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Silver Lace Vine

Silver lace vine is a popular but somewhat controversial twining climber due to its extremely vigorous growth habit. This makes it an ideal plant to cover extensive areas quickly, but it can also grow too vigorously and be considered invasive. It should only be planted in places where enough space is available, or in a container to restrain its rootstock. High maintenance: it needs to be pruned often, so take this into consideration when you are planning for a high greening.  

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Polygonum (Fallopia) aubertii: Fleece vine, silver fleece vine, Russian vine

Flowering Fleece Vine
Flowering Fleece Vine

To Thrive...

Silver lace vine is happy in a sunny, semi-shaded, or shaded location. It is not very fussy in terms of soil, but moist and nutrient-rich soil will encourage growth and longer lasting foliage in autumn. Distance between plants: 4 - 8 metres when planted in the ground.  

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Characteristics and Pruning

This is a strong twiner -- one of the most vigorous climbers -- and can grow up to 20 meters high, up to 8 meters per year, forming dense leaf mats with overhanging / cascading / trailing shoots. As stem development is considerable, overgrowth on downpipes, lightning conductors, etc.. must be avoided at all costs (similar to wisteria). The trunk quickly becomes very thick. When planted together with other climbers, it will quickly displace other plants. New shoots starting March / April. With enough water and mild weather (and/or in a protected location), its foliage will last until November. Flowering is continuous from July to September; fruits are rare. Vigorous pruning towards the end of winter usually benefits the silver lace vine. Plant this vine only in areas which provide adequate space for its vigorous growth habit.

Climbing Supports for the Facade

Silver lace vine needs sturdy and rigid rod-like growth supports designed for the anticipated plant height and width. Lightning conductors, downpipes, eave gutters, and the like should not be reachable by the plant, so keep a distance (horizontally and vertically) of at least 1.5 m between climbing aids and such building elements. Follow the 'parallel trunk/stem guidance' as described for wisteria; shoots will need to be unwound from trellis rope. For suitable rope systems, see below. Use only a heavy / massive wire rope system, or when planting in a container: an easy basicbasic-s, or medium trellis.


Suitable wire rope systems?

Click the image to see which cable systems are compatible with silver lace vine.

Silver lace vine on wire trellis, Püchau Castle / Saxony
The back of a cubical multi-storey parking garage, which has been embellished with a gable roof and a timber pergola to blend in with the historic district, both greened with silver lace vine on wire ropes.
Street greening with silver lace vine
Three vertical greened trellises with Polygonum aubertii

"Wild" greenings...

Here are some examples of some untamed silver lace vine greenings... that is, fleece vine that has not been pruned.

Unbelievable but true: a single silver lace vine can become such a creature!
Fleece vine has overgrown this old building.
Silver lace vine is sometimes regarded as an aggressive plant.
This small building is covered completely by Polygonum aubertii
A 'very' organic food store covered in Russian vine
Silver lace vine on a small gable
A whiff of sub-culture: silver lace vine overgrowing a trendy pub
Street greening with silver lace vine, Wagnergasse in Jena / Thüringen
Small alley (Wagnergasse) in Jena / Thüringen
Wild sprawling silver lace vine
Greenery on a holiday mansion
Greened villa
Greening of a WBS-70 building in Germany
Silver lace vine camouflages 2 ventilation ducts. But, overgrowing of the eave gutter must be avoided.
Silver lace vine threatening roof drainage
The typical winter "decoration" of the fleece vine is not everyone’s "cup of tea..."

"Half-wild" greenings

Here you can see greenings where climbing aids guide the vine as it spreads, yet keep it away from the edge of the roof (eaves) and other sensitive structures.

Greened facade, Russian vine
Russian vine on an old workshop
Silver lace vine on an apartment building
Silver lace vine on a wire rope system, renovated GDR building from the GDR era (Germany)
Greening of an insulated wall
Silver lace vine on a wooden trellis, budding in spring
Silver lace vine on a building
Another greened building, silver lace vine
Silver lace vine and other climbing plants at an entrance
Polygonum aubertii greening a facade
'Wall garden' with silver lace vine
Silver lace vine growing into shaded grids-- an effect intended here
On this wintry night, the poorly pruned sliver lace vine above the street light exudes a rather romantic and "Christmasy" air...
Unpruned silver lace vine on wire trellis system in winter

Well-trimmed greenings

Facade greenings with silver lace vine can also look very neat and tidy when trained correctly and consistently pruned!

Young silver lace vine on a wire rope system 4020 (heavy construction style)
This is how well-pruned and trained silver lace vine greenings can look
Well-trimmed greenery with Polygonum aubertii
Strictly-pruned greening on a house
Green wall, strictly-trained silver lace vine
Polygonum aubertii on a trellis
Well cared for wall trellis with Polygonum aubertii
'Facade garden' -- Russian vine
Even a large facade greening can look neat and tidy thanks to pruning, as with this silver lace vine on wire ropes.
Russian vine climbing a wall, supported by wire ropes

Greening other structures and objects

Green walls, pergolas, banisters, fences, privacy screens...

Good example of the vigorous growth of Russian vine on wire rope system 5040, shortly after planting
Same wall as in the previous picture - only 1 year later!
Green wall, Polygonum aubertii, overhanging growth
Overhanging greenery - silver lace vine
Greened embankment / retaining wall
This Russian vine has climbed over a wall and overgrown a chimney.
Silver-lace vined archways
Green roof with polygonum on a rubbish site area
Pergola with silver lace vine
Greening up gates, etc.. with silver lace vine is not the most efficient choice; it requires quite a bit of maintenance because of its vigorous growth.
Russian vine on a pergola
Fire exit stairs with silver lace vine
Silver lace vine is well suited for cultivation in pots, here as a green screen in a street cafe. In pots it grows to much less gigantic proportions than when planted in the ground.

Botanical Features

Here a closer look at the flowers, stems / trunks, and pruning... and also some examples of structural damage that fleece vine can cause. For preventing damage, this vine should be guided parallel to wire ropes, as described for wisteria.

Flowers of Polygonum, enlarged
These (not always so obvious as here) knotty thickenings in the old wood resulted in its related family name 'knotweed.'
Russian vine on a fence before and after pruning
Silver lace vine and other plants after pruning
Silver lace vine pushes even sturdy steel cables off their axis, over-loading / stretching them, which can also cause damage to the mounting brackets.

Wire Rope Systems for Silver Lace Vine

Please click on the graphics for details!

suitable             = of limited suitability             = unsuitable