Climbing vines for trellis

South Florida Vines

South Florida Vines are an exuberant mix of spectacular flowers for summer or winter bloom.

Vines are often used to camouflage or “pretty up” a bland fence, cover a fence in a hurry for privacy, or just give you the most bloom for the money.

Many attract butterflies, and some – like honeysuckle or jasmine vines – have a wonderful fragrance.

South Florida flowering vines include winter-bloomers and those that flower more in warmer weather (pretty much every season but winter), so if you have room for more than one vine you can have color all year from these beautiful plants.

Types of vines

Basically, most vines fall into one of two groups: twiners and leaners.

Twiners wrap their new growth around whatever they can find. You’ll want to help them get attached while they’re young but once they start going, they’ll take off on their own.

Leaners are more shrubby plants with long stems that need your guidance to grow where you want them.

Using green tie tape (available from stores and nurseries), tie each stem for support at strategic spots to train it where you want it to go.

Leaners like allamanda and bougainvillea can be grown as large shrubs if you prefer.

(Bougainvillea is also covered under Small Flowering Trees and all the Shrubs pages for different height varieties. It’s all the same plant…how it’s grown and used in the landscape is the only difference.)

There are also “clingers” like Monstera Vine (on the Unusual Vines page) that attach themselves to tree trunks or meander up walls.

A few are covered under the Groundcover Plants section since they can be grown as a vine or a groundcover…namely creeping fig and golden pothos.

Room to grow (and grow…and grow)

Even though everything else in your yard grows bigger, vines can scamper all over the place – up trees, over bushes, across the roof, into the neighbor’s yard, you name it.

Therefore, this is one type of plant you MUST have room for or it will take over.

Some vine varieties are more tame and controllable than others, and the Plant Pages will let you know what to expect from each one.

Allow plenty of space between a vine and the nearest shrub or tree when you plant.

Trim fairly often to keep a vine in bounds – don’t go overboard though because you’ll be cutting off new growth that produces flowers. Give it a good pruning once a year for size.

Vines will grow toward the sun, so keep that in mind when placing one in your landscape.

Keep grass away from growing up to the base of a vine. Mowers and trimmers can damage the plant’s main trunk.

Landscape uses for South Florida vines

  • covering a fence
  • decorating a free-standing arbor or trellis
  • on a wall trellis or lattice
  • wrapping a lamp post or mailbox post
  • draped over a pergola, the entrance to a porch or patio, or the side of a carport

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Thursday – May 06, 2010

From: Tampa, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Evergreen flowering vine for wall in Tampa FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Tampa Florida and am looking for a non toxic, evergreen, profusely flowering vine to cover a wall. It needs to be cold hardy to approx. 20F. Thanks for your help


The “evergreen” qualifier that so many gardeners put on their requests for plant suggestions makes it pretty difficult sometimes. Since Hillsborough County in Florida is in USDA Hardiness Zone 11, some vines that might be deciduous farther north are listed as evergreen in our Native Plant Database. We found three that fit your specifications, although one has a toxic warning. Follow each link to our page on that plant to learn bloom color, growing conditions, size, etc. Our favorite for this use would be the Crossvine. We have it climbing some of the limestone pillars and walls at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the hummingbirds and butterflies love it. If you have children, pets or livestock that will eat flowers or leaves, don’t consider the Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower).

Flowering evergreen vines for Tampa Fl:

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine)

Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower) -From our Native Plant Database: “Warning: The flowers, leaves, and roots are poisonous and may be lethal to livestock.”

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

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Fall is a great time to rediscover nature’s original wall hangings: the vines of Central Florida. Offering bright green foliage and showy flowers, they soften the concrete, brick and wood confines of urban landscapes. There is no reason to stare at a blank wall when you can hang a plant on it.

Gardeners often avoid vines. While they admire the attractive flowers, they are offended by the unruly ramblings growing up over shrubs or to the tops of tall trees. They never quite know what to do with a vine.

