Flowering vines are a beautiful and useful addition to any garden. They’re easy to grow and care for, perfect for small spaces, and can serve any number of purposes in an outdoor landscape.
Why Grow Flowering Vines?
Vines go where bushes and other plants fear to tread: Easy to care for vines like the common cat’s claw vine crawl up and over anything–ugly walls, garden fences, even trees, covering it all in a sea of colorful blooms.
Vines are fast growers: The hearty honeysuckle vine in any of its many colors and varieties, can grow up to 30 feet a year, quickly covering your fence or trellis with its sweet-smelling flowers.
Vines save space: Vines want to send their tendrils up, not out, covering the vertical elements in your garden and providing more flowers per square foot of garden soil than any non-vining plant can.
Vines do double duty: A heat-loving vine like the coral vine blankets lattice work or other similar structures, turning them into shade or privacy screens as well as stunning floral displays.
Where to Plant Your Flowering Vines
Plant on otherwise boring trellises and walls: Send low-maintenance clematis up a trellis attached to a dull garage or shed wall, and instead of blank space, you’ll soon have a mass of colorful blossoms.
Plant where the hummingbirds are–or where you want them to be: Let a hardy vine like trumpet vine “Madame Galen” run along a fence or up a wall, and soon you’ll have legions of hummingbirds vying for the plant’s sweet nectar.
Plant where you want sweet smells: There’s a reason the sweet pea vine used to be a staple around outhouses. It’s easy to position this or any of the other many fragrant flowering vines around a doorway, window, or anywhere else you want to enjoy a floral perfume.
How to Choose a Flowering Vine
Plant vines appropriate for your hardiness zone: Like with any garden plant, a tropical variety of vine isn’t going to grow in frozen tundra. Make sure you check a plant’s preferred temperature range before you buy. That said, many of the most popular flowering vines can thrive in a wide range of conditions.
Pay attention to how your flowering vine climbs: When choosing a vine, understand the three ways vines climb: by twining, like a morning glory; with tendrils like clematis; and by clinging, like a trumpet vine.
- Twining vines twirl around their supports and do best on arbors, poles, and other sturdy structures.
- Tendril vines grasp at their supports with thin but strong shoots and work well on trellises, latticework, and fences.
- Clinging vines use their sturdy above-ground roots to stick themselves to tiny crevices in the surfaces they climb and are the natural choice for covering walls or rock surfaces. A word of warning: this type of vine will mar painted surfaces and can do damage to brickwork.
How to Care for Your Flowering Vine
Train your vine to a trellis: For vines on a trellis or lattice surface, encourage them to fill their entire support by weaving them horizontally as the grow. When they reach the top, don’t just hack them off, but work the shoots back into the trellis. Trim your clinging vines: Pinch off the growing tips every six inches of growth. This will encourage them to branch horizontally.
Prune as needed, which will probably be often: Vines are usually vigorous growers, so vigorous they often don’t know when to quit. You may need to prune your vine several times during the season to remove dead or diseased stems, get rid of shoots that are growing away from the support (or into other plants and features where they don’t belong), and clear out thickly tangled branches that are making the mass too heavy or depriving inner portions of the vine of light. You can also prune anytime to shape the vine or redirect its growth to fit your garden design.
Here’s an example of a clematis vine used three different ways; a trellis, a fence and a lattice screen:
There’s no garden that wouldn’t benefit from the addition of a gorgeous flowering vine. And there’s no gardener who won’t love the ease of care, vigorous growth, and multiple uses that a flowering vine offers. Want to find the climbing vine that’s best suited for your garden? Search our Plant Library!