Vining plants for containers

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Container Gardening with Climbing Plants

There are some beautiful specimens of climbing plants available at your local garden center or DIY store. If you, like so many others, want to grow tall plants and vines but are stuck on a rental property and worry about any damage long, trailing plants could cause, you can rest easy. There’s an easy way to have climbing plants in your home, and you don’t even have to plant them directly in the ground. Simple containers can often be the best spot for climbing plants. Imagine how beautiful it would be to have two planters on either side of your front door featuring a classic ivy or iconic climbing roses. You’ll get the spectacle of vertical gardening with much more versatility.

Finding the Right Containers

Knowing how to choose the right container for your garden comes down to two factors: size and depth. Consider the root system of the species you’re planting, and ask yourself if you’re working with a climbing plant that has roots that grow downward or a creeping plant with roots that tend to spread out in a wide berth. A lot of planters make the mistake of focusing solely on water drainage when setting up their container gardens, and while proper planter irrigation is important prevent the roots of your climbing plant from getting overly wet and rotting, so is picking the right size, shape, and depth.

Preparing Your Containers

So what happens if you find the perfect container but it doesn’t have good drainage? Depending on what your planter’s made of, you can just add some drainage holes yourself. Plastic is easiest material to create drainage with using a power drill or even just a hammer and nails. Ceramic planters are a bit tricker, but drainage can be added carefully using either a masonry bit for ceramic pots that are unglazed or a glass/tile bit for glazed ceramic containers. The key here is to take your time, as rushing could result in damage to your planter. Still, these homemade holes can provide just as much drainage for your climbing plants as an expensive planter manufactured to look like Swiss cheese can.

Even if your container already has adequate drainage holes, you can give your climbers a leg up by adding a layer of rocks and some sand to the very bottom. Then, follow up with the growing media that you’re planning on using. Some climbing plants do better with these amendments to the soil, so tailor your enhancements to fit the needs of your climbing or hanging plant.

Climbing Plants vs. Hanging Plants

Containers should also be sturdy enough to support the upward weight of their climbing plants as they grow. Some planters may tip as your plant gets taller and more substantial. For instance, Chinese Wisteria is an amazingly beautiful plant and can spice up any area, but it’s also surprisingly heavy, and the larger it grows, the more strain will be put on your container. You should look for a container that has room for an added support system, or even one that’s got a built-in trellis in place.

Alternatively, you can transform your climbing plants into hanging plants by suspending your containers and skipping the trellis. Virginia creeper, for example, is a fast growing vine that can quickly climb a trellis and reach for the skies or beautifully spill out of a hanging planter with cascading blooms.

Planting Your Containers

As with any planting, you’ve got the choice of either starting your own seeds or buying an established seedling from a garden center. Several climbing plants are easy to start from seeds, such as morning glories, black-eyed Susans, and moonflowers. Plus, it can be fun to start entirely from scratch and see what you’re able to nurture. One helpful trick to prep your seeds before planting is to knick the seed coat lightly and wrap the seed in a damp paper towel to make it sprout faster. The sooner you have that healthy sprout, the sooner you can place it into your prepared container.

Not all plants are simple to start from seeds (roses, we’re looking at you), and there’s nothing wrong with getting instant gratification from a seedling planted in a container for fast curb appeal. Grow smart, not hard.

Climbing Plants That Work Well in Containers

Putting climbers and creepers in planters is not everyone’s first instinct, as again, climbing plants are typically vines that wrap around trellises and crawl up walls. So if you are going to choose containers, make sure you choose a climber that will thrive in that setting. Some possibilities include sweet peas, morning glories, ivy bougainvillea, climbing hydrangea, passion flower, Virginia creeper, climbing roses, clematis, trumpet vine, honeysuckle, common jasmine, grapes, wisteria, and canary creeper. This list is just a short selection of potential plants to use in your container. Don’t be shy when you go to pick out your plants at the garden center. Talk to the staff to get their recommendations if you’re not finding one you like. They’ll be able to steer you away from the plants that won’t do well in containers.

