Vining Plants

Vining Plants For Landscaping

Vining plants are those whose stem needs support, which climbs through tendrils or twining or creeping on the ground or the stem creeping of such a plant. Of course, you love the trees and flowers in your garden, but vining plants are an amazing way to add texture and color, create a privacy screen and add a vertical element by rounding out your garden’s design. These plants can be perennial or annual and come back every year. If the plants you choose are perennial, make sure they will survive through the winters in your USDA hardiness zone. Also, read the plant description or tag to understand and know what conditions they require. 

Several vining plants need full sun, which means 6+ hours of sunlight per day, while others require partial shade, which is nearly half of that. Be mindful of their size at maturity so you can provide them ample space to stretch without spreading over other plants in a couple of years and causing you trouble in their maintenance. You will require an arbor, trellis, or garden structure to support the plant to climb somewhere. It is a good idea to install it at the time of planting so you won’t disturb the roots or harm the vine later. This article focuses on things you should know about vining plants, 12 perennial vining plants to choose from, and some frequently asked questions answered by Edenapp about what vining plants grow in the shade, which ones can survive indoors and which ones can train as trees. 

What should you keep in mind when choosing vining plants? 

You need to be really mindful when choosing vines to plant. This can prove to be the most difficult group of plants to work with, and you should use it appropriately in a landscape or garden. The factors to consider are environmental conditions (soil types, sun and wind exposure), method of climbing, space available, type of structural support required, and the maintenance required. 

Other important things to consider are flowering times, seasonality, color, texture, screening, and how vines can soften hardscapes. Also, consider environmental factors such as erosion control, insects, and prospective species for invasiveness. 

The methods of climbing are most important to determine since some climbing methods will need supports, such as trellis or pergola to twine around, objects like wire or guides to wrap around, bricks or rock (or other structural materials) to hang on to. It is important to consider how much weight your supporting structures can keep up to, as some vines can grow large and get heavy with time. 

How can you encourage vines to grow and spread?

Each species has its particular requirements. All vines need a good start, so dig a planting hole twice the size of its root ball (larger if possible) and mix a 2″ thick layer of compost or well-rotted manure into the hole. In general, plant cultivation in the correct  manner with well-amended soil and a sufficient amount of water and light will help vines climb and spread. However, excessive feeding may promote the growth of foliage in place of flowers; this is especially the case with uncontrolled growers like Morning Glories or Wisteria, that flower best in poor soil.

When vines are planted in the landscape, they will go through a period of transplant shock, like most perennials, shrubs, and trees. The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap. It is important to irrigate your new vining plants properly after planting as and when required. Additional nutrition (fertilizer) should not be necessary for most wines if a suitable vine is chosen for the location. 

Be sure to allow proper access of the structure to the vine on which it will grow. To achieve this, you may need a few temporary braces to help it to reach the final destination. To keep stems going in the direction you prefer, consider strategic pruning in the early years. 

Any invasive species to be aware of?

There are too many invasive species to be aware of. Vines are some of the worst, most destructive invasive plant species. The combination of excessive seed production, rapid growth rate, capacity to strangle other plants, ability to root along their stems, and the overall competitive nature of vines has allowed many species to cause problems. 

The possibility of invasiveness depends on your location. Although some species are already demonstrated as invasive in other regions of the world, so we should be cautious of planting them. It is important to understand and know the invasive potential and eliminate the problems before these species get out of control. Even the native poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) can be regarded as invasive as it poses risks to human health.

Listed below are some vine species which are historically grown in gardens and have become (potential) invasive issues:

  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis glandulosa)
  • Five-leaf akebia or chocolate vine (Akebia quinata)
  • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
  • Japanese & Chinese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda & W. sinensis)
  • Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca major & V. minor)
  • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
  • Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora)
  • Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)
  • Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
  • Grapevine (Vitis spp.)