Now, more than ever, there is room for vines in home landscapes, said Randy Knight, owner of Poole and Fuller Garden Center in Winter Park. Urban gardeners are walled in and have plenty of vertical space where the vines can climb, he said. Fences, railings, and light posts can all be beautified with Florida’s colorful vines.

Vines are easy to grow and among the quickest plants to reach a mature size, Knight said. They are space savers for cramped landscapes because they grow straight up and need only a little room for their roots. Vines can beautify areas where spreading shrubs would be out of the question.

Some of the prettiest vines have been introduced from the tropics. Many are not reliably hardy, so be prepared either for some winter die-back or to provide freeze protection. When it comes to the plants that you really enjoy, don’t always base a decision on hardiness, Knight said. “We need to place the emphasis on how pretty and pleasurable the plant can be.”

One Brazilian import that Knight displays on a trellis at his home is the mandevilla vine. It’s one of the showiest enjoyed by many area residents, he said. The hot pink 3- to 4-inch-diameter blooms are borne throughout the warm seasons. Use mandevilla to rapidly screen objectionable views or to add a spot of color for special garden interest.

Near an entrance he grows the Paraguayan nightshade. This new introduction is a vining shrub bearing 2- to 3-inch purple blooms all summer long. Knight grows this specimen in a pot that can be quickly moved indoors during a freeze. A beautiful blue flowering bean relative is the clitoria, also called butterfly-pea. Knight found his first specimen in South Florida and is growing new plants from seed for local gardeners. Send it climbing a trellis for warm-season flowering.

A number of vines can be started by planting seeds purchased from garden centers or mail-order houses. These provide extremely quick cover for barren walls and fences, Knight said. Most gardeners are familiar with the morning glory, which bears clusters of blue, red, pink and white flowers during spring and summer. The cypress vine is also especially attractive with fernlike, finely cut foliage and small scarlet or white trumpet-shaped flowers. Another rapid grower is the black-eyed Susan vine, which produces a dense green wall covering and orange flowers dotted with shiny black eyes. Start these seeds in spring for summer-through-fall flowering.

Only a few Florida vines are totally hardy during surprise freezes. One that has been exceptionally reliable is the Japanese clematis. It’s a beautiful midsummer bloomer covered with small white flowers that contrast with the dark evergreen foliage. Equally as hardy is the Carolina yellow- jasmine, offering bright yellow and fragrant flowers for the winter. It never misses a day of cool-season flowering even during a winter freeze, Knight said.

Providing continuous bloom summer through fall is the coral vine. This semihardy rambler grows rapidly, producing clusters of pink blooms that contrast with the light-green foliage. It is frequently seen growing as a volunteer climbing roadside fences. The Confederate jasmine with fragrant white blooms is also a Central Florida favorite. It is reliably hardy except for snap freezes. The foliage is evergreen, and the viny growths quickly fill a chain-link fence or climb a lamppost.

What would winter be without the orange-flowered flame vine? It’s a rampant grower that climbs to the tops of trees and gives the best show in town during freeze-free years. Other flowering vines well worth considering include the painted trumpet (lavender), pandorea (pinkish), trumpet vine (orange), allamanda (yellow) and wisteria (lavender).

Most vines will need full sun to develop strong stems and to flower freely. Even though the mature plants eventually will cover a wall, the young plants usually need a trellis or similar support to begin the climb. Grow the plants in the ground or large containers. Plastic tubs and half whiskey barrels are especially appropriate for the cold-sensitive species. Affix a trellis to the container so plant and all can be ushered inside when freeze warnings are sounded.

Vigorous vining growth will be produced when the soil is prepared before planting. Knight suggests adding peat and manure to the Florida sand, working liberal quantities into a large area, where the roots will be growing. This will increase soil moisture-holding ability and supply some nutrients. For pot culture, equal parts peat moss and perlite mix would be a good medium. To each gallon of prepared soil incorporate one tablespoon of dolomitic lime.