Maintaining Your Planters

It’s time to start changing your landscape with some lovely climbing plants in containers around your home and garden. As each plant is unique, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving them all proper care as the begin to grow taller over time. For instance, any plant in a container will dry out quicker than those planted in the soil. If you’ve suspended any of your planters, a good way to check the moisture levels in them is to try and lift them a bit with your palm. A damp and heavy feel means that there’s a good amount of water in your soil, but lightweight or chalky-feeling soil means that it may be time to water. Before long, your climbing plants will be the envy of all your neighbors.

The climbing plant in a pot can add a nice natural touch to any kind of place. Such plant is also a great way to add more privacy to the place as well. That plant could create a greenery nest where the owner can rejuvenate and relax and also harbor in the fragrance that is mild and soothing. Find the following 5 best vines for containers below to have your own:

Ivy

One of the best climbers for plant containers is Ivy. Ivy has the ability to suit any types of position so that it can create a great choice for beginner gardeners. Moreover, Ivy can grow as high as 80 feet and it has evergreen foliage.

What is even more beautiful from Ivy is that it can remain green even in the season of winters. You need to plant Ivy in a container that is shallow and wide rather than deep and narrow.

Virginia Creeper

If you question why you should choose Virginia creeper, you may have not understood that the foliage of Virginia creeper can turn to be beautifully red when it comes to autumn. Besides, what is special from Virginia creeper is that it can be grown in pots and even on your balcony.

Virginia creeper is surely able to improve privacy. In order to grow Virginia creeper, you need to get a very big container and also provide a trellis support that is sturdy.

Morning Glory

Look at the following picture! Aren’t the flowers pretty? Can you imagine such flowers decorate your lovely house? It could infuse a nice additional vibe to the place it is in. Morning glory is another great option.

It is also one of the best vines or creepers for containers. Morning glory may be called old-fashioned flowers. This kind of flower, however, is easy to grow.

Clematis

You don’t like old-fashion flowers for containers? Well, you still have another option which is clematis. This flower is a perfect plant to add interest and also vertical height to your container garden.

If you plan to occupy this kind of flowers in your garden, make sure you plant the flowers in a large containers. Also, you need to ensure that they are regularly fertilized and thoroughly and deeply watered. All of those things are to make sure you give the best maintenance to your clematis.

Climbing Hydrangea

Lastly, you could try use climbing hydrangea for containers. This is another great option especially when you need to live under USDA Zones of 5 until 8 and also in an area that has lots of rooms. The presence of plenty of rooms is important because Climbing Hydrangea can grow up to 70 feet.

Climbing hydrangea is shade tolerant. It also thrives the best in positions that are semi shaded. Besides, Climbing Hydrangea also needs a big pot that is about the half size of whiskey barrels.

Choose the vines that suit your preference and interest. Don’t forget to always maintain the vines so that they can serve the best purpose.

Six Vines that Grow Well in Containers

By Bill Marken, Suzanne DeJohn, The Editors of the National Gardening Association

Growing vines on trellises and other supports is a good way to add height to container plantings. A vine-covered arbor makes a lovely garden entryway, and vines growing on lattice can shield a porch from hot summer sun — and from your neighbors. Many perennial vines get too big too quickly to make them practical for containers; Here are few that are more manageable.

  • Bougainvillea: The papery flowers have a tropical vividness in shades of red, orange, purple, white, and other colors. Look for dwarf varieties (La Jolla is a good one) for containers — they spill nicely over the sides. Trailing types (Crimson Jewel) are best for hanging baskets. Tall varieties can be tied up as a vine.

    Provide full sun except in the hottest climates. Keep the soil on the dry side; drainage must be perfect. When planting, take pains not to disturb the roots at all. In spring, prune off any cold-damaged wood or crossing branches. During the growing season, prune off branches growing where you don’t want them to go. Bougainvillea is hardy in zones 9 to 11 (some varieties are hardier than others).

  • Clematis: Fortunately, the most spectacular clematis are also the best suited to containers. These are the deciduous hybrids with the beautiful, huge, six-petaled flowers in blue, purple, red, and many other shades. The vines can climb as high as 20 feet. Use one in a container with a trellis or train the vine up and over an entryway. Choose from many varieties at your local nursery or in mail-order catalogs.

