Q. I recently moved to Pahrump and would like to grow some vines to cover the east facing side of my home. I am considering Clematis which the nursery says will grow in my zone but I am concerned that it is too hot here. Will they grow? Do you have suggestions for vines other than trumpet vines?
A. Clematis will grow in Las Vegas as well as Pahrump. However, it is one of those plants that struggles in our desert soils and our desert climate. It will handle our desert climate as long as it has a good growing environment and not planted in a real hot location. It will perform best facing east or north. If on the South or West side, do not plant it close to anything that reflects heat during the summer. It will require a little bit more gardening knowledge on your part to grow this plant.
Amend the soil thoroughly where you are planting it. Dig the hole wide but only deep enough to accommodate the roots of the plant. Use a good quality compost or soil mix in the backfill surrounding the roots. Cover the soil surrounding the vine with 3 to 4 inches of wood chip mulch. Stake the plant the first season of growth. Fertilize only in the early spring with the general fertilizer. Prune the vine to accommodate whatever growth you're trying to achieve.
Water it deeply and infrequently as you would any tree or shrub which does not originate from a desert. The key to growing this plant is planting it in the right location, amending the soil properly at the time of planting and the use of wood chip mulch on top of the soil.
Other vines to consider include American Ivy which is also called Virginia creeper, Australian Pea-Vine, Banksia Rose, Carolina Jasmine, Cat’s Claw, Coral Vine, English Ivy, Euonymus, Grape, Honeysuckle, Japanese Ivy, Star Jasmine and Chinese Wisteria.