Arctic Beauty Kiwi
This deciduous climber's main attraction is the masses of leaves, which are purple-tinged when young, then turn dark green with distinctive pink and silver splashes. Small white flowers appear in early summer. Although the Arctic Beauty Kiwi is slow to establish, it is well worth the wait to watch it grow to 15 feet tall. Plant in well-drained soil where it will receive full sun.
Also known as the chocolate vine, the five-leaf akebia is a vigorous semievergreen with strong, twining stems which bear clusters of purplish flowers and unusual sausage-shaped fruits. Tolerant of full sun or partial sun and well-drained or moist soil, plant it against a wall or train it into a tree or pergola where it can grow to 30 feet tall.
The vigorous, deciduous porcelainberry is valued for its attractive foliage and round, pinkish-purple ornamental berries, which later turn a clear blue. Although porcelainberry can grow to its full height of 15 feet in partial shade, it prefers a sunny, sheltered wall with well-drained or moist soil.
'Madame Galen' Trumpet Vine
The trumpet creeper is a fast-growing, deciduous climber, which clings by aerial roots. In late summer or early fall, 'Madame Galen' bears clusters of tubular, reddish-orange flowers that look striking against the rich green leaves. It may take a few seasons to establish. Expect the trumpet vine to grow to 10-15 feet tall in ideal growing conditions: full sun and well-drained or moist soil.
Clematis is a popular climber that's easy to grow. Robust and tolerant of full or partial sun, and well-drained or moist soil, most clematis prefer a sheltered location where they can grow to between 15 and 30 feet tall. Some clematises can scramble up a tree, shed, wall or pergola on their own, while others need support; check labels to be sure you're buying the right clematis for your space. Of the hundreds of species, here are a few we love.
Evergreen clemetis, shown here, is a vigorous climber and one of the hardiest of the species. It bears glossy, dark green leaves and masses of small, white scented flowers. Anemone clematis is another white-flowered favorite that is adapts well to a wide variety of garden conditions.
For more color and exciting flower shape, go with the 'Bill MacKenzie' scrambling clematis, whose deliberately droopy yellow flowers are followed by large silky seedheads. Two other variants which feature bold color and shape are the 'Étoile Violette' and the Clematis florida var. sieboldiana. The former features masses of deep violet flowers with protruding cream-colored stamens while the latter features the reverse: white flowers with distinctive clusters of purple stamens.
Chilean Glory Vine
The Chilean glory vine is a fast-growing evergreen climber with long-lasting orange-red tubular flowers. In warmer areas it will quickly cover a trellis or pergola, or scramble through a large shrub or small tree. The Chilean glory fine will grow to 10-15 feet tall in ideal growing conditions: full sun and well-drained soil.
You're probably familiar with the classic look of English ivy (also known as common ivy) and some of its cultivars. But there are a lot more ivies out there, whose pleasantly unusual leaf characteristics can bring interest to your yard.
Persian ivy has large light green leaves with cream or yellow splashes. 'Sulphur Heart,' shown here, grows to 15 feet tall rapidly when planted in full sun and well-drained or moist soil. Another ivy known for its striking yellow palate is 'Goldheart,' a dark, glossy evergreen that can tolerate sun and self-cling to 25 feet tall. With a stunning leaf-shape that may cause you to do a double-take, 'Parsley Crested' ivy has exactly what its name suggests: dark green leaves that wave, crest and crinkle like the herb.
Although many hops make a good choice for shady walls and fences, the strong-growing perennial golden hops produces its best leaf color in full or partial sun. Choose a spot with well-drained or moist soil and watch it grow to 20 feet tall.
While hydrangeas are often through of as bushy shrubs, the climbing species can add significant vertical interest to a garden, up to 50 feet tall. Vigorous and self-clinging when mature, climbing hydrangea produces large, open lacecap heads of creamy-white flowers in summer. Plant in full or partial sun and well-drained or moist soil.
A twining, vigorous climber, woodbine honeysuckle can be grown alone or through a small tree or shrub. The spring foliage of the 'Serotina' varietal is lush, and followed by fragrant purple-streaked white flowers. Woodbine honeysuckle will grow to 22 feet tall in ideal growing conditions: full or partial sun and well-drained soil.
Also known as Boston ivy, P. tricuspidata is vigorous; when planted in full sun and well-drained soil it will cover a wall or other support quite quickly, clinging without assistance, to a whopping 70 feet tall. The cultivar 'Veitchii,' shown here, is noted for its fall color, when the green ivy-like leaves turn a deep red-purple before falling.
Another deciduous creeper whose leaves turn red in fall, but which only grows to 30 feet tall, is the Virginia creeper, also known as the silvervein creeper. A useful climber for growing on a wall, thanks to its sticky tendrils, Virginia creeper produces its best color in partial shade and well-drained or moist soil.
Blue Passion Flower
A good climber for a sunny, warm wall or fence, the blue passion flower is fast-growing, with striking multicolor blooms and orange-yellow ornamental fruits. Plant the blue passion flower in full sun and well-drained or moist soil, and watch it soar to 30 feet tall or higher.
Climbing roses are a beautiful, scented variation on the traditional stem or bush. 'Compassion,' shown here, has dark green leaves and apricot-tinged pink blooms whose long season can be prolonged by deadheading. Another cheerful climbing rose, the yellow flowering 'Golden Showers,' will tolerate shady conditions, and works well with blue- and purple-flowered clematis.
Climbing roses will grow to 10 feet tall when planted in ideal growing conditions: full sun and well-drained or moist soil.
Japanese Hydrangea Vine
Slow-growing Japanese hydrangea vines are mainly cultivated for their blooms - flattened heads of creamy-white flowers which appear in summer among the pointed green leaves. The plant will attach itself to a wall surface by aerial roots, and grow to 40 feet tall. Plant them in well-drained soil where they will receive full or partial sun.
Vigorous and sun-loving, potato vines outfit walls, fences and shrubs or small trees situated on well-drained or moist soil beautifully. As shown here, 'Glasnevin' produces long-lasting, deep purple-blue flowers, to 20 feet tall. If you prefer white flowers, go with 'Album' instead.
The dense, colorful foliage of grapevines shows that they're not just good for fruit or wine. Purpleleaf Grapevine, shown here, brings 22 feet of deep tones to a warm, sunny wall or fence. Gloryvine bears large, heart-shaped leaves that turn bright red and inedible, blue-black grapes in the fall; it can grow to 50 feet. Make sure grapevines get plenty of sun, and are planted in well-drained or moist soil.
Showy, pendent spikes of pea-like early summer flowers make wisterias popular with garden designers. 'Multijuga,' a Japanese cultivar, is a vigorous, twining climber with pretty leaves and fragrant, lilac-blue blooms; 'Alba' is similar, but with white flowers. 'Multijuga' will grow to 28 feet tall or more, in ideal growing conditions: full or partial sun, and well-drained or moist soil.