    Provide full sun or part shade. Conventional wisdom says to put the plant in a place where the container is in shade and the uppermost growth is in the sun if you can find such a location: The idea is to keep the roots cool and the flower buds exposed to light. Most are hardy in zones 4 to 9. You may need to move clematis into a protected spot for the winter.

  • English ivy (Hedera helix): English ivy is easy to train and, in a container, easy to bring indoors. Let English ivy drape from a hanging basket filled with shade-loving annual flowers. Train it into topiary shapes. Use it in a container where it can climb up a trellis or wall, like in an entry or on a patio.

    Provide part or full shade, or even full sun in cool climates. Keep the soil moist. Pinch young plants to encourage bushy growth. English ivy is hardy in zones 5 or 6 to 9. Bring plants indoors during the winter in cold regions.

  • Mandevilla: You can find this tropical vine sold almost everywhere during the warm months. Buy it in bloom, move it into a 12-inch-wide container or hanging basket, and enjoy it for the summer. Provide full sun or part shade. Keep the soil moist. Feed at least monthly. Mandevilla is hardy in zones 10 and 11. Frost kills the plant. Try bringing it indoors and growing it in a sunny window for the winter.

  • Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) With its glossy evergreen foliage and wonderfully sweet white flowers in summer, star jasmine deserves a spot in any garden where it can grow. In a container, train star jasmine up a trellis wherever you can appreciate its fragrance. Provide full sun or part shade in hot climates. The soil should be kept moist for best growth, although plants can withstand dry conditions. This plant is easy to grow, and is hardy in zones 8 to 10. Star jasmine can be moved indoors for the winter in colder climates.

  • Wisteria: Chinese wisteria (W. sinensis) and Japanese wisteria (W. floribunda) are probably the ones that come to mind with their thick. Both grow into enormous plants and are classified as invasive in many regions. Instead, consider the more manageable and well-behaved native species, American wisteria (W. frutescens). Train it on a trellis or frame. The plant produces the familiar clusters of purple-blue or white blossoms. Provide full sun and a strong support. Wisteria is hardy in zones 6 to 9.

Window boxes and hanging baskets allow you to add color to otherwise drab areas of your landscape. Properly designing these outdoor accessories requires the right combination of plants. Most baskets and boxes contain a mix of medium, short, and trailing plants that work together to create multiple layers of texture and interest. The taller plants are often the most noticeable, while the trailing plants are pulled from the more utilitarian ranks of ground covers and vines. Here are some of our favorites.

Trailing Plants for Hanging Baskets

These trailing plants are popular in hanging baskets: bacopa, sweet potato vine, and calibrachoa. Photos from tamu.edu.

Hanging baskets look great with plants that create thick canopies. The most popular trailing plants for hanging baskets produce an abundance of vibrant blooms. They can turn hanging planters into huge, colorful clusters of flowers suspended in mid-air.

Hanging baskets are difficult to maintain for more than a single season, so in many areas, gardeners prefer annuals so they don’t have to worry about their flower baskets in the winter.

Annual Varieties Well-Suited to Hanging Baskets
Common Name Scientific Name
Cascadia Hybrid Snapdragon Antirrhinum pendula
Bonfire Begonia Begonia boliviensis
MiniFamous Calibrachoa Calibrachoa spp.
Cora Cascade Vinca Catharanthus roseus
Spreading Sunpatiens Impatient Impatiens x hybrida
Blue Mountain Nierembergia Nierembergia hippomanica
Avalanche, Wave, and Tidal Wave Petunia Petunia x hybrida
Boutique Blue Bacopa Sutera cordata
Whirlybird Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus
Sweet Potato Vine Ipomoea batatas

Trailing Plants for Window Boxes

English ivy (hedera helix) can be grown as an perennial in much of the United States. Its vines add a lovely trailing accent to window boxes.

