20 Best Perennial Flowering Vines and Climbers

passionflower vine on a fence

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

One of the hardest skills for a gardener to master is incorporating climbing vines into a landscape. Annual vines, such as cardinal climber and morning glory, are easy enough. They last only for a single season, so you can discontinue planting them if they don't work the way you want. But perennial vines are in your garden for years and will get larger and fuller over time. Deciding where to place the vines is an important consideration and often a daunting one for both new and experienced gardeners alike. Even so, there are some truly stunning perennial vines that can be trained over doorways, up trees, or even left to dangle from hanging pots.

Here are 20 of the best perennial flowering vines and climbers for your garden.

Tip

Vines that climb do so via different methods. Twining vines climb a trellis, fence, or other structure by branches that grow in a circling fashion, twisting themselves around the structure. A modified form of twining is the use of tendrils—small shoots that anchor themselves to a supporting structure as permanent branches become established. Other vines use aerial roots or suckering disks that attach themselves to a supporting structure. These vines can damage the structure they attach to and are best avoided unless you are willing to put in effort to control their growth.

  • 01 of 20

    Clematis (Clematis spp.)

    clematis vine

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    The Clematis genus includes roughly 300 species of woody-stemmed, profusely blooming plants. Most are climbing flowering vines, but there are also short and bushy types. It is the climbers that are most popular with gardeners, including dramatic hybrids 'Jackmanii 'and 'Nelly Moser', the dainty 'Betty Corning', or the robust sweet autumn clematis. You might need to help your clematis by wiring it to a trellis as it begins to climb. But once it takes hold the twining plant will weave through the structure on its own.

    USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 11 (varies by species)

    Color Varieties: White, pink, purple, red, bicolors

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained

  • 02 of 20

    Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris)

    House covered in climbing hydrangea

    Design Pics / Getty Images

    Climbing hydrangea can grow as tall as 50 feet if it has a wall, fence, or large tree for its aerial rootlets to cling to. Unlike other aerial-rooting plants, climbing hydrangea grows slowly enough that controlling it is not very difficult. This is a good plant for shady locations, and it will tolerate full sun only if the soil is kept very moist. The flowers bear a resemblance to those of shrub hydrangeas, and the dried flower heads and peeling bark give the plant good winter interest.

    USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9

    Color Varieties: White

    Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full shade

    Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained

  • 03 of 20

    Chocolate Vine (Akebia quinata)

    Five-leaf akebia vine
    penboy / Getty Images

    Chocolate vine is an April bloomer that produces spicy scented, brownish-purple blossoms that hang like pendants. Even after the flowers fade, the semi-evergreen foliage of the vine remains attractive with lush, oblong leaves usually grouped in leaflets of five. These flowering vines quickly grow to 30 to 50 feet, clinging to a support structure by twining. Investigate before planting it because its fast growth rate has categorized it as an invasive plant in some areas.

    USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9

    Color Varieties: Brown/purple, white

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to full shade

    Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, sandy or loamy

  • 04 of 20

    Hardy Kiwi Vine (Actinidia arguta or Actinidia kolomikta)

    kiwi vine

    The Spruce / Autumn Wood

    A cold-hardy relative of the plant that produces supermarket kiwis, hardy kiwi vine is grown for its distinctive foliage. There are two species that are called hardy kiwi vine: Actinidia kolomikta has variegated foliage while Actinidia arguta is a less vigorous grower. The flowers of kiwi vine are small, but they produce a fragrance similar to lilies of the valley. The plants have a twining growth habit and need a sturdy support structure for vertical growth.

    USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9

    Color Varieties: Green foliage; purple and pink highlights on Actinidia kolomikta

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained, loamy

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • 05 of 20

    Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

    passionflower vine

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    Purple passionflower is a semi-woody vine with large serrated leaves. It clings to supports with tendrils. These vines are prized for their complex and exotic-looking flowers, and many cultivars are available in a variety of colors. The vines grow to around 15 to 20 feet long, and they can be kept in pots to overwinter the plants indoors in cooler climates.

    USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9

    Color Varieties: White, pink, red

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained

  • 06 of 20

    Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)

    trumpet vine

    The Spruce / Autumn Wood

    Trumpet vine is a native Southeastern U.S. plant, with its summer flowers much loved by hummingbirds and butterflies. But it can easily become an aggressive grower, and in some areas, it is considered invasive. It climbs via aerial rootlets. Because trumpet vines can get quite woody and can grow to as much as 40 feet long, their weight requires strong support. They also require pruning to keep them flowering at their best and to control their spread.

    USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9

    Color Varieties: Orange, red, yellow

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Well-drained

  • 07 of 20

    Climbing Roses (Rosa spp.)

    Climbing roses are actually just large rose shrubs with long canes (stems) that are trained to grow up a trellis or other support structure. Once you have the support structure in place, the training process is quite simple. Tie the canes to the structure with strips of cloth as they grow, gently bending them to cover the structure. Try not to prune the plant until the canes have grown long enough to cover your structure unless you need to remove a misshapen, broken, or diseased portion.

    USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 10 (varies by species)

    Color Varieties: Pink, red, white, yellow, orange, purple

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained

  • 08 of 20

    Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

    Star jasmine is a twining flowering vine that produces fragrant blooms in the late spring to early summer. Its long, oval, dark green leaves make the vine an excellent ground cover, but it also can grow up trellises and other structures. In cooler climates, it can be grown in a container and overwintered indoors, though some gardeners simply prefer to grow it as an annual and start with a fresh plant the next season.

    USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 10

    Color Varieties: White

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Loamy, medium moisture, well-drained

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • 09 of 20

    Mandevilla (Mandevilla spp.)

    Also known as rocktrumpet, Mandevilla is a genus of tropical and subtropical flowering vines. They produce five-petaled flowers that are often large and fragrant alongside glossy green foliage. These fast-growing vines need lots of moisture to stay healthy, along with a sturdy support structure. They also grow well in hanging baskets.

    USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11

    Color Varieties: Pink, red, white

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

    Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained

  • 10 of 20

    Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.)

    Bougainvillea is a genus of woody tropical vines with brightly colored clusters of flowers. The vines can grow up to 40 feet long and can be trained to grow in a shrub form as well as around support structures. But be careful when working with them, as these vines do contain thorns. In cooler climates, they should be overwintered indoors.

    USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11

    Color Varieties: Pink, purple, red, white, orange, yellow

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained

  • 11 of 20

    Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)

    Moonflower is a perennial flowering vine whose blooms open up at night, exuding their sweet fragrance into the air. Then, as the light of morning arrives, the flowers close up again for the day. These fast-growing vines reach around 10 to 15 feet long and can easily spread as a ground cover or grow on a support structure. They can be difficult to overwinter indoors, so if you live outside their growing zones you might want to treat them as an annual and start with a fresh plant each year.  

    USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 12

    Color Varieties: White, purple

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

    Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained

  • 12 of 20

    Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis)

    Cape honeysuckle can be trained both as a vine and a shrub, depending on your garden preferences. But it will grow more robustly as a vine to around 30 feet long. Its bright, tubular flowers produce a sweet nectar that’s known to attract hummingbirds. As a vine, pruning maintenance is fairly straightforward. Simply clip away any damaged, dead, or diseased portions, along with stems that are difficult to train on your support structure.

    USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11

    Color Varieties: Orange, red

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Average, well-drained

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • 13 of 20

    Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

    Japanese honeysuckle is a robust flowering vine with a long blooming period and fragrant flowers. In some areas it is considered invasive due to its vigorous growth, so be sure to check locally whether you can plant it. The vine twines easily around support structures. Prune after the plant is done flowering to keep its size in check.

    USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9

    Color Varieties: White, yellow

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Loamy, moist, well-drained

  • 14 of 20

    Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata)

    Black-eyed Susan vine sports flowers that look similar to the popular black-eyed Susans. But instead, the plant is a climbing vine. It stays fairly small in size at less than 10 feet long. This makes the vine ideal for hanging baskets and other containers. If you live outside of the plant’s growing zones, you can overwinter it in containers indoors.

    USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11

    Color Varieties: Yellow, orange, red, pink, white

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained

  • 15 of 20

    Cup and Saucer Vine (Cobaea scandens)

    Cup and saucer vine is a vigorous climbing vine that can quickly form a living privacy screen on a support structure with its lush bright green foliage. The vine’s cup-shaped flowers develop a sweet fragrance as they open. If you attach this vine to a support structure when it’s young, it won’t need much more help than that to continue to wind itself around the structure. 

    USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11

    Color Varieties: Purple, white

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

    Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained

  • 16 of 20

    Bleeding Heart Vine (Clerodendrum thomsoniae)

    Bleeding heart vine is a twining vine with showy white flowers that have red accents. The vine can grow up to 15 feet long and can easily climb around a support structure. Keeping the soil consistently moist but not soggy is key for growing these vines. They also are heavy feeders and need regular fertilizer throughout the growing season. 

    USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 12

    Color Varieties: White with red

    Sun Exposure: Partial shade

    Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20

    Snail Vine (Cochliasanthus caracalla)

    Snail vine is a perennial flowering vine that grows in climates without frost. Its petite blooms are said to resemble the curled shell of a snail. These vines grow to around 15 to 20 feet long. Regular light pruning to get rid of dead or scraggly portions will help to keep the vines healthy and robust. 

    USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11

    Color Varieties: Pink, purple, white

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained

  • 18 of 20

    Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas)

    Sweet potato vine comes from the same family as edible sweet potatoes, but it is grown for its ornamental value. It features long tendrils that spill over the sides of containers, wind around support structures, or creep across the ground. Frequent light pruning will help to keep the vine looking tidy and healthy.

    USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11

    Color Varieties: Medium green foliage

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

    Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained

  • 19 of 20

    Corkscrew Vine (Vigna caracalla)

    Corkscrew vine is a fast-growing, twining, perennial flowering vine with fragrant blooms. It gets its common name because its showy flowers grow in a spiral around the vine like a corkscrew. The vine will need a sturdy support structure, as it can grow up to 30 feet long. Prune the vine after it’s done flowering to keep it looking neat.

    USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 12

    Color Varieties: White, purple

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

    Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained

  • 20 of 20

    Snapdragon Vine (Maurandya scandens)

    Snapdragon vines aren’t related to the typical garden snapdragons, though their flowers resemble one another. The trumpet-shaped blooms appear during the summer and are a favorite of hummingbirds. These vines stay relatively small, so they won’t take over a garden. They can grow as ground cover, in hanging baskets, and up supports. If you’re using a support structure choose one that’s thin, as the slender flowering vines can have trouble winding around thick posts.

    USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 10

    Color Varieties: Pink, blue, purple, white

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Rich, loamy, well-drained

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Akebia quinata. Global Invasive Species Database

  2. Campus radicans. North Carolina State University Extension