Few can resist the romantic elements of flower-draped arches or the quaint coziness of a fragrant jasmine-covered cottage. Great for hiding property that is less-than-beautiful, providing privacy, and softening the monotony of plain fencing, flowering vines are especially captivating and a perfect answer to solve many gardening problems. These creeping tendrils are perfect for gardeners regardless of experience, requiring low maintenance and little space, and drawing the attention of colorful butterflies and delightful little hummingbirds.
Choosing the right vine is a fairly simply process, provided you know what climate zone you are in. Once you have determined this, it is simply a matter of choosing how high you wish this vine to grow and what colors you prefer. Flowering vines come in a wide variety of colors, but range in height from 8 to 40 feet. Keep in mind that some vines are very aggressive growers and can destroy flimsy trellises and plastic netting.
So now that you've chosen your desired vines, the next step is getting them in the ground and growing. In order to plant your flowering vine, dig a hole twice as wide and only as deep as the roots of the vine. Once inserted, refill the hole and use a root stimulator to reduce transplant shock and help your plant to return to its normal growth patterns. Some vines, such as the flowering morning glory, are also easily grown from seeds, if that is your preference.
Vines generally require little care, once they are planted. The occasional fertilizer and removal of dead growth will help your blooms to look beautiful. One thing to remember is not to over-water these beauties. A good rule of thumb is to water your vines deeply when you do water them, but to keep your watering to infrequent drinks.
If you are unsure whether or not to water, dig down several inches into your soil (usually about 6 inches) and take a handful of soil from that depth. Now attempt to squeeze it into a ball — if this ball holds its shape, then the soil is still damp and watering is not necessary. If the ball falls apart, it is time to give your vines a drink.
Here are some wonderful flowering vines:
Chilean Bellflower - Also known as Lapageria rosea, this is an attractive vine with unique bell-shaped flowers of red, pink, or white. Flowering from summer until fall, this beautiful annual prefers partial shade and will climb up to 15 feet.
Clematis Jackmanii - This is the flowering vine for the person who likes the rich royal shades of purple. Enjoying full sun in zones 4 through 9, these velvety flowers will reach heights of up to 10 feet.
Madagascar Jasmine - The aromatic Madagascar jasmine, also known as Stephanotis floribunda, is a popular favorite amongst flowering vines. Growing up to 15 feet high, these fragrant, waxy white flowers bloom from spring to fall, providing hardy annual beauty.
Climbing Hydeangea - Another beautiful white flowering vine is the climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris), which offers soft and delicate white peals throughout the summer. Enjoying full sun to light shade in zones 4 through 9, this flowering vine grows up to a stunning 40 feet tall.
Potato Vine and Blue Passion Vine - Two more tall climbers are the potato vine (Solanum jasminoides) and the blue passion vine (Passiflora caerulea). The potato vine offers fragrant flowers of white or blue from summer through fall, and enjoys full sun, while the blue passion vine sports white flowers with white or purple crowns during the same time and prefers full sun to partial shade. Both of these beautiful annuals will climb up to 30 feet in height.
Black-Eyed Susan - The 8-foot black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) adds a little sweet country whimsy to any setting. Displaying white, ivory, yellow or orange flowers from summer to fall, this beauty enjoys full sun when it’s planted in the North, and partial sun down in the blistering South.
Bougainvillea - For a soft and romantic look, the tubular flowers of Bougainvillea come in shades of pink, purple, red, and white and bloom in captivating clusters from summer to fall. This hardy climber enjoys full sun and will reach heights of 40 feet, with some specimens sporting thorns.
Corkscrew Flowers - Also known as snail flowers or snail bean (Vigna caracalla), these are a definite conversation-starter. Pink, yellow, or white flowers from summer to fall feature a unique corkscrew bloom and are sure to catch the eye. Growing up to 25 feet in height, these annuals enjoy full sun.
Trumpet Creeper - If you’re looking for a very aggressive climber, the plant for you might just be the orange, red, or yellow trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans). Growing up to 30 feet and enjoying full sun in zones 5 through 9, this aggressive vine does require a strong support in order to grow properly.
Scarlet Runner - Want a vine that can be put to use for more than just hiding eyesores? The 20-foot scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) is a full sun annual that offers not only red flowers in the summer, but also edible pods.
Sweet Pea and Climbing Rose - Two popular favorites remain the delicate sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) and the climbing rose (Rosa spp.) Both offer fragrant blooms, the roses ranging in color dependant upon species, from spring until fall, and reaching heights of 15 feet. Favoring full sun in zones 4 through 9, these are popular in romantic-styled gardens. Likewise with the delicate sweet pea, which offers flowers in a wide range of colors (bicolor too), from summer to fall. Growing up to 8 feet tall, this annual thrives in full sun, particularly in the northern regions.
Cup and Saucer Vine - The cup and saucer vine, or Cobaea scandens, grows fragrant purple or white bell-shaped flowers from summer to fall. This is a captivating specimen, reaching heights of 25 feet, where it enjoys full sun in the North and afternoon shade in the hot South.
Morning Glory - Last but not least is the beautiful and mysterious morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor). Sporting a wide range of colors, including bicolor, this vine blooms throughout the summer, and grows up to 12 feet. This annual enjoys full sun, but is also interesting in that its beautiful blooms open during the cool, early morning hours, but will close during the heat of the day.
This guide to flowering vines will help you choose the right one for your home. Happy gardening!
Click here to purchase gardening supplies.