Few plants add drama to the garden and landscape like flowering vining plants. Color, beauty, height, and greenery all add up to eye-catching, out-of-the-ordinary horticultural interest in any yard. There are a large variety of vining plants that flower for any climate and environment. In this article, we’re covering easy-to-grow annual and perennial flowering vines.
The key to growing flowering vines successfully and keeping them healthy is knowing their growing habits and needs. The annual vines will have to be replanted every year, but the perennial vines will just get bigger and better every year.
Additionally, vines climb in different ways, by clinging, sprawling, tendrils, or twining up whatever supports are near. Clinging vines have suction-like roots along stems that can damage surfaces of buildings and walls. Care should be taken where these are planted, keeping them on trellises or arbors instead of on buildings.
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Easy to Grow Annual Flowering Vines
Most of these flowering annual vines can be very easily grown from seed. If you don’t want to start the plants from seed, they are readily available at garden centers. I purchase many seeds from Botanical Interests and they never disappoint.
Morning Glory (Ipomoea Purpurea) – Morning Glory is a pretty vine with pastel-colored trumpet-shaped flowers. Easy to grow from seed, it does best in full sun, but I’ve had morning glory do fine with just morning sun. Morning Glory is one of those rare plants that performs best in poor soil. In fact, if your soil is really rich, you might not even get blooms. It’s an annual in colder climates, but can be perennial in warmer areas as it reseeds profusely, and can be invasive.
To keep morning glories from reseeding, try growing them in well-monitored containers. Also keep the vines trimmed to 3 or 4 feet high, and clip off flowers as soon as they die to prevent seed formation. Also, Morning Glories grown in a garden that is well mulched are less likely to reseed.
Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia Alata) – Black-Eyed Susan Vine is native to Africa and is a tender perennial vine with a twining growth habit. Its flowers are yellow or orange with a hollow center that looks black. Black-eyed Susan Vine needs vertical support to climb. It prefers full sun with afternoon shade or a light shade location and well-drained soil. Although it needs warmth and sun, it is not drought tolerant and should be watered regularly.
Cardinal Climber (Ipomoea Multifida) – Cardinal Climber is an annual plant with cardinal red tubular flowers on airy green vines with triangular leaves. It’s attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. It can be used as a trailing ground cover but is usually grown on a trellis or support either in containers or garden beds. It needs full sun, well-drained soil, and regular watering. It’s easy to grow from seed, but soaking seeds before planting help the seeds to germinate faster.
Cup and Saucer Vine (Cobaea scandens) – Cup and Saucer Vine (a/k/a Cathedral Bells) is a perennial native to tropical Mexico. It is perennial in warm climates, or annual in areas with cold winters. It has purple and white bell or cup shaped flowers on a vigorous vine reaching up to 40 feet in favorable locations. Bright green oblong leaves form a dense screen and mature flowers are very fragrant. It needs full sun, well-drained soil, and regular watering. It’s easy to grow Cup and Saucer Vine from seed. This is the first year I’m growing Cup and Saucer Vine and I can’t wait for it to start blooming.
Sweet Pea (Lathyrus Odoratus) – Sweet Peas can either be grown as a bushy plant or a perennial vine (in warmer climates). They produce fragrant pastel flowers in pink, blue, lavender, white, and red. The plant originated in the Mediterranean, so in cold climates it is grown as annual. Vines reach up to 8 feet tall and are often planted in vegetable gardens to attract bees. They are not heavy vines and only need light support such as bamboo poles. They need full sun, rich soil, and regular watering.
Perennial Flowering Vines
Clematis (Clematis Occidentalis) – Clematis (also known as Leather Flower) is a one of the most beloved flowering climbing perennials with many varieties. The 3-part leaves are dark green and large 3-5 inch flowers come in a variety of colors. The plant originated in China and Japan and is a true perennial even in cold climates. It is a vigorous, woody climbing vine, with some varieties being herbaceous perennials and others being shrubby. Its masses of flowers make it a true statement planting in the landscape.
With over 80 cultivars of clematis, it’s important to know which one you are growing to know how to prune. Some require no pruning, while some need to be pruned in the dormant season. We won’t go into pruning specifics here, but there are 3-types of clematis and it depends on which type you have as to when it needs to be pruned.
The picture below is a Warsaw Nike Clematis that grows by our deck. It grows up the trellis and over the deck railing.
