by Liz


Vine on a Fence

Hello! I was just curious…I have a vine along my back fence. It is mostly shaded and it has these darling little shoots that have reached up and grabbed onto a tree limb above it.

I wondered…because I know nothing of real plant science…is the ‘satellite’ vine able to do it’s photosynthesis thing for the good of the whole of the vine, or does it just help the leaves and vine that are in the sun itself? In other words, does it share and pass along its benefits from the sunlight?

-Curious in Texas

Comments for Vines in the shade, reaching for the sun

Dec 24, 2020

You’ve got it!
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

This strategy is exactly why vines of all kinds are so successful. They not only lean towards the light, they have the ability to grow towards it too.

This makes it possible for them to chase the light around, even if their roots are shaded, and no light reaches the lower leaves. Quite often, vines adapt to this by losing the lower leaves entirely, while the upper portion of the stem stays growing and healthy.

The sugars or carbohydrates that are formed by the presence of chlorophyll (which makes the leaf green) are transported to the roots, and then the plant moves them around, combined with nutrients from the soil that are picked up by the roots, and the plant uses these to make new leaves and shoots.

So yes, they share the goodness throughout the entire plant, even those leaves that are not in the sun.