Born to Run

Whether you are moving into a new home or settling into another sizzling summer at your current residence, if parts of your patio, porch or deck are in need of relief from the sun’s hot, incessant rays, an all-natural shady solution can be had with annual vines. There are many such vines that are not only fast growers, but they are full of sun-blocking foliage, and as a bonus, also put on fancy flower shows. You only have to provide a trellis, arbor or other means of vertical support, and then watch them climb!

Need examples? Here are a few beautiful annual vines that were born to run:

Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor)

Although a perennial in its native Central American locations, this morning glory is grown as an annual in our region. Always a reliable plant for gardeners, it is capable of stretching leaders up to 10 feet long that, as its name implies, show off handsome tubular flowers early in the day.

Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus)

As a bean-producing plant, this vine is more dependable further to the north where summertime temperatures typically range below 90 degrees and won’t damage the plant’s pollen. In the sunny South, this beauty will try and try to set bean pods with waves of bright red flowers along 10 to 15-foot vines from mid-June until the early autumn.

Firecracker Vine (Mina lobata)

Reddish-orange, yellow, white — these are the snappy flower colors of this vigorous vine that can stretch to more than 15 feet in length. The blooms don’t start putting on a show until mid to late summer, but their fireworks are worth the wait.

Cypress Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit)

Its feathery, fern-like foliage makes this vine seem delicate, but don’t be fooled — it is a strong climber that will easily reach 15 to 20 feet into the sky by the end of the summer, and it will be dripping with small, bright red, trumpet-shaped blooms that are hummingbird magnets.

Purple Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus)

As advertised, this vine produces beans, and they are even edible when properly cooked. However, the true value of this plant in the landscape is as a sprawling ornamental that not only produces runners up to 15 feet in length, but also sports pretty white to light lilac-colored flowers that freely mingle with maturing, sassy, purple-colored bean pods.

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