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Consider skipping the hardware store the next time you need to dress up an unsightly building or repaint a fence. Track down a cross vine and add lush green foliage and stunning red, orange, and yellow blooms to your structure instead. This easy-to-grow woody vine—a close relative of trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)—clings to most any surface thanks to its twining tendrils that end in adhesive disks. It blooms for months from late spring through summer and can reach 30 feet long in a very short time.
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Part Sun, Sun
20 feet or more
6 to 9 feet
Cross vine is a favorite food source for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Pair cross vine with easy-to-grow perennials and shrubs and host your own backyard nectar buffet. Great perennials for pollinators include bee balm (Monarda didyma), salvia (Salvia spp.), milkweed (Asclepias spp.), Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium spp.), Agastache, and coneflower (Echinacea spp.). Excellent small-to-medium shrubs for pollinators include weigela, rhododendron, butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.), and Caryopteris.
In addition to planting cross vine and other nectar-rich plants, you may want to upgrade your pollinator-friendly habitat by eliminating pesticide and herbicide use in your landscape. Choose organic methods of pest control and practice mechanical removal of weeds and bothersome plants. Check with your local extension service for effective chemical-free methods to control weeds and pests.
Cross Vine Care Must-Knows
Cross vine thrives in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. If grown in shade, it will produce loads of foliage but not as many flowers. Count on cross vine to remain evergreen in warm regions and semi-evergreen in Zones 6 and 7—where some leaves turn reddish-purple in fall and drop. Water cross vine regularly the first season after planting to establish a strong root system. You can water less frequently after the plant is established.
Prune cross vine in fall or winter after it stops blooming, cutting vines back by half or more if needed to keep the plant inbounds. Stop cross vine's spread by removing root suckers that will eventually form new plants.