Plant questions and answers! This week: What plants will mask my ugly fence? Well, that will depend upon what you’re looking for… Do you want your fence to be hidden year round or just in the summer? (Ask your plant or gardening question.)
If you’re just looking for flowering plants to mask your fence during the summer months (here in North America, at least) you’ll have a lot of choices of tall flowering plants to help liven up your fence-line. Here are a few of my favorite:
Foxglovecomes immediately to mind and an easy-to-grow plant that can grow tall enough to hide a typical backyard fence. It blooms in June and July and comes in all shades of pink, purple and white.
Moonflower, though I’ve not grown it myself, makes a lovely flowering annual that you can use to cover fences. It relishes warmer climates and the hot summer months, climbing madly up strings that you can attach to the top of your fence. By day, large, heart-shaped leaves will screen your fence, and in the evening, the giant, white flowers open up—hence the name “Moonflower.”
Delphinium is also one of my favorites. These tall flowers come in striking shades of blue, purple, pink and white. Some varieties can grow as high as 6 feet, effectively masking a fence, if planted in masses.
Hollyhocks are fun to grow and can tower over nearly any fence. They gain height throughout the spring and blossom in mid-late summer. Their flowers are hibiscus-shaped and come in a variety of colors, including one of my favorites… black!
If you’re looking for a mask for your fence year-round, you’ll have fewer choices for flowering plants, but those choices will be good ones. You’ll likely want to find an evergreen perennial (that’s a plant that stays green all year and will grow for many years to come). Here are a couple of my favorite flowering evergreens:
Camelliasare an excellent choice to mask fences. Their dark green leathery leaves persist year-round and in the early spring they’re covered with large, rose-like blossoms of pink or white. They are often considered small trees, though, so you may need to be prepared to prune to keep their size under control.
Butterfly bushescan also make a good fence mask. They keep some of their leaves year-round and make spears of colorful (often purple) blossoms in early summer. Butterflies and hummingbirds go wild for these shrubs, hence the name!
If in-ground plants just aren’t going to work for you, maybe consider mounting basket hooks on your fence posts and try some hanging plants. These can be replaced as they stop blossoming. (Remember, with many varieties of flowering plant, trimming off spent blossoms prevents seed development and promotes new blossom growth.)