Flowering vines add a whole new visual dimension to outdoor spaces. They create clusters of color, surround you with heavenly scents, offer shade, and provide privacy. Plant perennial vines strategically, and you’ll enjoy lush, colorful, low-maintenance, greenery year-round. Plus, they’ll come back from one year to the next if you choose vines suitable for your planting zone. Grow these impactful climbers on trellises, walls, fence posts, or other supports or use them to hide a less-than-attractive area of the yard.
Cold-hardy, high-climbing, super-fragrant, and long-lived, the wisteria is a perennial spring bloomer with blue, purple, pink, or white hanging clusters. It’s a fast-growing, quick-spreading plant, so it’s best suited for trellises or another type of garden structure. Look for non-invasive species like Kentucky or American wisteria. Plant in full sun and don’t over-fertilize. Overwatering leads to healthy leaves, but few flowers.
Another fragrant and prolific bloomer, the Carolina jessamine explodes in bright yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers beginning in the late winter in milder climates. Although it spreads fast, it’s a well-mannered vine, ideal for growing on lattice structures to create a privacy screen, provide a bit of shade, or add height to a rustic or cottage garden. They’re a great choice for slopes and banks, too. Jessamine thrives in partial to full sun. Water weekly to keep the soil moist.
If you’re sensitive to overly-fragrant blooms, this classic vine is an attractive option. The perennial sweet pea's adorable blooms have no fragrance. Tendrils climb beautifully with or without support. The flowers blossom in early summer in pink, red, purple, or white clusters and are beloved of butterflies and hummingbirds. Sweet peas prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.
Gardeners lovingly dubbed the clematis the “Queen of Climbers.” If you’re looking for a vine with long-lasting, showy flowers that come in an infinite array of colorful shades, consider the clematis. There are hundreds of varieties — some of which bloom into the fall — but not all clematis cultivars scale the walls. The C. x jackmanii is one of the most popular; it's a deciduous vine that produces bountiful dark-purple, four-petaled flowers. Use mulch to keep the roots cool, but allow the rest of the plant to get full or partial sun.
Multipurpose vines like hops offer not only aesthetic value to your outdoor space, but many gardeners also grow them for their numerous health benefits and edible shoots. Hops vines bloom in midsummer after other flowering plants have lost their luster. The cream, tan, or green-hued flowers create an eye-catching focal point. Easy to grow and propagate, hops vines grow best in spots with access to full sun or partial shade.
The first rule for growing trumpet vines is not to plant them if you don’t have time to control them. These profuse growers thrive in hot, dry conditions and require little water. Not only do the woody vines produce suckers from underground runners, but it’s also self-seeding. When not controlled, it quickly spreads and chokes out other plants. The trumpet vine’s brilliant clusters of red, orange, or yellow trumpet-shaped flowers are well worth the effort you put into controlling them. Plant in full sun for optimal flowering.
While some flowering vines are effortless, others are a bit of a challenge. The bougainvillea is a robust, versatile, blue-green vine that you can grow in containers, on support structures, or as a ground cover. Find this vine a nice, sunny spot and offer it well-drained, loamy soil with equal parts of sand, silt, and clay. Once it reaches maturity, regular pruning is a must. Bougainvillea blooms in the spring or summer, producing magnificent purple, red, orange, white, yellow, or pink blossoms.
If you live in a colder region, the twining honeysuckle is an outstanding flowering vine option. From May through the midsummer months, fragrant clusters of pinwheel-shaped, tubular blossoms attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. You’ll find varieties that flower in just about any shade you can imagine, but avoid the highly invasive Japanese honeysuckle. Weekly watering is all they need once established. Full sun helps them produce more blooms, but partial shade is fine.
This woody-vined plant will attach to vertical objects and then extend well beyond them. Without support, the vines will grow in a mound resembling a shrub. The white lace-cap flowers bloom in late spring and early summer. Each blossom is a collection of tiny flowers in the center, surrounded by another ring of flowers. They thrive in full sun, partial shade, or deep shade. Regular waterings and rich, fertile soil keep the plant happy.
If you’re seeking a flowering vine with extraordinary blooms, check out the hardy passionflower. In the summer, this perennial vine produces intricate, blue, green, red, white, pink, yellow, or purple frilly flowers that sit within robust green foliage. Fans of the vigorous plant say it is a problem solver, the perfect option to cover up unsightly spots or to fill in bare areas on your landscape. Most species need full sun to achieve lush, dense growth.