Fallopia Russian Vine Mile a minute plant
Fallopia common names Russian Vine and Mile a Minute plant
This climber is always described as very vigorous, in reality it can be rampant and hard to control. Ideal if you have large space or structure you want to cover, but it does come with a gardening health warning it grows quickly and will can easily outgrow it's welcome.
Having said that as the images show it really does have 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, and has wooded stems and looks good trailing over walls. It is very easy to grow, try stopping it; Russian Vine will grow almost anywhere although Fallopia do have a preference for sun where it will flower best, and with well drained soil. Good to know also that 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 very easy 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. Because it is so easy it is a green wheelbarrow plant. It will grow up to 12m which is around 40ft. Fallopia grows very fast and beware as it may smother any other plants in its way. It belongs to pruning group 11 and can be pruned in the Spring. That said it would be hard work and optimistic to think it could be kept in check by regular pruning. 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 it 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 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 to try and hide, although deciduous, the Russian Vine will quickly do this. It can grow between 3-6 metres (10-20feet) per year. It is a woody climber which once established has very significant roots and thus not easy to remove if you decided its the wrong plant.
If you inherit a Mile an 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 re apply several times. Bear in mind as a weedkiller "Roundup" will kill everything it comes into contact with and needs to be used carefully.
Bear in mind also that it's other common name, is the 'Mile a Minute' plant and not for nothing is it also know as this.
It is tough, trouble free, long flowering and attractive to bees so a lot going for it, but it can be uncontrollable and a very fastgrower.
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 Wisteria, Honeysuckle, Passion flower, Ivy and many more.
The flowers appear in late Summer and early Autumn. This variety F.baldschuanica has the RHS garden merit award.
For Seasonal gardening tips check out the Sunday Gardener's monthly newsletter