18 Valuable Vines to Plant in Your Garden

Screen with your porch with vines for privacy, or let them hide an unwanted view or add romance to an arbor. The right vine makes any garden special.

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Wisteria

Wisteria’s fragrant, white or purple-blue racemes are stunning in spring. Give the deciduous vines a sturdy structure to hold their weight or let the flowers drape over an arbor. Wisterias grow 25 to 35 feet in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Some varieties are invasive, so check with your local extension service or garden center before you plant. 'Amethyst Falls' is a popular, non-invasive American wisteria (W. frutescens). It's hardy in USDA Zones 5-9.

Carolina Jessamine

Showy Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) is a twining vine that can grow to 20 feet. Its fragrant, yellow blooms open in late winter to early spring; depending on where you garden, the plants may be evergreen or semi-evergreen. Give them full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. If you prefer, let the vines trail over the ground to cover a bank or slope. They're hardy in Zones 7-9.

Honeysuckle

The spring air smells sweet when honeysuckles (Lonicera periclymenum) open their white and yellow blooms. Hardy in Zones 4-9, these 8 to 10-foot climbers need full sun and average water and adapt well to most soils. 'Scentsation',’ shown here, is a non-invasive honeysuckle that’s lovely when trained on fences or trellises. Trim the vines, if you like, but pruning isn’t really necessary.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvilleas are tropicals with showy pink, yellow, red or salmon-orange bracts. They need support to climb a wall or other smooth surface, but wear gloves when you handle them to avoid their thorns. These vines grow best in slightly acidic soil on the dry side, and they’re drought tolerant once established. Give them full sun. They can reach 20 to 40 feet where they’re hardy (in Zones 9-11).

Purple Hyacinth Bean

Dolichos lablab is an annual vine known as purple hyacinth bean plant. The vines tolerate most soils as long as they’re grown in full sun and have sturdy supports as they climb 10 to 15 feet high. Once established, they need little care to produce handsome, purple and violet blooms that eventually form reddish-purple pods. The pods mature to the size of lima beans and are used primarily as a forage crop.

Mandevilla

Many gardeners plant red, white or pink mandevillas (Mandevilla spp.) around their mailboxes, but the plants are also lovely on trellises or spilling from baskets. The woody vines have tendrils, so they can attach themselves to structures. If you grow these tropicals as houseplants, give them bright indirect or filtered light. Let the soil dry slightly between waterings, and fertilize biweekly. Move them outside for the summer. This variety is 'SunParasol Apricot', which is hardy in Zones 10-11.

Passionflower Vine

Their flowers may look exotic, but passionflowers (Passiflora) are fast-growing, undemanding vines, especially in warm climates. Give them full sun and let them dress up a pergola, fence or trellis. You'll find red, blue, pink, green, white, yellow or purple varieties that grow to 20 feet or more. The flowers are followed by fruits; the fruits of some varieties are edible but don’t try them unless you know they are safe for human consumption. Hardy in zones 6-10.

Trumpet Creeper Vine

Vigorous trumpet creeper vines (Campsis radicans) can grow 30 to 40 feet in a season and will wrap around supports in a garden or tree trunks in the wild. The plants can be invasive in some areas, so ask your local extension service about them before you plant. They thrive in full sun to part shade and soil that is moist and enriched with compost. Feed with an all-purpose fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks while they’re actively growing. Hardy in Zones 4-10.

Boston Ivy

For fall color, it’s hard to beat Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata). If given full to part sun, the leaves of this deciduous vine turn brilliant red, purple, orange and yellow. Water regularly; you don’t need to fertilize if the soil is well-drained and loamy. This vine's flowers aren’t showy, but they form dark berries that attract birds. Use the fast-growing vines, which can reach 30 to 50 feet, as a ground cover or on strong supports. To hide a wall, train them on a freestanding support about a foot away because if they grow directly on a wall or fence, they're hard to remove and may cause damage. Prune as needed to control for size. Hardy in Zones 4-10.