Also, herbaceous perennial species which can cause problems to landscapes, agriculture and ecosystems:

  • Bindweed (Convolvulus arvense)
  • Dog-strangling vine or swallow wort (Vincetoxicum spp.)
  • Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)
  • Bird vetch (Vicia cracca)
  • Japanese hop (Humulus japonicus)

Can you restrict vining plants to a certain shape or space?

Restricting vines to a certain shape or space is possible, but it can be time-consuming. Some vines can grow multiple feet in a short time during the growing season, so being attentive and consistent in your training routine is important. It is easier to appropriately train a vine while it is young, flexible and within reach. It can be difficult to untangle a mature plant and then start training it to the shape you want. 

Examine to remove stems growing in the wrong directions, guide stems to grow in the direction you want, and don’t think much about making some substantial but strategic pruning cuts. Consider your yearly pruning routine, too, as some types of vines such as clematis and wisteria can be specific to pruning methods for the sake of flowering properly. Use ties, wire, or clips to retain stems to the structure or train them in the preferred directions.

Best Perennial Flowering Vining Plants and Climbers

Listed below are some best perennial flowering vining plants for your landscape or garden.

Clematis: The Clematis genus consists of roughly 300 species of woody-stemmed, lavishly blooming plants. Most of them are climbing flowering vines, although there are some short and bushy types too. These are the most popular climbers with the gardeners, including the dainty ‘Betty Corning’, dramatic hybrids ‘Jackmanii’ and ‘Nelly Moser’, or the robust sweet autumn clematis. You might be required to help your clematis by wiring it to a trellis as it starts to climb. As it takes hold this twining plant will weave on the structure by itself. Though there are evergreen clematis varieties such as C. armandii, most are deciduous and leaf loss must be considered at the time of placement.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 11 (varies by species)
  • Soil Needs: well-drained, medium moisture 
  • Color Varieties: Purple, red, pink, white, bicolor
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade 

Chocolate Vine: Chocolate vine blooms in April and produces brownish-purple blossoms that are scented and hang like pendants. The semi-evergreen foliage of the vine stays appealing with lush, oval leaves often clustered in leaflets of five, even after the flowers fade. These flowering vines rapidly grow to 30 to 50 feet, hanging on to a support structure by twining. Check before planting it since its rapid growth rate has categorized it as an invasive plant in some areas.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
  • Soil Needs: well-drained, moist, sandy or loam
  • Color Varieties: white, Brown/purple
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to full shade

Purple passionflower: Purple passionflower or Maypop is characterized as a semi-woody vine with large, jagged leaves. It climbs to the supports with tendrils. These vines are prized for their exotic-looking and complex flowers, and numerous cultivars are available in a variety of colors. The vines grow about 15 to 20 feet long, and they can be kept in pots indoors to overwinter the plants in colder climates.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
  • Soil Needs: well-drained, rich, moist, 
  • Color Varieties: pink, white, red
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Climbing roses: Climbing roses are, in fact, simply large rose shrubs with long stems that are trained to grow along a trellis or other support structure. Varieties include ‘Don Juan,’ ‘New Dawn’, and ‘Lady Banks.’ The training process is quite simple, once you have placed the support structure. Tie the canes (stems) of the plant to the structure with strips of cloth as they grow, lightly bending them to cover the structure. Make sure not to prune the plant until the canes have grown long enough to cover your structure. Prune only if you need to remove a broken, misshapen, or diseased portion.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 10 (varies by species)
  • Soil Needs: well-drained, rich 
  • Color Varieties: White, Pink, red, orange, yellow, purple
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Mandevilla: It is also called rocktrumpet. Mandevilla is a genus of subtropical and tropical flowering vines, producing five-petaled flowers that are usually fragrant and large beside glossy green foliage. Together with a sturdy support structure, these rapid-growing vines require enough moisture to remain healthy. These vines can also grow well in hanging baskets.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 to 11
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, moist, 
  • Color Varieties: White, pink, red
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun

Moonflower: Moonflower is a perennial flowering vine whose flowers open up at night, releasing its sweet fragrance into the environment. As the morning light arrives, the flowers close up again for the day. These rapid-growing vines grow about 10 to 15 feet long and can easily stretch out on the ground as a cover or grow on a support structure. They are difficult to overwinter indoors, so if you don’t live in their growing zones, you might have to consider them annually and begin with a fresh plant each year. You can collect the seeds easily and start indoors for the new season.  