Keep the vines climbing with a good feeding program. Fertilize monthly with a 6-6-6 or similar analysis product. Also, be sure the soil is kept moist, and add a mulch to stretch the time between waterings.

Vines won’t require a whole lot of care, but unruly growths will have to be redirected. Train the vines to go in the desired direction, Knight said. He advises gardeners not to be afraid to prune the stems. This will produce new branching that keeps the plants full and compact. Properly trained, the plants that just hang around won’t be guilty of loitering if they serve a useful landscape purpose.

Thomas MacCubbin is an urban horticulturist with the Orange County Agricultural Center.

Selecting Zone 9 Vines – Carin For Vines That Climb In Zone 9

There are many ways to use vines in the landscape. Whether you need something to cover up an eyesore or simply want to beautify a trellis, zone 9 vines are there to serve. Choosing the right site and ensuring that a plant is hardy in your zone are two key aspects to selection of vines. Vines that climb in zone 9 must be tolerant of extreme heat in summer and little natural moisture. No matter, there are plenty of vigorous, tough vines that will thrive in zone 9 gardens.

Climbing Vines in Zone 9

Climbing vines help direct the eye up to encompass many architectural details in the landscape. They also may produce flowers, fruit, attract butterflies or pollinators, feed birds, shade an area or simply cover up a failing fence or other structure. Most of the vines for zone 9 are tough and need little extra care outside of watering and training them to a trellis or arbor. Climbing vines do need support to produce the best plant possible.

Flowering Zone 9 Vines

Fast growing vines that can cover an area quickly with scented blooms or masses of color are a winning landscape feature. The old-fashioned Japanese wisteria is hardy in zone 9 and will produce copious dangling racemes of beautiful blooms, but it can escape and become a nuisance. The American wisteria is better behaved and has lovely lavender flowers.

Equally vigorous, Carolina jessamine is evergreen, native and produces tubular, bright yellow flowers for up to 6 weeks.

Many varieties of clematis are suitable vines that climb in zone 9. Some other zone 9 vines to consider are:

  • Dutchman’s Pipe
  • Coral Honeysuckle
  • Confederate Jasmine
  • Moonflower Vine

Annual Zone 9 Climbing Vines

Although annual plants don’t offer year round interest, there are some interesting species that can add excitement and drama to the garden during the growing season.

Black Eyed Susan vine is one of the cheeriest plants around. It twines up readily and has 5 deeply yellow-orange petals with a dark black center.

Corkscrew vine is an oddity with strange lavender flowers that twine upon themselves.

Mandevilla is one of the more tropical climbing vines for zone 9. It has large usually pink but also red and white blooms that resemble a Hibiscus.

Canary vine is another great performer, which bears small but copious deeply lobed, skirted yellow blooms.

Zone 9 Vines for Foliage

Climbing vines for zone 9 don’t have to bloom to be attractive. Boston ivy is hardy in many zones including 9. It has attractive glossy leaves that turn astounding hues of orange and red in fall. Another great foliage vine is Virginia creeper. It also has great fall color and climbs anything by itself with adhesive tendrils.

Tri-color kiwi is also a flowering vine but its foliage is incredible with tones of green, pink and cream. Another of the classic zone 9 climbing vines is English ivy. You have seen it adorning many regal buildings. This is an excellent choice for a full to partial shade setting.

Hops gets flowers of a sort, cones, but it is also a lovely foliage plant. The leaves have almost grape-like form and several cultivars have deeply yellow foliage. Some other zone 9 vines to try might be:

  • Pink Trumpet Vine
  • Dragon Lady Crossvine
  • Climbing Hydrangea

Fragrant Climbing Plants

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on May 1, 2009. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)

Climbing plants are one of the best types of plants to have in the garden. Climbing vegetable plants allow those with limited space to grow fresh produce on a patio or even a balcony. For the ornamental grower, vines are one of the easiest ways to separate garden spaces. A fast-growing vine will cover an arbor or trellis in once season.

