Beautify your landscaping and garden structures with climbing plants. Vines add softness, whimsy, and allure and can be trained to grow on trellises, pergolas, arbors, fences, and walls. Florida gardeners, check out our suggestions for vines that do well in sun or partial shade and salt air.
Add climbing plants to your landscaping to change the feel of an area from austere to soft, from clinical to organic, or from ho-hum to enticing. Train a vine on a trellis in a courtyard container, plant one to grow over a pergola, or let clinging ivy blanket an entire exterior wall.
Plan Before You Plant
If you don’t know much about vines, do a little research to help you identify the best climbers for your spaces. Vines fall into similar categories as shrubs and other plants:
• Flowering vines
• Fragrant vines
• Deciduous vines
• Evergreen vines
• Shade-tolerant vines
• Sun-loving vines
• Salt-tolerant vines
• Cold-hardy vines
• Invasive vines
• Clinging vines
• Ground-cover vines
Visit online plant directories to get initial information about vine options. Or go directly to a local nursery or garden center to view its vine selection and talk to staff. Describe what you want in a vine and where you intend to plant it. Be open to suggestions.
Provide something for the vine to climb on. This support may be a trellis, arbor, pergola, fence, or wall. You may need to train the vine—that is, wrap climbing ends around a wire or cross-piece to direct growth or tuck ends into the plant to contain them.
Most vines don’t need special planting instructions. Like shrubs or perennials, they do best when planted in enriched soil and watered, mulched, and fertilized occasionally.
Great Vines for Florida
If You Live in South Florida
These vines do well in the sun and partial shade: wild allamanda, confederate jasmine, Bengal clock vine, black-eyed Susan vine, Madagascar jasmine, Brazilian golden vine, chalice vine, smilax, hunter’s robe, flame vine, queen’s wreath, Rangoon creeper, passionflower, Jacquemontia, trumpet honeysuckle, night-blooming cereus, gloriosa lily, creeping fig, bleeding heart vine, devil’s potato, marine ivy, trumpet vine, crossvine, pipe vine, pepper vine, and herald’s trumpet.
South Florida vines that tolerate salty air include Bougainvillea, trumpet vine, pepper vine, snowberry, marine ivy, rubber vine, Algerian ivy, morning glory, Carolina yellow jessamine, Jacquemontia, and coral honeysuckle.
Looking for a climbing vine? Check these out: trumpet vine, blue butterfly pea, wintercreeper, Madeira vine, crossvine, creeping fig, Algerian ivy, English ivy, Rangoon creeper, Virginia creeper, vanilla orchid, and sweet potato vine.
If You Live in Central Florida
There’s a long list of vines that do well in sun and partial shade: cross vine, trumpet vine, pipe vine, pepper vine, marine ivy, wintercreeper, creeping fig, bleeding heart vine, gloriosa lily, Carolina yellow jessamine, Jacquemontia, night-blooming cereus, trumpet honeysuckle, queen’s wreath, passionflower, flame vine, smilax, Rangoon creeper, Bengal clock vine, chalice vine, Madagascar jasmine, confederate jasmine, wild allamanda, Brazilian golden vine, and black-eyed Susan vine.
Vines that are good options along Central Florida’s coasts include Bougainvillea, trumpet vine, marine ivy, snowberry, rubber vine, pepper vine, Carolina yellow jessamine, wintercreeper, Algerian ivy, morning glory, Jacquemontia, and coral honeysuckle.
Climbing vines that thrive in Central Florida include trumpet vine, crossvine, Madeira vine, blue butterfly pea, creeping fig, Algerian ivy, wintercreeper, English ivy, Virginia creeper, sweet potato vine, vanilla orchid, and Rangoon creeper.
If You Live in North Florida
Plant these vines if you’ve got sunny/partial shade locations: Armand clematis, marine ivy, pepper vine, crossvine, trumpet vine, wintercreeper, Carolina yellow jessamine, creeping fig, gloriosa lily, passionflower, smilax, trumpet honeysuckle, and confederate jasmine.
Coastal North Florida gardeners can plant these salt-tolerant vines: marine ivy, trumpet vine, wintercreeper, pepper vine, Carolina yellow jessamine, Algerian ivy, coral honeysuckle, and morning glory.
Clinging vines that grow well in North Florida include the trumpet vine, crossvine, wintercreeper, Virginia creeper, English ivy, sweet potato vine, and Algerian ivy.
The Florida Gardener’s Book of Lists, by Lois Trigg Chaplin and Monica Moran Brandies, provided some of the information for this article.