10 Best Annual Flowering Vines for Your Garden

  • 01 of 11

    Fill Your Garden With Annual Flowering Vines

    morning glories on a trellis
    Yukari Ochiai/amana images/Getty Images

    Flowering vines add height to a garden, act as filler plants, and can bloom for months in most growing zones. While it takes time for most perennial vines to become established and flower, that's not a problem with annual vines. Many spring-planted annual vines start flowering by midsummer and continue right until frost. But despite their advantages, many gardeners don't think to use annual vines. Even garden centers tend to downplay them because the vines can become a tangled mess in stores. But these plants are easy and inexpensive to start from seed, and they require little maintenance for the beauty they provide.

  • 02 of 11

    Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata)

    Black-Eyed Susan Vine
    Juliette Wade/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    Thunbergia alata is a short annual vine that grows well in containers. The flowers are small (around 2 inches) and come in shades of white, yellow, and orange. Sporting dark centers, they resemble the garden perennial black-eyed Susans. You can often find black-eyed Susan vines sold in hanging baskets. You will get longer vines (around 6 to 8 feet) when you grow them in the ground, but being pot-bound tends to encourage them to bloom more profusely.

    The plants are easy to grow from seed. You can start the seed indoors or directly sow them in the ground after the last frost. It can take anywhere from six to eight weeks after planting for the vines to start flowering, so starting the seeds indoors two to four weeks before your last frost date can help speed things along. Use peat pots or paper pots, so you can transplant into your garden without disturbing the seedlings. Keep the soil moist, and you should see germination within one to two weeks. Once in your garden, water your vines once or twice a week to ensure moderate soil moisture, especially if you don't have rainfall.

    • Color Varieties: White, yellow, orange
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moderate moisture, well-draining
  • 03 of 11

    Canary Creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum)

    Tropaeolum peregrinum (Canary creeper) flower, Les jardins de vertume, september
    Francois De Heel/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    Canary creeper is a late-season bloomer, starting in July and going through October. It is in the nasturtium family, but there's not much of a resemblance. The 1-inch yellow flowers really do resemble feathery birds—hence the plant's common name. The foliage is also attractive, with deeply divided palm-shaped leaves.

    Canary creeper is a vigorous grower. But like its nasturtium cousins, it doesn't really grab hold of anything. So if you want it to grow up a trellis or other support, you will need to tie it in place. It also looks good simply vining through other plants, and its vines can easily reach 8 to 12 feet long. Keep young plants consistently moist, but you typically only need to water established plants if the soil has dried out due to a lack of rainfall.

    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Average, moderate moisture, well-draining
  • 04 of 11

    Cardinal Climber (Ipomoea sloteri)

    Cardinal Climber Vine
    Marie Iannotti

    If you'd like to attract hummingbirds to your garden, planting a cardinal climber vine is a good start. The trumpet-shaped flowers are full of nectar and are a brilliant red, which hummingbirds like. Cardinal climber vines can reach 6 to 12 feet long. And their feathery, light leaves filter the view, allowing you to look through the vine but also providing some privacy. 

    The plants do not like being moved, so sowing directly into the garden is your best option. The hard seeds will germinate better if scarified (nicked or rubbed with sandpaper) before planting. Note that the seeds are poisonous if ingested. Moreover, the plants are generally low-maintenance, as long as you maintain evenly moist soil through watering and rainfall.

    • Color Varieties: Red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining
    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Climbing Snapdragon (Asarina)

    Climbing Snapdragon
    Marie Iannotti

    Climbing snapdragon ​is a deceptively fragile-looking vine, but in fact it is quite tenacious. Vines will climb to about 6 to 8 feet and bloom all summer. These plants are slow starters, so start seeds indoors around 10 weeks before your last frost date. Use peat or paper pots because the seedlings don’t like their roots disturbed. They should germinate in about two to three weeks. Once in the garden, they typically don't need much care from you. 

    The plant's common name is a bit of a misnomer because this is not a snapdragon variety, and the trumpet-shaped flowers are not reminiscent of its namesake's flowers. This vine looks lovely in containers and spilling over walls, and it will twine around strings and trellises. Climbing snapdragon can even be grown as a houseplant if you have enough sunlight. Plus, there are many hybrids of Asarina, though seeds can be hard to find.

    • Color Varieties: Lavender, pink, red, blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, moderate moisture, well-draining
  • 06 of 11

    Cup and Saucer Vine (Cobaea scandens)

    Blossoming flower on a vine
    Clive Nichols/Getty Images

    The sweet-smelling flowers of this plant are indeed shaped like a cup and saucer. The actual flowers are the internal "cup," which is usually lavender. And they are surrounded by a "saucer," or collar, of a green calyx. The vines can grow around 10 to 20 feet under ideal conditions.

