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Fast growing climbing plant for sun protection

 
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Hi,

I live in France, in an urban appartment with a garden to the East-South-East. Last year we had a tough (for local standards) heatwave and drought. I'm not expecting the climate to suddenly get cooler, so I'm looking for strategies to create shade close to the house quickly. I know kiwis make good shade over the years, I've also seen thick passifloras on pergolas. But I'm looking for a plant that would grow in a matter of months, and that would be either annual or deciduous because we don't have sunny winters.
Last year I saw a plant that looked a lot like morning glory, which had been installed on concrete in a big crate, and which grew to perhaps 2,5 meters high to make some pretty thick shade. That got me thinking, hence my question.

Thanks !

 
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Malabar spinach is a quick growing vining plant that I have used to create shade in the summer. In my experience, once the weather is consistently above 75F it starts growing rapidly. Then it dies back when cooler temperatures arrive after the summer. Malabar spinach also forms loads of edible, though tasteless berries which will cause the plant to aggresively reseed itself and grow back the following year. I consider that to be a good thing, but if you are not committed to having malabar spinach in that spot every summer then I would not recommend growing it. I personally love it in my yard. I harvest leaves all summer for juicing and sauteeing, and still the plant thickly fills out the arch trellis I have it growing on.

I initially bought a pack of seeds from Baker Creek on rareseeds.com but now I have more seeds and plant starts than I could possibly ever give away.
 
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I've thought about this same situation for my house.  I'm afraid to use perennials since even with the leaves down, they block a lot of sun all winter (hardy kiwis, grapes).  

In the annual plant department I've thought of pole beans and hops.  I'm thinking hops is the ticket.  They grow really tall in one summer.  My garden pole beans will grow to 9-10 feet and produce food but I'm guessing they won't reach max height until the summer heat is nearly over.  

Maypop or passion fruit may be an option but I don't know if you can cut them back to the ground each year to let winter sun through and I'm not sure how fast they grow up.
 
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I think malabar spinach is a great idea. Grows really fast, tolerates crappy soil and needs almost no care. The berries attract birds, and the leaves are good to eat.
My passionfruits drop their leaves in the cold but come back in the spring, although I am in an area that's probably much warmer. Not sure how they would behave in a colder place.
Hops also sounds like a good idea, and they are really pretty.
 
Pierre Ma
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Thank you all for your replies !
I'd never heard of Malabar spinach, but I want to give it a try, and my seed supplier in France has some in stock. In the meantime I've done more research on the internet, and people also mention scarlet runner bean. Do you have any experience with that ? Do you think it would make sense to sow both on the same spot ?
 
Tereza Okava
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In my experience scarlet runner is good for spring but suffers from heat. I am starting some right now for southern hemisphere autumn, in fact. Gorgeous plants, but if you get quite hot don't count on them.
 
pollinator
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Trumpet vine works well for that and can be cut back to the ground every year, but it has a tendency to spread like crazy.  It is great for hummingbirds though
 
Pierre Ma
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Thanks to everyone for the good replies. I'll try to post some pictures if my endeavour is successful.
 
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Madeira vine (anredera cordifolia) grows very fast and easily. It’s leaves and nodules are used in Chinese medicine.
 
pollinator
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Another suggestion might be Chocolate Vine (Akebia), which also gives tasty fruit - provided you have at least 2 genetically different plants for pollination. The variety Akebia quinata turned out to be winter-green outside at my place, in a sheltered position. I've also got an Akebia pentaphylla, which isn't entirely winter-green here, but has been in leaf again since the end of March, which is way earlier than most bushes and trees at my place. So Chocolate Vine will already provide shade in spring. It's a fast grower once established, but that might go for all climbers; they need a few years to establish themselves. If you want something for this year pole beans would indeed be a good suggestion.
 
Pierre Ma
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Dear all,

I thought I'd give some feedback on my pergola. I planted both Malabar spinach and climbing beans (their French name translates to Spanish Beans, but they also exist in Portugal, and in Greek they call them "gigantic"). The spinach have topped growning at around 15 cm, but the beans did the job quite well. I don't know what stunned the spinach (proximity with the beans ? Too dry ? not enough light ?).
See the picture attached.

So this proves that it's possible to have a few square meters of relative shade in summer with annuals where I live.
P8296554.JPG
[Thumbnail for P8296554.JPG]
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