Whether you mount them under windows or hang them from deck railings, flower boxes look great with vines spilling over the sides. Many gardeners choose trailing plants with flowers, but others prefer vibrant green leaves.

Any plants that do well in hanging baskets will thrive in window boxes, but may need to be replanted each year. Because they can hold significantly more growing medium than hanging baskets, window boxes can also support much larger, perennial plants to create container gardens that return year after year. When choosing plants for perennial window boxes, make sure that you group species with similar watering needs that do well in your USDA Hardiness Zone.

Perennial Varieties Well-Suited to Window Boxes
Common Name Scientific Name USDA Hardiness
Alyssum Alyssum spp. Zones 3 to 8
Hardy Iceplant Delosperma floribunda Zones 5 to 8
Clove Drops Diantdus caryophyllus Zones 5 to 9
Ornamental Strawberries Fragaria x ananassa Zones 4 to 8
Coral Bells Heucherella spp. Zones 4 to 9
Lantana Latana spp. Zones 8 to 10
Periwinkle Vinca minor Zones 4 to 9
English Ivy Hedera helix Zones 5 to 9

Vines for Containers

Don’t forget plants that grow up instead of hanging down! Some vines can be grown in planters and trained up a trellis or allowed to fall to the ground. Vines with shorter stems tend to do best, but longer vines can be clipped to the container’s rim once they reach a desired length to create a draped effect. Vines grow aggressively, so be sure to provide plenty of water and fertilizer during their incredible growth spurts.

Vines Well-Suited to Containers
Common Name Scientific Name
Glory Vine Eccremocarpus scaber
Morning Glory Ipomoea purpurea
Creeping Gloxinia Lophospermum spp.
Runner Beans Phaseolus spp.
Black-eyed Susan Vine Thunbergia alata

5 Trailing Plants for Hanging Baskets

Our favorite hanging baskets are returning to the porch for spring, and we’ve filled them with fresh plantings to welcome the season. This year, we’re embracing the dramatic shapes of trailing plants. Draped over the edge of a suspended basket, long tendrils of greenery and flowers create striking silhouettes that enliven our outdoor spaces. Read on to learn more about the plants in each basket.

1. House Ivy (Hedera helix): An assortment of house ivies provides the trailing element for a large basket. Native to Europe and western Asia, these shade-loving evergreen vines grow quickly as a climbing plant or groundcover. Here, tiny white daisies and dark begonia foliage offset the shapely vines with distinctive, five-lobed leaves.

2: Chandelier Plant (Kalanchoe manginii): Named for the shape created by its elegantly draped stems, this hardy succulent makes a standalone statement in a hanging basket. Native to Madagascar, Kalanchoe manginii features long-lasting, bell-shaped flowers in a vibrant salmon shade. Ideal for a sunny porch, this succulent prefers bright light and warm temperatures.

3. Verbena (Verbena canadensis): Blooming from late spring through the first frost, verbena is a low-maintenance option for continuous color. Its trailing blooms provide a spill of vibrant purple in a planting of begonias and variegated ivy. Rich in nectar, its flowers will attract hummingbirds to your hanging basket. Here, it’s paired with the striking foliage of dragon wing begonia, which offers glossy, wing-shaped leaves.

4. Variegated Ivy (Hedera helix ‘Variegata’): Like house ivy, this rambling vine provides a dramatic silhouette when placed at the edge of a hanging basket. The white markings of variegated ivy are caused by a lack of chlorophyll in areas of the leaf; this means that the plant is more sensitive to sunlight and will thrive in filtered sun or shade.

5. Jasmine (Jasminum mesnyi): Also known as primrose jasmine, this delicate climber is native to Vietnam and southern China. It takes the spotlight in a small hanging basket thanks to cascades of vivid, chartreuse foliage, which is accented by fragrant, bright yellow flowers in early spring.

Container Grown Vine Plants: Tips For Growing Vines In Containers

Vines are a fantastic addition to the garden. They can be used as centerpieces or accents and backdrops for other plants. They can be trained up nearly any structure to draw attention to a wall or distract from an unsightly necessity like an air conditioning unit. They are also very versatile in that they can be grown easily in containers. Keep reading for information on how to grow vines in a pot.

