Vines

Images added by Joey Williamson, HGIC Horticulture Extension Agent, Clemson University, 05/13. Prepared by Karen Russ, HGIC Information Specialist & Bob Polomski, Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Clemson University. (New 06/99.)

HGIC 1101

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Vines serve many landscaping purposes. Vines are excellent for providing a fast screen. They will give height to a landscape while needing little ground space and are therefore useful in small gardens.

Vines grown on an arbor can give shade much sooner than most trees can. On steep banks where a lawn will not grow, vines may be used as groundcovers. Vines are not only useful; they are beautiful, with bright flowers, luxuriant foliage, fragrance and interesting stem patterns.

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Confederate Jasmine) in bloom.
Trachelospermum jasminoides (Confederate Jasmine) in bloom.
Joey Williamson, ©2012 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Selecting a Vine

Selecting a suitable vine depends on its intended use, location, soil adaptability and type of support. Select vines with dense foliage and rapid growth for screening. Plant vines with fragrant flowers near windows or near porches and patios.

Vigorous, tall growing vines such as grapes or wisteria are ideal for growing on a large arbor to give shade, while a vine for decorating a mailbox support should be much smaller in ultimate size.

Deciduous vines will shade in summer and let light through in winter when they are bare. Annual vines allow experimenting with vine designs.

Types of Vines

Vines climb by tendrils, by twining or by clinging. These three types of climbing methods will determine the kind of support needed.

Tendrils are slim, flexible, leafless stems that wrap themselves around anything they contact. Grapes are the best known vines that climb by tendrils. Vines that use tendrils to climb will need supports such as wire or thin wood stakes.

Ficus pumila (Climbing Fig).
Ficus pumila (Climbing Fig).
Joey Williamson, ©2012 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Twining vines wind their stems around any available support. Honeysuckle and wisteria use this method of climbing. Twining and tendril-type vines climb best on wires, trellises and arbors. They can be grown on flat surfaces only if proper supports are also provided. Vine supports should be constructed with sturdy, durable materials.

Clinging vines, like Boston ivy, climb by attaching small root-like holdfasts to walls, trees or other rough-textured surfaces as a means of support. Clinging vines can be used on either brick or masonry walls. They should never be used on the walls of frame buildings. Their method of climbing has a tendency to damage wood.

Growing Vines

Most vines grow well in moist but well-drained soil, but there are vines for almost every soil and light condition.

Vines will need pruning to limit growth, to thin the stems and branches and to remove dead or damaged wood. Vines that grow rapidly may need to be pruned at frequent intervals. Vines may develop sparse foliage low on the trellis and develop a mass of foliage at the top. To prevent this, pinch back the ends of the stems as they develop.

Deciduous Vines
Common Name
Botanical Name
HeightOrnamental FeaturesGrowing Conditions
Coral Vine
(Antigonon leptopus)
30 feet Very vigorous late summer blooming vine with vivid pink flowers. Full sun, well-drained soil. Hardy only near coast. Tendrils.
Trumpet Creeper
(Campsis radicans)
30 feet Bright orange trumpet-shaped flowers in summer attract hummingbirds. Full sun. Tolerates heat and drought. Clinging.
Large Flowered Clematis
(Clematis species)
5 to 20 feet Many colors and patterns in large flowers are available. Sun, but keep roots cool and shaded.
Autumn Clematis
(Clematis terniflora)
30 feet Masses of small fragrant white blooms in late summer and fall. Sun, but keep roots cool and shaded.
Climbing Hydrangea
(Hydrangea anomala subspecies petiolaris)
60 to 80 feet Glossy foliage and large white flower clusters in summer. Partial shade to full sun. Moist, well-drained soil. Clings.
Goldflame Honeysuckle
(Lonicera x heckrotti)
12 feet Red flower buds open to yellow flowers in spring through summer. Full to part sun. Drought tolerant. Attracts hummingbirds. Twining.
Virginia Creeper
(Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
10 to 20 Rapid-growing native vine with coarse foliage. Excellent fall color. Sun to part shade, climbs by tendrils.
Boston Ivy
(Parthenocissus tricuspidata)
50 to 60 feet Glossy leaves turn orange-red in fall. Partial shade to full sun. Moist soil. Does poorly in hot, dry areas. Clinging.
Passionflower or Maypop
(Passiflora incarnata)
10 to 15 feet Beautiful, intricate purple and white flowers on a lovely native vine. The fruit is sweet and aromatic. Full to part sun. Dies back to ground in winter. Tendrils.
Japanese Hydrangea Vine
(Schizophragma hydrangeoides)
30 feet Showy white flower clusters. Dark leaves are marbled with silver in variety ‘Moonlight.’ Sun to shade, moist soil. Clings to trees and walls.
Japanese Wisteria
(Wisteria floribunda)
30 to 50 feet Fragrant, hanging clusters of lavender, white or pink flowers in spring. Blooms as leaves emerge. Full sun to part shade. Moist, well-drained soil. Do not over-fertilize. Twining, needs strong support.
Chinese Wisteria
(Wisteria sinensis)
30 to 50 feet Blue-violet flowers, but not as fragrant as Japanese Wisteria. Blooms before leaves appear. Same as above.
American Wisteria
(Wisteria frutescens)
25 to 30 feet Fragrant lilac purple flower clusters in spring. Less invasive than Chinese and Japanese wisteria. Same as above. Blooms on current season’s growth. ‘Amethyst Falls’ is an excellent cultivar.