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 to 12
  • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • Color Varieties: Purple, white
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun

Japanese Honeysuckle: It is a strong flowering vine with fragrant flowers and a long blooming period. It is considered invasive in some areas because of its sturdy growth, so be sure to confirm locally if you can plant it or not. The vine twines effortlessly around support structures. After the plant is done flowering, prune to keep its size in control.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
  • Soil Needs: Loamy, moist, well-drained
  • Color Varieties: Yellow, white
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Cup and saucer vine: Cup and saucer vine is a vigorously climbing vine that forms a living privacy screen very fast on a support structure with its bright green, lush foliage. The plants’ cup-shaped flowers release a sweet fragrance while they open. When the vine is young, attach it to a support structure so it won’t need much training to continue to wind itself around the structure.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • Color Varieties: White, purple
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun

Snail vine: It is a perennial flowering vine that prefers climates without frost. Its small blooms are similar to the curled shell of a snail. These vines grow about 15 to 20 feet long. To keep the vines healthy and strong, you need regular light pruning. It helps in eliminating scraggly or dead portions.

To know the benefits of pruning trees and plants read the following article: What are the benefits of pruning trees and plants?

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained
  • Color Varieties: White, pink, purple, 
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Corkscrew vine: Corkscrew vine is a perennial flowering vine that is fast-growing, twining and has fragrant blooms. It has been given this common name because its fancy flowers grow like a corkscrew in a spiral around the vine. It can grow up to 30 feet long; therefore, it will need a sturdy support structure. It is a good idea to prune the vine after it has finished the flowering phase to keep it looking neat.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 12
  • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • Color Varieties: White, purple
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun

Climbing Hydrangea: Climbing hydrangea can grow to a maximum of 60 to 80 feet if it is provided with a fence, wall, or large tree for its aerial rootlets to hang on. This vine grows slow enough, so controlling it is not very difficult. This is a good plant for shady locations, unlike other aerial-rooting plants, and can tolerate full sun only if the soil is kept very moist. Its flowers look similar to those of shrub hydrangeas, and the peeling bark and dried flower heads give the plant good winter interest.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
  • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained
  • Color Varieties: White
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full shade

Hardy Kiwi Vine: This is a cold-hardy relative of the plant that produces kiwis available in the supermarket, hardy kiwi vine is grown for its peculiar foliage. There are two species that are known as hardy kiwi vine: Actinidia kolomikta has colorful foliage whereas Actinidia arguta is a less robust grower. The blossoms of the vine are small, but they produce a fragrance like the lily of the valley. The plants feature a twining growth habit and require a sturdy support structure for vertical growth.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
  • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained, loamy
  • Color Varieties: Green foliage; purple and pink highlights on Actinidia kolomikta
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade


What vining plants grow in shade?

Some of the vining plants for shade are: Climbing hydrangeas, Japanese Climbing Hydrangea, Native Climbing Hydrangea, Clematis and Variegated Kiwi Vine, etc. 

What vining plants can survive in planters indoors?

Indoor vining plants such as Heartleaf Philodendron, English Ivy, Pothos, Grape Ivy, Betel Leaf Plant, etc can survive in planters indoors.

Which vining plants will train as trees?

Self-clinging climbers consisting of aerial roots and adhesive pads such as Boston ivy, Virginia creeper, English ivy and climbing hydrangea are the easiest to train as trees. However, these are dominant climbers and are best limited to large, fully grown trees. The benefit of these vining plants is that they will climb by themselves as they cling onto any rough surface and are in fact, particularly evolved to cling onto bark.

Not sure which vining plants to choose to plant in your landscape or garden? Contact Edenapp without hesitation to guide you to select appropriate vining plants for your landscape. You can also count on Edenapp throughout the year for all landscaping and lawn care services.