Container Grown Vine Plants

One of the most important things to consider when growing vines in containers is support. Vine support in pots can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be – you can use one or two sticks of bamboo or set a decorative obelisk in the center of the container. You can set your container next to a fence or support column and let nature take its course.

If you choose to put your support in the pot itself, place it before the plant gets too big – you want it to be able to begin climbing as soon as it can and don’t want to disturb its root system.

An alternative is allowing your vines to trail. This idea is especially popular for container arrangements of more than one type of plant. A tall centerpiece plant can be accented very nicely by a vine hanging over the edges around it. Vines also work well in hanging baskets, both climbing up the supporting wires and trailing as far as they like over the edge.

Best Vines for Containers

Some vines work better for different purposes. A few that make very effective trailing accents include:

  • African daisy
  • Fuchsia
  • Ivy
  • Moneywort
  • Petunia
  • Sweet pea
  • Verbena

Vines that are better suited to climbing include:

  • Bougainvillea
  • Clematis
  • Gynura
  • Stephanotis
  • Star jasmine

Now that you know a little more about growing vines in containers and which types work best, you are well on your way to enjoying these versatile plants.

Plants and flowers in your yard or garden don’t all need to be on the ground. Here are the best plants for hanging baskets and stop kneeling to maintain them.

Utilizing hanging baskets around your home or garden is a great way to create different levels for your space, as well as draw your guest’s attention. We’ve seen them work wonderfully hanging above front porches, as a way to welcome those entering the home, and we’ve seen them used within gardens as a way to create multiple levels, rather than only having plants in the ground or in pots.

If you are considering adding some hanging baskets to your collection, you’ll want to be sure that you have a sufficient way to hang them. Depending on the size of plants you plan on using, you’ll want to make sure that you have a sturdy base from which you can hang the basket and a long enough chain that will allow your basket to rest at the proper height.

You can always just buy pre-arranged baskets from your local grocery store, and it’s a great idea to do so if you don’t have a lot of time to spend putting together something of your own! But if you do have the time and feel like getting creative, we wanted to help you in your quest to impress your guests!

Take a look at these 25 different flowers that will work wonderfully in hanging baskets. You might just find something that works for you!

1. Begonia

Begonias are elegant flowers native to tropical climates. They are quite popular and are appreciated as a houseplant thanks to their brilliant colors.

2. Fuchsia

This unique flower boasts an extravagant display of colorful petals. Fuchsia is a great plant for a hanging basket since the flower itself is always inverted.

3. Impatiens

Impatiens are delicate flowers that are also known as “Touch-Me-Not” flowers. They have seed pods that explode and send seedlings floating up to several meters!

4. Lobelia

Lobelias are native to tropical climates, but can be found in moderate climates as well. Their beautiful pedals come in a variety of different colors.

5. Nasturtium

Nasturtium actually translates to “nose-twister” or “nose-tweaker”. These bright flowers are usually symmetrical and always have 5 petals.

6. New Guinea Impatiens

These New Guinea Impatiens feature a warm pink shading on the petals, with waxy green leaves accenting the brighter colors of the flower.

7. Pansy

Pansy’s are a common household flower and are known for their recognizable coloring and design of petals. A wonderful addition to your garden!

8. Silver Bells

Silver Bells are named after their vibrant coloring, shown here to appear almost silver against the bright green backdrop.

9. Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum flowers grow in tight clusters and are perfect for brightening up any space. The flowers themselves can grow in a variety of colors.

10. Argyranthemum

Argyranthemums are bright and vibrant flowers, with large pollen beds that almost seem to pop out at you!

11. Bidens

These bright yellow flowers are great for bringing a space to life. Their bold yellow petals seem to radiate happiness!

12. Black Eyed Susan Vine

The Black Eyed Susan Vine is a favorite of ours. We love the stark contrast between the deep colored petals and the dark center of the flower.

13. Diascia Barberae

Source: Wikipedia

The Diascia Barberae is another delicate flower with thin stalks and uniquely shaped petals. The small flowers are perfect for a hanging basket!

