I just built a wire wall trellis on the south facing wall of my house and I am wanting to grow something that will help shade the house in the summer and die back in the winter. Any ideas of some plants would be helpful, especially if they are fruit producing or great for pollinators. I live just outside of Boise, Idaho in zone 7A. I am also planning on growing some hops on an eaves trellis on the other side of a window on that side too.
How about pole beans or scarlet runner beans? They should get tall about mid summer to provide shade (and beans). A perennial option could be hardy kiwi but I'm not sure if it would fit or look good in winter hanging on the house.
One thing to keep in mind is that you might be able to grow plants that would normally be too tender in your area. However, a catch is that the aboveground parts of such plants may actually be at a disadvantage on a south facing wall. So tender, dieback perennials would be worth a shot. Maybe a variety of fig that fruits on the new wood, so that it could be cut back in the winter? Or fiber bananas, which also come back from the crown?
first thought is Maypop, native Passionflower, beautiful, vigorous, easy, would cover the trellis- also produces fruit (eventually, they need to get well established) AND good for pollinators, particularly butterflies.
another thought is clematis, of any type, there are hundreds of types. beautiful, pollinator friendly, easy and super prolific, no fruit though.
it might also be a good place for some grape vines, which would also work for your stated purpose....you would need to find the right kind. there are quite a few, mostly native american types, that can grow in zone 7...but theres also many which prefer a warmer 7B at least...and do best in zone 8 and 9. your extra heat coming from the south side of the house would help though, so you may be able to grow any type of grape.
alex hackett wrote:Thank you all for your suggestions, they were all very helpful and creative! I am going to look into the hardy kiwi, fiber banana and Maypop passionflower for that space.
with both hardy kiwi and passionflowers you will want to plant at least four of each.
passionflower needs multiple plants to properly pollinate it, they dont have to be different types just different plants or seedlings from the same batch.
different varieties, even slightly different, cross pollinate each other well. the landrace varieties of each region where they grow wild in abundance, have subtle difference to make them good for cross pollination.
another words you should seek plants and seeds from several sources, and grow at least 4 different ones, for the amount of space you want them to fill in.
the hardy kiwi has male and female plants, and you want to get one male for 3-4 females.
i start kiwis from seed, hoping this gives me a good chance of getting males too. i would purchase starter plants somewhere though if you want to see fruit in the next few years.
it takes a long time but kiwi seeds start up well...its pretty easy to start kiwis from the fruit. if you can get some fresh hardy kiwis to plant the seeds, ferment them a little (in their own pulp), clean them through rinsing... and then plant them on the top of prepared wet potting soil.
then use a humidity dome or wrap some plastic wrap around top of pot, otherwise mist them frequently so the top of the soils dont dry out. you press them into the soil, but they start best just sown on the surface of the soil.
keeping them through being sprouts to being well established plants can be tricky, but one kiwi will eventually make dozens of plants if you baby them for a year or 2.
they thin themselves out a lot, so plant the seed thickly, 25 or more to a little starter pot.
also you would be ale to grow the other kind of kiwi, the more common type and also the golden kiwi, which is my personal favorite =).
i have grown the warmer region type kiwi in zone 8a, and it does very well there. i think the extra warmth and sun from the south side, combined with the extra warmth coming from your house, you could plant the common kiwi, which is not that cold hardy...
i think officially most kiwis are considered hardy to zone 8, 7b. actually there are at least 6 kiwi types that are generally not cold hardy, and i think you could plant any of those, and have the conditions of the southern exposure and warmth from your house give you an extra zone of warmth.
another super awesome thing about kiwis is that they are a winter fruit. they produce late in the year. they store for a long time too, so they produce fresh fruit in a time when there isnt a lot of garden produce available.
This looks like a job for .... legal tender! It says so right in this tiny ad: