Your garden is more beautiful and balanced when you add vertical interest. Perennial vines work perfectly in this role, growing up a trellis, wall or tree. Vines can also create a living screen to offer shade or ensure privacy. Some are loved for their rich green foliage, others offer seasonal flowers. You’ll find hundreds of vine options available in commerce to suit every possible location. Here are five of our favorites well worth considering.
1. Black-Eyed Susan Vine – If you are seeking a decorative, easy-care vine that isn’t aggressive, black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) may please you. It grows above 6 feet (1.8 m.) tall and fills with dainty, daisy-like blossoms in bright colors with dark “eyes” in the center. Plant black-eyed Susan vines in a sunny site with organically rich soil. They are perennials in USDA zones 9-12.
2. Climbing Hydrangea – If you like shrub hydrangea, you’ll love climbing hydrangea vines (Hydrangea petiolaris). The elegant vine grows slowly to 50 feet (15 m.), providing excellent shade as well as decorating a trellis or wall with flattened white flower clusters. It’s a perennial in USDA zones 5 through 9.
3. Dutchman’s Pipe – Here’s a native North American vine you can’t help but love. The huge, overlapping, heart-shaped leaves on Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla) make you think of green valentines. Plant this beauty in sun or shade and it will shoot up to 30 feet (9 m.) in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9. And it’s a host plant for swallowtail butterfly.
4. Honeysuckle Vine – For even more butterflies, try native honeysuckle vines (like Lonicera sempervirens) with their fragrant, tube-shaped flowers. They aren’t aggressive like the Japanese variety, but the blossoms – in vivid shades of red, yellow and orange – are just as decorative. It climbs to 20 feet (6 m.) tall and is a good choice for smaller gardens.
5. Hardy Passionflower – Hardy passionflower vine (Passiflora incarnata) is among the most eye-catching vines with its masses of unusual lavender blossoms. Although it looks like it belongs in the tropics, this vine is actually an easy-maintenance North American native plant. It is perennial in USDA zones 6 through 9.