14. Geranium

Geraniums are popular plants, with long vine-like limbs that make them great for hanging pots or baskets. We love the large clusters of red flowers!

15. Heliotrope

Heliotrope plants are tiny and grow in groups of dozens of little unique flowers. The petals themselves show a gorgeous blend of color.

16. Ivy Geranium

The Ivy Geranium Plant displays balls of wonderful flowers, showing an elegant blend of color on their petals. We love the large green leaves on the stalks!

17. Lantana

Lantana plants are truly gorgeous. They feature tiny flowers with exquisite color combinations of purple and yellow.

18. Lysimachia

Lysimachia plants feature long stalks that sprout flowers on all sides. The tiny petals bloom in groups of five with pointed ends.

19. Million Bells

The Million Bells plant is perfect for your hanging basket needs. The stalks branch out from the root source and the flowers hang elegantly with upturned petals.

20. Moss Rose

Moss Rose is a very peculiar plant with a unique aspect of beauty. The spiky stalks are in contrast with the large and vibrant flowers.

21. Petunia

Petunias almost have a sinister type of beauty, with large, billowing petals featuring vein-like designs sprouting out from the dark center of the flower.

22. Scaevola

Scaevola flowers are ideal for hanging baskets. The stalks branch out from the center of the plant and the tiny flowers seem to float around the vines.

23. Signet Marigold

Source:Wikimedia

These Signet Marigold plants have bold coloring on the petals and in the center of the flower. We love the rusty orange coloring with a lighter outline on the petals.

24. Verbena

The Verbena plant fits nicely inside small containers, and will work great in hanging baskets as well! The small colorful flower petals are sure to liven up any space.

25. Water Hyssop

The Water Hyssop plant also works fantastically in hanging baskets, since the flowers themselves hang down from long vines. We love the pure white petals!

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Popular Garden Ideas

Popular Garden Ideas

There is something magical about a climbing vine in a garden. Vines seem to have a mind of their own and go completely wild with just a little bit of love. Something about this makes them symbolize a freestyle bohemia that is much more desireable to me than a few straight-laced plants properly lined up in a row, like a bunch of buttoned up soldiers.

And just because you are limited to a balcony or a small outdoor space doesn’t mean you need to miss out.

The five vines here, from flowering to fruit baring, are all suitable for container gardens — all you need is a big pot and something for it to climb up, generally a few sticks of bamboo will do. For more artful climbing, you can look into twining, netting or strings, or a trellis.

1. Black Eyed Susan Vine

The fast-growing Black Eyed Susan Vine (also called the Thunbergia or Clock Vine) adds a little drama with its solid black eye, framed by sunny yellow, white, or bold orange flowers.

They’re easy to grow from seed, prefer full sun, and grow 6 to 8 feet tall. (870 Milligram PacketFerry-Morse 1779 Black-Eyed Susan Annual Flower Seeds, Vine (870 Milligram Packet), $.65 at productsmall.org)

2. Sweet Lace Grape Vine

As the enthusiastic Patti Moreno points out in this video, Sweet Lace Grapes or Vitis Vinifera are a hearty addition to a container garden with the added bonus of a harvest — which you can use for wine, jams, and jellies.

She says:

Sweet Lace Grapes are the perfect grape vine to grow in a container on a patio — they’re small, they’re compact, even though they can grow to be between 20-40 feet. Keep it pruned if you don’t want it to go that crazy or make sure you give it a vertical support, or plant it up against a lattice fence, or over an arbor. ($2 for 50 seeds on Amazon)

3. Heavenly Blue Morning Glory

Best in full sun, the Heavenly Blue Morning Glory blooms all summer long — up to 10 weeks — and can grow an ambitious 12 feet high. (I once had a neighbor two floors down that missed out on most of his blooms…which climbed out of the shade to my apartment).

Morning Glories come in several color options, but the contrast of the blue and white here is particularly stunning.($4.92 for 150 seeds on Amazon)

4. Clematis Konigskind Climador

Boasting clusters of lovely violet-blue blossoms, the Clematis Climador (also known as Konigskind )’ is a relatively new addition to the perennial container garden market, meaning it is bred to be in a pot, with a long blooming period.

