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Colorful Climbers

Want vertical interest in your garden? All it takes is a simple trellis and a beautiful vine. Try one of these for easy-growing good looks.

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Photo: Tower Hill Botanic Garden at

‘Empress Eugenie’ Passion Flower

Give your yard a touch of the tropics with exotic passion flower vine. ‘Empress Eugenie’ opens exquisite blooms that release a beautiful fragrance. Blossoms have subtle colors, so it’s best to place this vine where you can view the flowers up close and personal. Vines can reach 20 to 30 feet high and 6 to 8 feet wide in warmer regions. Grow it in a container in cold-winter regions, and overwinter in a cool spot where roots won’t freeze. Water sparingly through winter, just enough to keep roots alive. New growth should emerge in spring. Hardy in Zones 7-10. Why we love it: Passion flower is a host plant to several butterflies, including zebra longwings, gulf fritillary and monarchs.

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Lemon A-Peel Black Eyed Susan Vine

Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) takes on a new hue with Lemon A-Peel. The flowers on this variety unfurl in a clear lemon yellow hue like living sunshine. Easy-growing black-eyed susan vine covers a trellis with non-stop blooms all summer long. It adapts well to growing in pots on a tepee trellis. Give this vine full sun, except in the Deep South, where afternoon shade is welcome. Butterflies and other pollinator insects visit blooms, adding to the color show. Plants grow 5 to 8 feet tall by 18 to 24 inches wide. Annual vine, hardy in Zones 10-11. Why we love it: This vine opens non-stop flowers—and it never needs deadheading.

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‘St. Swithun’ Climbing Rose

Fill your garden with the rich scent of old roses by including this pretty climber. ‘St. Swithun’ is a showstopper, opening fully double pink blooms with over 120 petals. Flowers appear reliably all season long, releasing a pure myrrh fragrance. This is an English rose packed with disease resistance, making it a breeze to grow. Train it on an arbor or well-anchored arch. Plants grow to 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9. Why we love it: The intense scent is alluring and a perfect complement to an entry garden or outdoor seating area.

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Giant Pink Mandevilla

Large pink trumpet shape blooms cover mandevilla vine during summer, conjuring scenes of tropical beauty. This vine is a stunner that’s often grown in containers or hanging baskets. It makes a striking pillar of color when grown on a pot obelisk trellis. In most zones mandevilla is an annual vine that grows 6 to 8 feet in a single season. Overwinter indoors in a cool spot (above 45 degrees F). Leaves may drop, so water just enough it keep it alive. Growth will resume in spring. Mandevilla is hardy in Zones 10-11, where it can reach 10 to 15 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Why we love it: Mandevilla is easy to grow and infuses even the northernmost garden with a tropical ambience.

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