That's Just Vine With Me: Whether Or Not To Grow Vines On Your Iron Fence
If you are installing an iron fence around your yard, you are also installing a perfect trellis for vines. It's very common to see iron fence posts wrapped in lovely green vines, but you have to be sure you know what you're getting into before adding these plants. Vines aren't the most difficult plants to care for -- in fact, they can be rather gardener-friendly -- but they do have their requirements. Here's what to consider if you think vines might be a good addition to your iron fence.
Vines that grow quickly will fill in the spaces between the fence posts for sure, providing some very nice privacy if you have a tall fence. The vines also help absorb sound and block wind, making your home nicer to be in if you live in a windy area or near a noisy road. You have to be sure to choose a vine that will not lose its leaves in winter, though, because that would render the privacy issue moot. Boston ivy is an example of a deciduous vine; for evergreen vines, choose certain cultivars of bougainvillea or Carolina jessamine. If you don't want neighbors looking into your yard, adding a vine could be a good idea.
Fragrance, Fruit, and Flowers
Adding a vine, or even just using the fence as a trellis for vining vegetable plants like pole beans, livens up the garden and provides you with sweet-smelling, colorful flowers, and eventually fruit (or, again, vegetables). Choose passionfruit cultivars for large flowers and prolific fruit (note that some cultivars are evergreen and some deciduous, so choose accordingly), trumpet vine for large flowers, or star jasmine for a strong but sweet fragrance.
Vines, like other plants, attract bugs. This is an issue that can influence your decision either way. Vines that attract butterflies and ladybugs, for example, are beneficial for the rest of your garden. Mexican flame vine, for example, is great for attracting butterflies if monarchs happen to pass through your neighborhood. Vines that attract bees can be beneficial unless you have a bee allergy. Vines that attract other bugs, though, might not be so beneficial if the bugs are of the pest variety. If you are careful to choose a vine that attracts beneficial bugs and that is pest-resistant otherwise, adding a vine can be good. If you're unable to get or unwilling to care for one of those vines, though, stick with having a plain fence.
Maintenance of Vines
Speaking of caring for vines, having vines also means having to do regular maintenance on the vines. Fast-growing vines require frequent trimming to avoid having the vines go out of control. If you don't care for the vine properly and give it the water and fertilizer it needs, you'll end up with dead leaves and an unsightly mess. If you're not prepared to inspect and trim the vines that frequently, stick with having just the iron fence.
Vines cover fences rather thoroughly, so if your area gets a lot of rain, the vines can collect moisture and make it difficult for the moisture to evaporate. That can lead to rust on the fence and possible fungal issues. Those both make an otherwise pretty ornamental fence look terrible when the plants are removed. If moisture may be an issue, avoid the vines.
Note that even without a vine, environmental damage can be an issue for iron fences, so be prepared to repaint the fence every so often to keep it looking good. If you have more questions about caring for a fence and possibly adding a vine, talk to the fence contractors you're working with or click here for more info. Talk to a professional to see what they have noticed about how vines affect the fences.