As part of the patio “make over” we had a planter box built on top of a cement retaining wall. The goal is to grow some type of hanging, trailing, meandering vine that will hide the wall over time.
We initially tried sweet potato vines at the base of the wall, but due to the wall’s orientation we could not make those darn things grow. The soil in front of the wall is fairly shallow combined with limited natural light, the sweet potato vines were sorta doomed from the start I think.
So now we have ripped them out and are back at square one. After doing some research, I think we have settled on a few different options:
Parrot's Beak//Lotus berthelotii
Photo Credit: Davesgarden.com
Each of the plants according to the nursery as well as the online gardening blogs do well in part sun/part shade, need only about 8-12 inches of soil to fully blossom and are drought tolerant once established.
While I love the orange flowers and unique leaves of the Parrot’s Beak, I am concerned that it may not be as hardy as they nursery makes it out to be. In addition, the Spanish Shawl has a drop of about 2-3 feet which would leave about 3 feet of exposed wall and covering the concrete is a major reason we installed the planter box.
So that brings me to the Aptenia Cordifolia and the Silver Falls. To be upfront, I already own both of these plants and love each for different reasons. The Silver Falls is currently in the pots at the front of the house and provides a beautiful silvery green cascade of foliage down one of the pots. However, the vines are a tad too delicate for my liking. On several occasions I have snagged my bag on them and broken off segments. Considering that the planter box is next to a high traffic area, I am concerned that the vines won’t stand up to be being constantly brushed against.
That leaves us with the Aptenia Cordifolia which is actually a ground cover but can be used in hanging pots and planters. In the same family as succulents, the vines are a bright green with pink flowers during the summer months. It trails up to 4 feet and the vines are thick and sturdy. An added bonus is that it propagates through cuttings. Therefore, if a section dies, I can simply cut a piece off and replant it…. so it’s the plant that keeps giving!
And oh being the cheap wad I can be at times, Home Depot sells flats of the Aptenia for $13 while all the other plants are sold for about $4-$5 a pot. If my calculations are correct, I would only need 2 flats to fill the planter while I would need about 8-12 pots for the others.
With all this being said, it seems like I have a front-runner with the Aptenia Cordifolia. What do you all think? Any suggestions for trailing vines? Any of you have these plants in your own yard? Leave a comment and tell me your experiences or thoughts!