When strategically placed, vine-covered structures can help to create garden rooms. What better way to create a private secret garden than with fragrant flowering vines? A few vines which will accomplish this are listed below along with basic characteristics of each.

Vines for Covering Outdoor Structures

Wisteria frutescens by Dave’s
Garden member ‘Nyssa416’

Solandra maxima by Dave’s
Garden member ‘sa_haiad’

Stephanotis floribunda by
Dave’s Garden member

Beaumontia grandiflora by
Dave’s Garden member

Jasminum polyanthum by
Dave’s Garden member ‘Ulrich’

American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) *All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested. This species is less aggressive than Asian varieties, but wisteria is invasive in many areas. Keep plant in check with pruning. Height: 8 to 20 feet. Grow in full sun to partial shade in zones 6a to 9b. Blooms are blue-violet or violet-lavender in mid-spring. Vine is evergreen.

Armand clematis (Clematis armandii) Height: 10 to 40 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 6a to 9b. Blooms are white or near-white from winter to mid spring.

Australian waxflower (Hoya australis) *Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested. Height: 15 to 20 feet. Grow in full sun to partial shade in zones 10b to 11. Blooms are white to near-white or cream to tan. Blooms appear in late summer through early fall. Vine is evergreen.

Variegated confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Variegatum’)*All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested. Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction. Height: 15 to 40 feet. Grow in full sun to partial shade in zones 8a to 11. Blooms white-near white from mid-spring to early summer. Vine is evergreen.

Cup of gold vine (Solandra maxima) *All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested Height: 30 to 40 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 8b to 11. Blooms are yellow-orange to bright yellow from late winter to early spring and then again from mid fall to late winter. Vine is evergreen.

Madagascar jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda) Height: 12 to 15 feet. Grow in full sun to partial shade in zones 10a – 11. Blooms are bright white and appear from mid-summer to early fall.

Madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia) *Plant is said to be invasive and difficult to eradicate in some areas; use caution when planting. Height: 12 to 20 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 10a to 11. Blooms are white to near-white from late summer to mid-fall. Vine is evergreen.

Nepal trumpet flower (Beaumontia grandiflora) Height: 12 to over 40 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 10a to 11. Blooms are white to near white from late spring to early summer. Vine is evergreen.

Rangoon creeper (Quisqualis indica) *May be invasive. Plant has spines. Height: over 40 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 10a to 11. Blooms are red and pink to near white from late spring to mid fall. Vine is evergreen.

Winter jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) Height: 12 to 15 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 9a to 10b. Blooms are white to near white appearing throughout the year. Vine is evergreen.

For a real treat, plant fragrant vines near a bedroom window or sleeping porch, and near pathways leading to your home. The sweet scents will be carried on the breeze into sleeping and sitting areas of your home. When planted over or along pathways leading to your home, the fragrance welcomes guests in a way they will not soon forget.

Happy Gardening


Plant characteristics and care tips are a condensed version of what is found in Dave’s Garden PlantFiles. Please visit PlantFiles for more information and great member photographs.


Photo at top right is rangoon creeper (Quisquarlis indica) by Dave’s Garden member, ‘sa_haiad.’

All other photos are by Dave’s Garden members and are credited above.

Flowering Vines that Go Beyond the Norm

Take a close-up look at 12 vines that can fill a garden with stunning flower forms and prolific blooms By Jenny Andrews


Vines are often an afterthought, the last category of plants that gardeners think to include in their landscapes. Some gardeners are even afraid of them—too invasive, too much maintenance. The ubiquity and horror stories of English ivy and Chinese wisteria often color the reputation of all vines. And honestly, vines are an ambiguous group: some have woody stems like shrubs and need a permanent home and pruning; others act like perennials, dying back to the ground and reemerging the next growing season; some are legitimately annuals in their life cycle; others are hardy in tropical regions but can be grown as annuals in cooler climates.

Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

1. Lathyrus odoratus ‘Matucana’ (Sweet pea)

Reputed to have been introduced in Britain around 1700, though possibly developed in the 1920s or ‘30s, either way this is a lovely heirloom of striking color and classic sweet-pea fragrance. Flowers are bicolored, velvety maroon and violet, somewhat smaller than modern cultivars, blooming from spring to early summer. A cool-weather annual, the tendriled vine reaches 6 to 8 feet so is sized right for obelisks, and well-mannered enough for small gardens. Annual.

Learn how to grow and arrange sweet peas.

Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

2. Ipomoea alba (Moonflower)

A tender perennial in the morning glory family from tropical Americas with large heart-shaped leaves and huge white flowers. Its fat, ice cream-swirl buds snap open at dusk, wafting their sweet fragrance to attract night-active pollinators like the sphinx moth. Flowers refurl by noon the next day. Produces a mass of luxuriant foliage on 6- to 15-foot vines in a single season, flowering from July to October. I once had 80 blooms on a single plant—knee-buckling. Perennial in Zones 10-12, annual in cooler zones.

Photo by: Marianne Majerus.

3. Cobaea scandens (Cup-and-saucer vine)

A relative of Jacob’s ladder and phlox, this fast-growing vine from Mexico and South America is not hardy in most of the U.S., but it can bulk up easily in one season to form a screen or arbor cover, using tendrils to climb. Its fascinating 3- to 4-inch flowers, with a purple “cup” resting on a green calyx “saucer,” appear in late summer and fall. Another apropos common name is cathedral bells. To encourage branching, pinch back stem tips. Perennial in Zones 9-11, annual in other zones.

Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

4. Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ (Coral honeysuckle)

A glorious, floriferous version of native honeysuckle, draped with clusters of bright-red tubular flowers tipped with yellow from late spring through summer. Foliage is clean and free of powdery mildew, providing a blue-green backdrop for the display of blooms. Plant in full sun for best flowering. Woody vining stems reach 6 feet or more in a season. A beacon for hummingbirds. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

Photo by: Marianne Majerus.

5. Clematis ‘My Angel’ (Clematis)

Most people think of clematis as big-blossomed divas. But a host of smaller flowered types can lightly weave their way through the tapestry of the garden. One of my favorites is the hybrid ‘My Angel’, which produces masses of 1-inch four-pronged blooms from June through September in most areas, pinkish bronze on the outside and butter-yellow within. It can grow 8 feet in a season. Zones 4-8.

Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

6. Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine)

Native to the South, Carolina jessamine is an early bloomer, cloaking itself in fragrant golden blossoms from February to April. Ideal as a backdrop where late-spring and summer bloomers will take over after the jessamine is finished, or intermingle it with a later-flowering vine. A well-mannered woody climber, hardy in Zones 7-10, with evergreen or semi-evergreen foliage.

Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

7. Passiflora ‘Blue Eyed Susan’ (Passion flower)

A synergistic hybrid that brings out primo genetics of three species: South American natives Passiflora edulis and P. cincinnata, and U.S. native P. incarnata. Brilliant deep-purple flowers with a frilly corona, highly fragrant, are impressively sized at 4 inches across. Fast growing up to 15 feet or more in a season. Hardy in Zones 9-11, so low temps might knock it back to the ground, but it can resurrect from its roots.

See more passion flowers.

Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

8. Tropaeolum peregrinum (Canary creeper)

For a garden conversation starter, find a spot to enjoy this nasturtium relative up close. Its dainty, yellow, fringed flowers look like small orchids or bright birds in flight, blooming from summer until hard frost. Likes warm weather, lean soil, and sun to part shade. The featherweight verdancy makes it ideal for rambling over shrubs; nice in a container or hanging basket. Twines by leaf petioles. Mostly grown as an annual but can overwinter in frost-free regions.

Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

9. Mina lobata/Ipomoea lobate (Firecracker vine)

More gardens should add this easy exotic-looking vine, tolerant of heat and drought, to the summer repertoire. Upright racemes have tubular, hummingbird-magnet blooms arrayed along one side of the reddish stalks, giving the plant another common name—Spanish flag. Hot-colored flowers start scarlet then mature to yellow then white, until all colors appear simultaneously, like a snippet of the color wheel. Twining stems reach 10 or more feet. Marginally frost tolerant; hardy in Zones 9-11, typically grown as an annual.

Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

10. Vigna caracalla (Snail Flower)

Native to the tropics of Central and South America, this unusual heirloom (Thomas Jefferson called it “the most beautiful bean in the world”) has an intoxicating hyacinth-like fragrance. Also called snail vine, the curly-Q blooms emerge as white buds and transition to purple-pink as they unfurl, held in tight clusters, flowering summer to fall. A substantial vine at 10-20 feet, give it room and strong support. Can overwinter as a tender perennial in Zones 9-11, maybe Zone 8.

Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

11. Ipomoea nil ‘Yuuzuki’ (Japanese morning glory)

There are lots of annual morning glory varieties. ‘Yuuzuki’ (“the moon in the dusk”) is a prize. Huge flowers, 3 to 5 inches across, are pinkish brown with a white edge. Slow to flower, it’s worth the anticipation; while you wait, enjoy the variegated foliage. This variety originated in Japan where morning glories have been selected and cultivated for centuries. Similar (though without variegated leaves) is the solid-colored ‘Chocolate’. Annual.

Photo by: Rob Cardillo.

12. Clematis pitcher (Pitcher’s leather flower)

Native perennial from Iowa to Texas, this clematis has purple urn-shaped flowers formed of four thick petal-like sepals with saucy recurved tips. Blooms are dainty and pendulous, like jewels, and stems are wiry and brittle, so be gentle. Climbs by twining leaf petioles, so give it thin-diameter supports it can grasp, or let it clamber gracefully through shrubs or other vines. In my Nashville garden, the similar C. viorna was a treasure. Zones 5-9.

While a handful of vines are certainly well deserving of their wide popularity, most gardeners need to get out of their vine rut. Even Master Gardeners, says horticulturist Allan Armitage, “are hard-pressed to name 10 vines. Clematis, climbing roses, jasmine—they run out after about five names.” Rather than being daunted by the miscellany, we should revel in the variety. As Armitage states in the intro to his book Armitage’s Vines and Climbers (Timber Press, 2010), “I love them all, annual or perennial, and quickly discovered I will never discover them all.”

The myriad less-familiar vining options bring a lot to the table (some of them literally, as edibles) and are worthy of adding to the repertoire for their flowers, foliage, fragrance, and wildlife-friendly qualities. There actually are vines for every type of garden, even if all you want or have room for is something pretty to grace a single obelisk in a container. Growing vines as annuals is an excellent way to experiment and liven up the landscape. Annuals can bring months of blooms and some will even cover an arbor in a single season, without worries about the long term. If you’re looking for commitment, there are plenty of alluring hardy vines to enjoy year after year.

In landscape design, vines are ideally suited to take advantage of multiple dimensions, and are key elements in the vertical gardening movement. According to garden designer Susan Morrison, co-author with Rebecca Sweet of Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces (Cool Springs Press, 2011), “Garden design doesn’t need to just focus on plants in the ground; make the most of the entire space. That includes walls, transitions, and what’s overhead. Going vertical adds a unique touch to gardens of any size.”

Included here is a tempting selection of vines that might be new territory, offering a range of sizes, habits, and flower forms beyond the norm. So assess the vine potential in your landscape and make this year a vertical adventure.

Questions about Vines

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