    Cup and saucer vines take a while to start blooming, so it helps to start the seeds indoors six to eight weeks before your last frost date. The flat seeds germinate better when planted on their edges, which makes them less prone to rot. Keep the seedlings indoors until you're sure any frost has passed, as they're sensitive to cold temperatures. The vines are typically easy to train to grow on trellises or other supports, and they require little maintenance beyond watering to keep the soil moderately moist. Blooms will come along in midsummer and continue into fall.

    • Color Varieties: Purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Average, moderate moisture, well-draining
  • 07 of 11

    Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor)

    Morning Glories (Ipomoea tricolor)
    Marie Iannotti

    Morning glory is a low-maintenance, vigorously growing vine, reaching around 8 to 10 feet, and it comes in a variety of colors. This plant is called morning glory for a reason: The flowers will close in the afternoon heat. Some people also refer to it as the "back-to-school" vine because it sometimes waits until the end of summer to start flowering. 

    These vines do best when directly sown into the garden once the danger of frost has passed. The seeds germinate better when they're scarified. Give the vines a support on which they can climb, such as a pergola or fence. They’re also great for hanging baskets and ground cover. Simply keep the soil moist and enjoy the blooms.

    • Color Varieties: Blue, pink, purple, red, white, yellow, bicolors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Average, moist, well-draining
  • 08 of 11

    Ornamental Gourds (Cucurbitaceae)

    Ornamental gourds
    Marie Iannotti

    Ornamental gourds aren't grown for their flowers but for their large, attractive seed pods (the gourds). There's a wide variety of gourds that grow easily and quickly in just a few months. Many people let the vines sprawl on the ground. But if you are growing them for decoration, the gourds will remain cleaner and less pest-prone if you train them on a structure. A pergola or arbor looks especially interesting with gourds dangling from it.

    Grow gourds as you would any other member of the squash family. They need a sunny spot, weekly watering, and soil with plenty of organic matter worked in. Unfortunately, they are also subject to the same pests and diseases as squash, including squash beetles, rodents, and powdery mildew. But they are prolific vines, and the colorful harvest at the end of the season makes a little pampering worth it. Many gourds are easy to dry and can be used as decorations or crafts, such as gourd birdhouses.

    • Color Varieties: Yellow, white, orange
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moderate moisture, well-draining
    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Purple Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus)

    Lablab purpureus on vine
    xia yuan/Getty Images

    Purple hyacinth bean features heart-shaped leaves with purple veining on the undersides. The vines, which reach around 6 to 15 feet, have a deep-purple cast. The profuse blooms are a rich lavender. And the glossy pods are a luminous purple. At one time, the purple hyacinth bean was an important foraged food source, but now it is mostly grown as an ornamental plant. While the pods are edible, they're toxic uncooked.

    The plant is best grown by directly sowing seeds in the garden in the spring. As with so many flowering vines, the seeds are tough and germinate better if scarified first. Flowering generally starts in midsummer and continues through fall. The flowering will diminish once the pods form, though this is not a drawback because the pods also are attractive. Provide the plant with a sturdy support on which it can grow, and collect the seed pods in the fall for planting next year. Watering typically isn't necessary unless you have long stretches without rainfall.

    • Color Varieties: Purple, white, pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average, moderate moisture, well-draining
  • 10 of 11

    Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus)

    Runner beans in flower.
    P A Thompson/Getty Images

    Runner beans are generally grown for their ornamental flowers. However, scarlet runner beans also make a nice edible bean when harvested young. The vines can get long and heavy quickly—roughly 8 to 12 feet—so provide a good support for them to grow on. 

    Some gardeners start seeds indoors around five weeks before the last frost. But others prefer to directly sow seeds in the garden once the danger of frost has passed. Other than regular watering, scarlet runner beans shouldn't require much care. Mulch can help to keep the ground moist and cool for them, and a layer of compost in midsummer will give them an extra boost to get through the remainder of the season.

    • Color Varieties: Red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining
  • 11 of 11

    Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)​

    Sweet peas
    Flavia Morlachetti/Getty Images

    Sweet peas look delicate, but this is a tough plant that favors the cooler temperatures of spring and fall. The vines reach around 6 to 8 feet. And the flowers are known for their heavy, sweet fragrance, though not all new cultivars are scented. Sweet peas make wonderful cut flowers. And the more you cut, the longer the plants will bloom. 

    Sweet peas can be directly sown outside, or you can start them inside around five weeks before your last frost date. They have a hard seed coating, so scarification will speed germination. If you grow them in the vegetable garden, not only will they add color and fragrance, but they'll also entice more pollinators to visit your veggies. Water your plants regularly to maintain even soil moisture, and add a layer of compost to encourage blooms.

    • Color Varieties: Pink, red, purple, blue, white, bicolor
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-draining