Wandering Wire Vine

It's hard to find room for a plant which has neither showy flowers nor evergreen leaves to boast of, however, Muehlenbeckia deserves a spot in many gardens.

It shines planted alone, as the finely textured, black stems are the perfect foil for the astonishingly round, glossy leaves. It is both tough enough to look after itself and fast enough to be noticed despite its diminutive height, plus it quickly forms a dense mat which weeds are unlikely to penetrate.

Why mulch your rose garden with bark dust when you could mulch it with wire vine? That long, grey, unbroken retaining wall could look more like a living waterfall in just a couple years. How about a hanging basket? I bet it would trail to the ground in one season. Try it in a container with Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon 'Nigrescens') and an upright Flowering Maple (Abutilon sp.) for a show stopping container for part shade that blooms from May until December.

It's the leaves' unique ability to stay in excellent condition from March through November (or later) which makes all these uses suitable, no cutting back or grooming is generally required.

Some varieties you can find at Portland Nursery include:

Muehlenbeckia complexa

Muehlenbeckia complexa

Architectural round leaves give an effective illusion of water flowing when trailing out the side of a pot or over a rock wall. Black stems provide excellent contrast for the glossy, mid-green leaves.

4"H x 20-30'W.

Zone 7.

Muehlenbeckia axillaris

Muehlenbeckia axillaris (syn. Muehlenbeckia 'Nana')

Tiny little leaves make it look like a delicate little rockery plant, but don't plant it in a small space, it spreads just as fast as its larger leafed relatives (up to 20' wide). Leaves turn bronzy before dropping in late fall/early winter. Z7

Muehlenbeckia 'Big Leaf'

Muehlenbeckia 'Big Leaf'

This variety is of unknown parentage, but is perhaps a large leafed selection of Muehlenbeckia complexa. It's certainly very similar to that species except for the larger leaves. Z7

Muehlenbeckia complexa var. microphylla

Leaf size is bigger than Muehlenbeckia 'Big Leaf' but smaller than Muehlenbeckia complexa. Compact habit. Z7