneficial because it adds beauty and personality to the environment. However, if left unchecked, they can attract pests, have an unsightly exterior appearance, and cause damage to your home.
Keep in mind that these are minor issues that can be easily resolved if detected in time. Do you have vines in your house? What has your experience been like with these plants? Tell us in the comments!