How to do Kudzu Companion Planting (Sort of…)

I’m here to help those of you who want early blooms to tide you over while your massive patch of kudzu is dormant. Plant partnering, if you haven’t tried it, is a pretty version of companion planting.

The premise is growing complimentary plants together — either due to color schemes, textural interest, or seasonal successions. Now that I’ve drifted away from my roots as an ornamental gardener I tend to partner mache under the skirts of eggplants, fennel with tomatoes, or edible calendulas hugging rainbow chard.

But back to ornamentals… today I discovered the perfect sister plant to kudzu, possibly the only thing that can even survive under its blanketing girth!

Photo Caption: I saw this in northern Greenville County, SC on my drive home this morning.

Yes that’s right, daffodils! I know that kudzu provides ample seasonal interest reminiscent of a wren’s nest the size of an Olympic swimming pool… it should be enough. But around March and April that tangled look gets old.

Photo Caption: I'm charmed that these daffodils survived even after the house succumbed.

Spruce up the spring with some naturalized daffodils. They’re the only living thing that can compete with a resource hog like kudzu and you won’t even have to decide when to mow the strappy leaves after they bloom. Your kudzu will take care of hiding their browning foliage like a champ!

Yeah, okay. I’m joking. I’ll write something serious very soon but it’s SPRING. Who wants to be inside?

Eliza Lord

I'm a Greenville, SC native (the Appalachian foothills) who wears the hats of Greenville Master Gardener & Upstate Master Naturalist. I love to write about food and sustainability.

14 thoughts on “How to do Kudzu Companion Planting (Sort of…)”

  1. Curbstone Valley Farm - March 19, 2010 8:19 pm

    I’m so glad we don’t have Kudzu here…I’ll try not to whine too much about our ‘invasive’ plants again. Good grief, that Kudzu looks like it could be responsible for a missing person or two! Pretty funny though, it would certainly hide that browning daffodil foliage!
    .-= Curbstone Valley Farm´s last blog ..Forget-Me-Nots =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - March 30, 2010 4:45 pm

      Sometimes I think about what this landscape might look like without kudzu. It’s hard to imagine…
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Find Edible Morel Mushrooms (With Recipes) =-.

      Reply
  2. Anna - March 19, 2010 8:26 pm

    I’m so glad you weren’t serious. I was about to have a heart attack if you were promoting planting kudzu. :-)

    Daffodils really are astonishingly hardy. When I bought my farm, it hadn’t been touched in decades and the area around the house was shoulder high in blackberries and Japanese honeysuckle. Then, in the spring, amid this mass of brambles, thousands of daffodils came up and bloomed! I was stunned.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..mark: Appalachian gate technology =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - March 30, 2010 4:56 pm

      Haha, other than goat fodder I can’t think of many good uses for kudzu. :) Awesome about your daffodils!
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Find Edible Morel Mushrooms (With Recipes) =-.

      Reply
  3. Sylvana - March 25, 2010 1:39 am

    Those daffodils certainly are troopers!
    .-= Sylvana´s last blog ..Earliest Garden Start EVER! =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - March 30, 2010 5:00 pm

      Yeah! I bet they will still be there when the foundation of the house has completely disintegrated.
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Find Edible Morel Mushrooms (With Recipes) =-.

      Reply
  4. Cory - March 29, 2010 12:04 pm

    All kidding aside. Kudzu patches are excellent environments for spring ephemerals. I have seen terrific patches of bloodroot and trillium blooming amongst the tangle of vines. Since kudzu is so late putting on leaves and new growth, these plants have ample sunlight to complete their lifecycle, plus a nearly unlimited supply of nitrogen from the brutish legume.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - March 30, 2010 5:01 pm

      Clemson Extension Cory?

      I hadn’t thought of them being symbiotic with native ephemerals but that makes sense!
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Find Edible Morel Mushrooms (With Recipes) =-.

      Reply
  5. tina - March 30, 2010 11:49 am

    And to think we’ve been working for a few years to irradicate the kudzu on our property!
    .-= tina´s last blog ..What’s Going On =-.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - March 30, 2010 5:03 pm

      You need some goats!
      .-= Sustainahillbilly´s last blog ..How to Find Edible Morel Mushrooms (With Recipes) =-.

      Reply
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  7. Meredith - April 1, 2010 4:16 pm

    Amazing. I’d never imagined anything could survive the sustained onslaught. Although as Cory points out, I am noting some lovely wee wildflowers in the huge patch near our neighborhood, where the vines are still bare. Good to know something native benefits from this horror! :)
    .-= Meredith´s last blog ..the very air is loud with spring =-.

    Reply
  8. Ewa in the Garden - April 2, 2010 9:03 am

    Ohhh! My!!! God!!! what an amazing picture is this – I can’t take my eyes away…
    .-= Ewa in the Garden´s last blog ..New Ewa in the Garden – new Blogger Template Designer =-.

    Reply
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