How to Grow Fallopia Russian Vine 'Mile A Minute Plant'

Fallopia baldschuanica known as Russian Vine and Mile a Minute plant is very easy to grow, so easy you cannot stop it growing and it is invasive. I always describe this climber as very vigorous, in reality it can be rampant and hard to control. Ideal if you have a large space or structure you want to cover, but it comes with a gardening health warning as it grows quickly and can easily outgrow its welcome. 

On the plus side, as the images show, it really has lovely delicate flowers and attractive foliage. It is a deciduous climbing plant, which means it is not evergreen and drops its leaves in the autumn. It looks good trailing over walls, as shown in the image below. It is very easy to grow, try stopping it; Russian Vine will grow almost anywhere although Fallopia do prefer sun where it will flower best, and with well-drained soil.  It is tolerant of semi shade, and of poor soil and it is fully hardy down to H7. A rich soil will tend to produce more leaves than flowers. From this you can rightly guess it will grow pretty well anywhere. 

In terms of how to grow Fallopia, it is really a case of plant it and watch it grow. It is self supporting by its tendrils and when newly planted, like all new plants, water it well initially to ensure it does not dry out.   It will grow up to 12m which is around 40ft. Fallopia grows very fast and may smother any other plants in its way.

It is invasive in more than one way. It does grow very fast and will out compete anything in its way, scrambling its way to the top. However, it also has shoots which will not only twine but can force their way into cracks and spaces. This means if Russian Vine is grown over a structure, such as a shed, it can find its way into the building which is destructive to the structure and can cause problems. 

It belongs to pruning group 11 and can be pruned in the Spring. However, it would be hard work and optimistic to think  that a Russian Vine could be kept in check by regular pruning. There not enough pruning hours in the day bearing in mind it can grow 12 meters in a season. It makes Wisteria look timid.  Its size and fast growth means that it is a climber that you only plant if you really need this type of plant. I once inherited a Fallopia which grew over a not very well maintained out building, into which the vine quickly forced it's tendrils and within a short period of time the building became even less well maintained.

The Russian Vine, in common with some other vigorous,  climbing plants, can cause damage to structures. In my outbuilding it forced its way into cracks and did cause some damage. Equally if you have a structure that you want hide, although deciduous, the Russian Vine will quickly do this. It is a woody climber which once established has very significant roots and thus not easy to remove if you decided it's the wrong plant.

If you inherit a "Mile a minute plant" and want to get rid of it there are two basic ways. If you garden organically it is the hard work route, firstly chopping it down and removing all traces. Then you have to dig out the root completely to stop it coming back.  The alternative is to try and kill it with a weedkiller containing Glyphosate, which is found in many weed killers such as "Roundup", and it is likely you will need to reapply several times. Bear in mind as a weedkiller "Roundup" will kill everything it comes into contact with it needs to be used carefully. 

Bear in mind also, that the other common name of Fallopia baldschuanica is the 'Mile a Minute' plant  which says it all, and not for nothing is it also known as this.

It is tough, trouble free, long flowering and attractive to bees so the Russian Vine does have a lot going for it, but it can be uncontrollable and a very fast grower. 

Still looking for the ideal climbing plant? Take a look at Climbing plants for ideas on all sorts of climbing plants including detailed advice on Clematis. On this and other pages there are images and growing advice for many popular climbing plants such as WisteriaHoneysucklePassion flowerIvy and many more.

RHS Award of Garden Merit

RHS Award of Garden merit indicates plants tried and testing by the RHS and are usually good varieties to purchase. The variety F.baldschuanica has the RHS garden merit award. 

Looks good trailing over a wall

fallopia Russian Vine looks good trailing over a wall

Green Wheelbarrrow plant

Green wheelbarrow plant means easy to grow

Green Wheelbarrow indicates that a plant is easy to grow and requires no maintenance

Key Points to Growing Russian Vine

Fully Hardy

Tolerant of all growing conditions 

Very  vigorous, if not rampant

Likely to smother other plants  best grown on its own

Updated 14.10.2019