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University of Illinois Extension
Vines: Climbers & Twiners

Methods of Attachment

try to match the method of attachment of the vine to the structure or support you want to coverHow a vine supports and attaches itself and the selection of the right kind of support structure go hand in hand. Unfortunately, many vines are chosen for their decorative qualities with no consideration or thought given to how or if they will be able to grow on the support available. So, try to match the method of attachment of the vine to the structure or support you want to cover.

Vines climb and support themselves by using either twining stems, tendrils, aerial roots or adhesive disks sometimes called hold fasts.

Vines that twine will physically wrap their stems around supports. In this case, poles, chain-link fence, wire, trellises or arbors provide the best support. Wisteria, trumpet vine, and honeysuckle are examples.

Vines with tendrils use thin flexible, leafless stems that wrap around supports. Thin poles or light lattice (3/4 inch or less in diameter), wire, twine or chain-link fence are suggested supports.  Grape is a classic vine with tendrils.

Another vine that prefers wire, chain-link fence or small thin lattice is clematis. This vine uses its petioles (the short stem that attaches the leaf to the plant) to wrap around the support.

Vines with aerial roots such ad Baltic ivy or climbing hydrangea use small root-like structures that grow out from the sides of the stems to support themselves. These root-like structures attach best to rough textured surfaces such as masonry, very rough textured wood and bark.

Vines with hold fasts use disk-like adhesive pads to attach themselves to most any smooth surface. Boston ivy and Virginia creeper are examples.