Most gardens have something that needs screening from view—a compost bin, a neighboring house, an air-conditioning unit. Annual climbing plants grow fast and flower within the year, making them ideal subjects for providing a quick, temporary screen in the garden. Garden centers offer a wide range of annual climbers. Here are a few to look for:
Chilean glory flower (Eccremocarpus scaber; pictured) reaches 15 feet high and produces tubualr orange flowers in summer. It attracts hummingbirds. Prefers full sun and fertile, well-drained soil.
Commonly known as cathedral bells or cup and saucer plant, Cobaea scandens is one of the best annuals for screening. It’s a perennial in its native Mexico but in colder areas it is an annual that grows to 10 feet. Bell-shaped flowers start out greenish white and age to a rosy purple. They appear from midsummer to the frost and are followed by egg-shaped fruit. Prefers full sun, humid weather and plenty of water.
The morning glory Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’ flowers all summer with funnel-shaped blue flowers that have white throats. It grows 10 to 13 feet in a sheltered position with fertile soil and full sun. Morning glories tend to self-seed prolifically, so beware of where you place them.
Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are classic. Modern varieties have large pastel flowers with little fragrance; heirloom or “antique” varieties have smaller vibrant flowers with a rich scent. Sweet peas need moist but well-drained fertile soil and a sunny site.
Need help with seed propagation? Check out Horticulture’s Smart Gardening Techniques