Virginia Creeper

'Red Wall’ and 'Yellow Wall’ are popular varieties of Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Like Boston ivy, this native vine has fast-growing, green foliage that takes on brilliant color in the fall. Plant it in part shade to shade and well-drained soil, and give it average water. The deciduous vines grow 20 to 30 feet and are hardy in Zones 3-9. As with Boston ivy, don’t plant them directly on a wall or fence; let them climb a freestanding support instead.

Calico Dutchman's Pipe

Named for its calico-like markings, Calico Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia spp.) has mottled purple and white flowers and heart-shaped leaves. This Brazilian native drapes over porches and twines onto trellises and fences, maturing at 10 to 15 feet. The plants take full sun to partial shade and adapt to most well-drained soils. If you grow them in containers, give them a support to climb. Some gardeners say the flowers smell like bad meat (the odor attracts pollinating flies), but they also attract bees and birds and host the larvae of two butterfly species. Hardy in Zones 8-10.

Sweet Autumn Clematis

You might overlook sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) for most of the growing season, but its small, white flowers catch the eye when they open in late summer and early fall. These fast-growing vines usually climb to the top of a support and form a mound of foliage and flowers there, so they won't completely cover a structure at the bottom. Let them ramble freely over fences, trellises or rocks in your landscape. Hardy in Zones 5-8.

Morning Glory

Morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor) are fuss-free annuals with gorgeous flowers; look for pink, sky-blue, white, purple, red, magenta and other colors. The vines have heart-shaped leaves and prefer full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. They'll grow quickly to 15 feet or more. They also self-sow easily, so mulch around them or pull any seedlings that pop up, if you don’t want more plants. Avoid over-fertilizing, which can encourage more leaves than blooms, but do water regularly. Train the plants on an arch, porch or fence. They climb by twining and grow best on narrow-diameter supports. Hardy in Zones 3-10.

Clematis

Available in periwinkle blue, pink, white, burgundy, lavender and other colors, clematis are beloved for their beautiful flowers. These long-lived perennial vines climb by using their small leaf stems to coil around supports no larger than 1/4" in diameter. The plants need well-drained, rich, loamy soil where they’ll get full sun on their foliage and some shade around their roots. No plants nearby to shade them? Mulch to keep the roots cool instead. Various hybrids are hardy in Zones 3-11. 'Hakuba' is shown here.

Hops

If you’re looking for a vine that grows at a moderate pace, try hops (Humulus x lupulus). 'Summer Shandy’ is a popular variety that takes part sun to sun and average water; it matures at just 5 to 10 feet. Grown primarily for its golden-yellow foliage, it bears yellow-green catkins with a piney-scent that attract butterflies. Train the deciduous vines on wires or strings in an herb garden, on a pergola or porch or in large containers. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

Akebia or Chocolate Vine

Five-leaf akebia (Akebia quinata), or chocolate vine, can shoot up 20 to 40 feet in a single season, so it’s great to use as a screen or as a groundcover to stabilize an eroding slope. This deciduous, twining plant adapts to sun or shade and prefers loamy, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. It’s invasive in some areas, so check with your local extension service before you plant, and prune the woody vines as needed to keep it in check — or grow it in a large container. Vanilla-scented flowers open in spring, followed by fruits. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

Moonflower

Moonflower vines (Ipomoea alba), sometimes called moon vines, produce parasol-shaped buds that unfurl into five- to six-inch blossoms in the evenings. This morning glory relative is a vigorous, twining plant that takes full sun to partial shade, reaching 10 to 15 feet tall. Let the fragrant, creamy white flowers dress up a trellis, fence or porch. Hardy in Zones 8-11.

Crossvine

Bignonia capreolata, or crossvine, is native to the United States, so you may see it growing wild in the woods. This semi-evergreen to evergreen vine opens trumpet-shaped flowers that last for weeks. While the plants tolerate shade, they bloom better in full sun and moist, well-drained soil, 'Tangerine Beauty' is a popular variety with apricot-colored flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Feed the vines, which climb via tendrils to 30 feet or more, in early spring. Prune them and fertilize again after the flowers fade. Hardy in Zones 6-9.

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