Design Ideas for Flowering Vines

Flowering vines covered with pink flower clusters climbing over outdoor arbors

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

The growth habit of vines gives gardeners opportunities for creative design that few other plants can provide. Flowering vines can be the element that turns an ordinary landscape into a mysterious jungle retreat, or they can transport their owners into a romantic grotto. Whether you have cultivated a perennial vine over the years, or whether you like to watch annual vines race to the top of their supports in one season, don't overlook flowering vines as a source of texture, structure, and character in the garden.

  • 01 of 07

    Balcony Garden

    Wisteria Vine

    Serge Vuillermoz / EyeEm / Getty Images

    If you've always wanted a balcony garden, but your balcony is being used as a barbecue area or space isn't sturdy enough to support containers loaded with moist soil, use flowering vines as a solution. Even larger flowering vines like this wisteria have a very small footprint, so all you need to grow a large vine is a small area of soil approximately two-by-two feet large.

    If your residence is on the second story, ask for permission to plant the vine in the soil of the first-floor tenant. You can train annual vines like morning glories or hyacinth beans discreetly up a post or other support, making it unobtrusive to the first-floor resident.

  • 02 of 07

    The Art of Espalier

    Trumpet Vine

    Alexandra Pavlova / Moment Open / Getty Images

    The French have known about this space-saving way of training fruit trees for centuries, but you can also harness this pruning practice as a way to tame large woody vines like this trumpet vine. To hide ugly walls in the landscape, use wires to train your specimen. Attach young vine tendrils to the wires (get even more creative by making a diamond pattern with the wires), and prune away all the rest weekly. After two growing seasons, your wires should be filled in, requiring only a bi-weekly touch up to maintain the look.

  • 03 of 07

    Flowering Companions

    Gourd hanging on vine
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    No room to hide your veggie garden in the backyard? Plant those cantaloupes, peas, or gourds in plain sight. Embellish trellised vegetables or gourds with a flowering vine companion like this morning glory, and you can proudly display your bounty on an arbor or trellis over your front door or walkway.

  • 04 of 07

    Shrub Accessory

    Flame Nasturtium

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    Did you inherit an ugly hedge with your property, but you don't want to chop it down because of the privacy it affords? Dress up your plain shrubbery with annual vines, like this vibrant flame nasturtium.

    Annual vines can grow along shrubs without consuming them, as the root systems are shallow and the plants are only large for a couple of months. Choose a delicate specimen like cypress vine, which will attract hummingbirds throughout the summer months while permitting light to reach the foliage of the shrub underneath.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Come Home to Flowers

    New Dawn Roses

    J. Paul Moore / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    An otherwise plain double garage comes to life with the addition of 'New Dawn' climbing roses. Climbing or rambling roses thrive around garages as they can take the direct sun and heat that radiates from brick or stone. Roses don't climb without help, so you must tie them and train them to supports on your structure. A sturdy trellis is essential to support the weight of mature climbing roses in rainy or windy weather.

  • 06 of 07

    Beyond the Trellis

    Lavender Clematis Vine

    Hans Guenther Oed / stock4b-rf / Getty Images

    Whether they twine, cling, or ramble, most vines need to grow on a support to look their best. Why not bend the rules by repurposing a flea market find to replace that utilitarian garden trellis? An old rusty birdcage no longer fit for Tweety makes a charming complement for a clematis. Window frames, dressers, and other household objects also fit the bill.

  • 07 of 07


    Mailbox Flowers

    Erin Castillo / E+ / Getty Images

    Your mailbox is a natural site for a flowering vine, adding curb appeal for pennies. Choose your vine with mature size in mind, so you don't end up spending time pruning foliage away from your mailbox flag and door each week.  Avoid vines like the large trumpet creeper, 'Sweet Autumn' clematis, or any type of honeysuckle.

    Suitable vines for mailbox gardens include black-eyed Susan vine, sweet pea, or nasturtium. Add some bird netting to the post of your mailbox to help twining vines find a purchase.