Honeysuckle (Lonicera Sempervirens) – Honeysuckle vine is a fragrant flowering vine with delicate white, red, yellow, or pink flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. They are hardy vining shrubs that will meander along a fence or up and over an arbor or arch, up to 20 feet. Honeysuckle flowers all season long and are deciduous in cold climates. They like full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Prune off spent ends of vines for a neater appearance. Compost and mulch each new season will keep honeysuckle healthy and growing strong. For those in warmer climates, honeysuckle can also be grown in containers as deck or patio plants.
Trumpet Vine (Campsis Radicans) – Trumpet vine, or trumpet creeper, or also nicknamed devil’s shoestring, is a vigorous deciduous woody perennial vine that is very hardy once established. It is not particular about soil or light, growing in sun and partial shade. Heavy mulching in fall for winter protection helps plants in cold climates. It produces large showy trumpet flowers in orange, red, or yellow that attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.
Trumpet vine spreads by seed and underground runners and can be invasive if not well monitored. It’s a good choice for an area of the landscape away from buildings and established garden beds and lawns as mature plants will take over. Its aerial rootlets cling onto building and support surfaces and can pull off siding and trim if left without control. Honestly, I dislike trumpet vine because of it’s invasiveness, but I’m including it because I’ve seen gardeners grow it successfully without it being a nuisance and it really is striking.
Silver Lace Vine (polygonum aubertii) – Silver Lace Vine looks very similar to Sweet Autumn Clematis, but is not the same plant. Silver Lace Vine is a very vigorous grower, and in some areas is considered invasive. I keep it from growing crazy in my gardens by trimming it a few times during the summer. Silver Lace Vine blooms in early summer and sometimes I get a rebloom later in the summer.
There are many other beautiful Perennial Vining plants (like climbing roses and vining hydrangeas), but take a little more time and work and we wanted to keep this post to easy-t0-grow flowering vines.
Ideas for Incorporating Flowering Vines in the Garden and Landscape
Cover a fence – Older unsightly fences that are still sturdy can be covered with flowering vines for a beautiful backdrop or landscape statement. Fencing can be used as a support for flowering vines keeping in mind that vining plants, especially the larger woody varieties, will grow through and in between fencing materials and be difficult to remove.
Adding privacy – At our former home, we were able to add privacy to our back yard by using framed lattice panels with flowering vines grown on them.
Add height to your flower garden – Flowering vining plants make wonderful vertical additions to the garden and landscape. Consider flowering vines at the back of flower beds, as plants in containers on decks or patios, or behind seating areas to extend the greenery and color upward behind scenes.
Garden Structures – Add some structural beauty to the yard or landscape with garden structures to support flowering vines.
- Sturdy arbors can support heavier vining plants like wisteria and climbing roses.
- Light-weight trellises can be light for the annual vines that don’t get woody and shrubby. Or, sturdy trellises can be used for woody vines that are kept well-monitored and trimmed to a specific height and size.
- Wrought Iron Obelisks or Wood Obelisks with flowering vines growing up and around them add lots of character in a flower garden.
- Gazebos covered in flowering vines make a stunning sitting and gathering area for dining and outdoor events.
- DIY structures like these adorable ladders made from tree branches look super cute in my gardens.
Decorate Your Home’s Exterior – Flowering vines make a beautiful decoration for front entranceways, front gates, garage doors, and statement areas like bay windows. Choosing vines with flowers in colors complimentary to a building’s colors adds beauty, interest, and curb appeal. Just be careful that you don’t choose a vine that can harm your home.
Mailbox Beauty – I don’t recommend adding flowers to your regular mailbox, because of mail carriers having to deal with bees and other insects, but consider adding a mailbox to your garden. For instance, I have a mailbox in my garden where I keep garden tools and I’m in the process of training a clematis up the post and around the mailbox.
Repurposed Items – Use flea market or attic finds to add interest in your garden and support your flowering vines. Old window frames, metal bed head boards, iron gates, or other toss-aways add interesting backdrops and supports instead of trellises. Etsy has some very cute and creative trellises.
We have just skimmed the surface on flowering vines and have only included the easiest flowering vines to grow. If you are looking to add a flowering vine to your landscape, do your research. Clemson University College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences suggests evaluating the site where you want to grow a flower vining plant before selecting what kind you want. You should determine how much sun and shade the location gets, what kind of soil drainage there is, and what kind of structure there is for supporting the foliage. Many vines are vigorous growers and produce heavy growth when mature, while others have lighter foliage.
However you plan to use flowering vines in your garden, you will add beauty, color, greenery, and interest with these statement plants. Many are very easy to grow, some are very hardy (watch out for the invasive ones), but they are all beautiful additions to any landscape and scenery.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and are thinking about adding some of these easy to grow, annual or perennial flowering vines to your gardens. If you have a favorite vine in your garden that I missed, please feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.
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