ASK CARIANNE – Is there a native vine for the chain link fencing of our dog run?

Posted Apr 07, 2021

Dear Carianne: Is there a native vine that will grow on the outside of the chain link fencing of our dog run? Nothing toxic to dogs, of course.

thanks, John

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Dear John,

What a great question! Unfortunately when I started digging a bit, I found that some of my favorite native vines for climbing on chain link (e.g., twining milkweed vine [Funastrum cynanchoides], Arizona honeysuckle [Lonicera arizonica], virgin’s bower [Clematis drummondii], and canyon grape [Vitis arizonica]) are NOT dog safe!

Luckily, there are still some options even though the playing field is narrowed. Snapdragon vine (Maurandya antirrhiniflora) is a delicate scrambler with red, pink, or purple flowers that are attractive for hummingbirds. This species will reseed itself and is very low maintenance once established. But each plant will only cover about a 3 x 3 area and you may want something a bit more robust to create privacy and shade. Here are a couple to look into:

  • Passionvine (Passiflora arizonica, P. arida, P. mexicana, P. foetida, and others). Passionvines have incredibly dramatic flowers and are important larval host plants for butterflies. If your dogs eat too much, they are likely to get an upset stomach, but the plants are considered dog-safe. Native varieties can be harder to find, but monsoon season is a good time to visit native plant nurseries in search of these beauties.
  • Queen’s wreath (Antigonon leptopus). Also called coral vine, this one is native to Sonora and farther south, but does really well in Arizona’s low deserts. It is a show-stopper with it bright pink-magenta flowers in the summer. Be sure to consider the fact that this vine is very attractive to bees.

Good luck and happy planting!

Cheers,  Carianne,