Evergreen Vines
Common Name
Botanical Name
HeightOrnamental FeaturesGrowing Conditions
Fiveleaf Akebia
(Akebia quinata)
Up to 30 feet Rapid-growing vine with small purple flowers. Light, fruity scent Attractive foliage. Almost any site in sun or shade, wet or dry conditions. Twining.
Cross Vine
(Bignonia capreolata)
Up to 50 feet Showy orange or reddish orange flowers in late spring. Flowers best in full sun. Tolerates any soil. Sun or shade. Clinging.
Armand's Clematis
(Clematis armandii)
15 to 20 feet Long glossy leaves. Fragrant white flowers in early spring. There are pink cultivars. Provide winter shade to prevent sun scorch.
Climbing Fig
(Ficus repens)
Up to 50 feet Fine, heart-shaped foliage clings tightly to walls. Moist, well-drained soil, partial shade. Damaged below 10 F.
Autumn-Flowering Jessamine
(Gelsemium rankinii)
10 to 20 feet Flowers in autumn as well as in spring, non-fragrant yellow flowers. For more information see HGIC 1103, Carolina Jessamine.
Carolina Jessamine
(Gelsemium sempervirens)
10 to 20 feet or ground cover Bright yellow fragrant flowers in early spring. State flower of South Carolina. For more information see HGIC 1103, Carolina Jessamine.
Algerian Ivy
(Hedera canariensis)
Up to 50 feet Large, luxuriant, thick and leathery foliage. Partial shade. Moist, well-drained soil.
English Ivy
(Hedera helix)
20 to 50 feet There are many varieties of ivy available with a variety of leaf forms, patterns and colors. For more information see HGIC 1105, Ivy.
Evergreen Honeysuckle
(Lonicera sempervirens)
8 feet Spring-flowering native with orange-scarlet flowers. ‘Sulphurea’ is yellow flowered. Sun to part shade, moist well-drained soil. Twining.
Lady Banks Rose
(Rosa banksiae)
10 to 15 feet Long slender canes with an abundance of violet scented pale yellow flowers in spring. Full sun. Moist, well-drained, fertile soil. Climbing roses are not self-supporting.
Cherokee Rose
(Rosa laevigata)
10 to 12 feet Long, thorny, vine-like canes bear pure white single flowers in spring Full sun, to some shade. Moist, well-drained, fertile soil.
Evergreen Smilax
(Smilax lanceolata)
Can reach 30 feet Very beautiful foliage. Excellent screen on trellises. Part shade. Rich, well drained soil. Tendrils.
Japanese Star Jasmine
(Trachelospermum asiaticum)
15 feet or ground cover Smaller foliage, yellowish white flowers. More cold hardy than Confederate Jasmine. Part shade, moist, well-drained soil. Twining.
Confederate Jasmine
(Trachelospermum jasminoides)
30 feet or ground cover White flowers, sweetly scented in spring. ‘Madison’ is hardier. Part shade, moist, well-drained soil. Twining.


Annual Vines
Common Name
Botanical Name
HeightOrnamental FeaturesGrowing Conditions
Moon Vine
(Ipomoea alba)
15 feet Large, 4-inch, fragrant white flowers open in the evening and last through the night. Full sun with well-drained soil. Notch seed coat with a file and soak overnight before planting.
Love-in-a-Puff
(Cardiospermum halicacabum)
10 feet Small white flowers followed by puffy fruits. The seed has a heart-shaped mark. Full sun and well-drained soil.
Cup and Saucer Vine
(Cobaea scandens)
20 feet Green blossoms mature to deep purple. Fascinating foliage. Full sun. Moist, well-drained soil. Tendrils at end of leaves.
Purple Hyacinth Bean
(Lablab purpureus)
10 feet Purple blossom spikes followed by bright purple bean pods. Easy to grow, requires a sunny growing area.
Morning Glory
(Ipomoea purpurea)
20 feet Fast-growing vine with 4-to 5-inch-wide flowers in white, blue or red. Warm sunny location, tolerates some drought. Soak and nick the seeds before planting.
Cardinal Vine
(Ipomoea x multifida)
20 feet Small brilliant red flowers above ferny foliage. Warm sunny location, tolerates some drought. Soak and nick the seeds before planting.
Sweet Pea
(Lathyrus odoratus)
6 feet Blue, pink, purple, red or white fragrant flowers in spring. Grow as winter or spring annual. Cool temperatures, moist, well-drained soil. Remove old blossoms to keep the plant flowering
Mandevilla
(Mandevilla splendens)
10 to 15 feet Pink funnel-shaped flowers, leathery dark green leaves. Sun or light shade, well-drained soil. Mandevilla is a tropical vine and can be brought in for winter.
Spanish Flag
(Mina lobata)
20 feet The flowers are at first red then fade through yellow to cream. Full sun, well-drained soil. Soak the seed before planting.
Scarlet Runner Bean
(Phaseolus coccineus)
10 feet Fast-growing vine produces clusters of brilliant red flowers and edible beans. Full sun. Rich, well-drained soil.
Purple Bell Vine
(Rhodochiton atrosanguineum)
10 feet Purple, bell-shaped flowers. Full sun. Moist organic soil.

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