12 Best Perennial Vines to Grow in the Sun

Bougainvillea
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If you're looking to plant a perennial vine in a sunny spot, there's a wide variety to choose from. Some are flowering vines, grown more for their blooms than for their leaves. Others are plants with notable foliage. And still others are known for their berries. Varieties of perennial vines look their best at different points throughout the growing season, and some are a little more tolerant to cold weather than others. In fact, gardeners in northern climates often have to treat certain perennial vines as annuals. Here are 12 perennial vines that do well in full sun.

Tip

Some vines easily attach to structures, such as trellises, while others require a little more training. Stake or tie your vines while they’re still young, upgrading to stronger ties if necessary as the plant matures and gets heavier. 

  • 01 of 12

    Sweet Pea (Lathyrus latifolius)

    Sweet pea vine

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    The sweet pea that is a perennial vine for growing in the sun is Lathyrus latifolius, as opposed to the annual ​L. odoratus. This vine produces showy pink to white flowers from around June to September, and it grows roughly 6 to 9 feet long. It can be used as a ground cover and border, as well as tied to a support structure. It also grows well in containers. Water regularly and fertilize throughout the growing season. But avoid overhead watering as much as possible, which can cause disease in the vine.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Pink, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 02 of 12

    Hardy Kiwi Vine (Actinidia kolomikta)

    Half colored, white and pink green leaves of Variegated Kiwi Vine, Kolomikta Vine, Arctic Beauty Kiwi, Kolomikta Kiwi, Schmuckkiwi, Strahlengriffel (Actinidia kolomikta).
    speakingtomato / Getty Images

    The hardy kiwi vine is typically grown for its beautiful foliage. The plant does produce small, slightly fragrant white flowers in the spring, but they’re fairly insignificant. Instead, the plant’s heart-shaped leaves demand all the attention. Some leaves are solid green while others are patterned with white or pink and green. Full sun brings out the best foliage colors, though a little afternoon shade is best for the plant in warmer areas. The vine can grow to around 15 to 20 feet. Keep the soil moist, and add a layer of compost to encourage growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 03 of 12

    Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.)

    Bougainvillea flowers
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    Bougainvillea vines are a favorite in sunny courtyards, though they must be treated as annuals in northern climates. But under the right conditions, these vines can grow 20 feet or more and put on a showy display of flowers. Plus, they’re fairly low-maintenance. Prune as needed to maintain your vine’s shape, and make sure the soil stays moderately moist but not soggy. These fast-growing vines also are typically easy to train to grow on trellises, walls, and other supports. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 04 of 12

    Jackman's Clematis (Clematis jackmanii)

    Clematis 'Jackmanii'
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    The Clematis genus contains some of the most commonly grown plants in North American landscaping. And Jackman's clematis might be the most popular of all. While it can stand a little more shade than some other varieties, it's typically happiest in full sun. Water this plant regularly during the growing season to prevent the soil from drying out. And fertilize it in the spring with compost or a commercial fertilizer.  

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining
    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Dr. Ruppel Clematis (Clematis 'Dr. Ruppel')

    clematis doctor ruppel
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    As popular as Jackman's clematis is, not everyone is looking for a dark flower. So Dr. Ruppel gives you an alternative in color: pink. Grow it on an arbor to use as a vertical element in a pink-themed garden. The vines can stretch to around 12 feet long. Keep the soil consistently moist with regular watering and rainfall, and add some compost or fertilizer in the spring. Plus, if you remove spent blooms after the first wave of flowers, you can promote further blooming.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 06 of 12

    The President Clematis (Clematis 'The President')

    Clematis The President. Blooms clematis blue-purple flowers.
    Evgenii Mitroshin / Getty Images

    Another clematis choice is The President. Unlike Jackman's clematis, which has four sepals, and Dr. Ruppel, which has six, The President features a whopping eight sepals to make its flower extra showy. For the best display, provide these vines—which can reach around 10 feet—with support in the form of a trellis, fence, or other structure. Water whenever the soil is dry, and add a balanced fertilizer in the spring and summer. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, moist, well-draining
  • 07 of 12

    Summer Shandy hops (Humulus lupulus 'Sumner')

    Humulus lupulus in a kitchen garden
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    Summer Shandy hops is grown for its golden leaves on vines that can stretch around 10 feet long. The problem with this plant is it's high-maintenance. It pops up all over your growing area using its vigorous rhizomes (underground stems that produce plant shoots). This means you'll have to pull new plants constantly unless you want it to spread. Otherwise, this plant has fairly few care needs, typically only requiring watering during stretches without rainfall and appreciating a layer of compost each year. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: White
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 08 of 12

    Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)

    Winter jasmine flower

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    There are many types of jasmine, some of which are fragrant and suited for growing only in warm climates. Neither is true of winter jasmine. Gardeners value it for being one of the earliest bloomers, sometimes even before the first official day of spring. This plant is shrubby by nature, but it can be trained to grow as a vine by tying it to a trellis or other structure. Prune to maintain its shape just after it finishes flowering in the spring. Otherwise, it's a fairly low-maintenance plant.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Sandy loam, medium moisture, well-draining
    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

    Confederate jasmine vines

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    Confederate jasmine is from a different family (Apocynaceae) than true jasmines (Oleaceae). But it shares many similarities with them. This plant produces fragrant white flowers in the late spring. However, it's not very cold hardy, so it's typically grown as an annual in northern zones or overwintered in pots indoors. Besides winter protection, it's fairly easy to maintain. Watering usually is only necessary if you don't have rainfall for a stretch. And it can benefit from a layer of compost for the growing season.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 10
    • Color Varieties: White
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Loam, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 10 of 12

    Dutchman's Pipe Vine (Aristolochia macrophylla)

    Dutchman's pipe vine.

    Stavros Markopoulos / Getty Images

    The oddly shaped flower of the Dutchman's pipe vine may be a distinctive trait, but this plant is grown more for its foliage. The plant can reach heights of around 15 to 30 feet with a 15- to 20-foot spread. And many gardeners use it as a living privacy screen for porches and patios. Provide it with fertilizer or compost during the growing season. And make sure the soil doesn’t dry out. This vine is fairly easy to twine around support structures, though you might have to prune it to maintain a tidy shape. The ideal time for pruning is in the late winter or early spring. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, green, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining
  • 11 of 12

    American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)

    Bright floral background of blue-purple large flowers of wisteria
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    American wisteria is native to moist areas near ponds, streams, and swamps in North America. And while it likes moisture, it also flowers best in full sun. The plant produces showy, fragrant flowers in April to May, though new vines might take a couple seasons to bloom. Fertilizer or compost in the early spring can help to promote flowers. Many gardeners enjoy this vine attached to pergolas, trellises, fences, and other structures. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Humusy, slightly acidic, moist, well-draining
  • 12 of 12

    American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)

    American bittersweet

     

    Danita Delimont / Getty Images

    American bittersweet is grown for the ornamental berries its vines bear in the fall. It is commonly used in fall crafts, such as wreaths. American bittersweet can tolerate some shade, but it produces the best flowers and fruits with full sun. Care of this plant is fairly easy. Prune it in the late winter or early spring to remove dead or diseased growth and maintain its shape. It doesn’t usually need feeding unless you have poor soil.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Average, medium moisture, well-draining