Says garden.org:

One of the best new clematis to grow in containers is Clematis Konigskind ‘Climador’. This perennial has 5-inch-diameter, purple-blue, ruffled flowers that bloom for up to four months on vines that only grow 4 to 5 feet long. This clematis is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9, although the container should be protected over the winter in cold areas.

($15 for the vine on Gardenvines.com)

5. Sweet Pea Vine

The small blossoms of the perennial Sweet Pea vine or Lathyrus latifolus actually look like dozens of tiny orchids (about 1 inch in diameter). But unlike orchids, they are ready to face the elements of your balcony or terrace.

Contrary to the Clematis, the sweet pea vine is no new kid on the block. Says vintagegardengal.com, “It is an heirloom vine, which Thomas Jefferson grew, enjoyed, and called ‘everlasting pea’ in his day.”

For more Sweet Pea tips, check out Success with Sweet Peas on finegardening.com. ($3 for one seed pack with three colors; minimum order three at reneesgarden.com)

Do you have a favorite container garden vine? Let us know in the comments.

21 annual climbers

There is a small, select group of annual climbers that are too often overlooked, yet can bring subtle touches and welcome bursts of colour to brighten the garden in summer. Speed of growth makes them ideal for clothing a new garden, providing temporary screening or softening hard surfaces. Here are some of the best types of annual climbers.

Advertisement 1

Thunbergia alata ‘African Sunset’

An attractive selection, displaying masses of dusky brick-red to soft-cream flowers with a black centre backed by triangular mid-green leaves. For sun or part shade. 2.4m. USDA 9a-10b

2

Lathyrus sativus f. azureus

The fragile appearance of this elegant and dainty sweet pea, with grassy foliage and small, beautiful, azure-blue flowers, belies a tough constitution. It is tolerant of drought and waterlogging. 90cm. USDA 1a-11.

3

Maurandya barclayana

A pretty, free-flowering herbaceous climber that supports itself with the aid of twining leaf stems. Worth growing for its ivy-shaped leaves and elegant, foxglove-like flowers. It thrives in light, well-drained soil. 1.5m.

4

Ipomoea purpurea ‘Star of Yalta’

This herbaceous perennial, grown as an annual, has deep-purple flowers with a star of deep pink radiating from the centre of the flower to the tips of the petals. It can also be used as ground cover. 1.8m.

5

Clitoria ternatea

This fast-growing tropical climber produces exotically shaped flowers of vivid deep blue. It needs plenty of warmth and sunshine and is at its best during long, hot summers. 2.4m. USDA 10a-11.

6

Cobaea scandens

The large, greenish-white flowers of this outstanding species turn dark purple as they age. It flowers best on moist, well-drained soil. 5m. RHS H2, USDA 9a-11.

7

Lathers tingitanus

Makes up for its lack of fragrance with striking deep rose-purple flowers and a vigorous disposition. Drought tolerant, it likes a warm position in full sun. 1.5m.

8

Lablab purpureus ‘Ruby Moon’

The richly coloured purple blooms and shining purple pods that follow are complemented by purple-tinted foliage. It boasts a spread equal to height depending on the growing conditions. 6m. USDA 7a-10b.

9

Lathyrus odoratus ‘Cupani’

Glorious sweet pea popular for its sweet fragrance and regal magenta and purple flowers, which are freely produced. Pick regularly to prolong the display, which often lasts until first frosts. 3m. RHS H2.

10

Rhodochiton atrosanguineus

Often commented upon for its profusion of distinctive, and somewhat vulgar, tubular, black to reddish-purple flowers. Also has dark stems and heart-shaped, rich-green leaves. 3m. USDA 10a-11. RHS H2.

11

Ipomoea purpurea ‘Grandpa Ott’

Similar in vigour and appearance to ‘Star of Yalta’ but with a rosy, rather than white throat. Requires a warm, sheltered position to grow. Flowering continues into early autumn. 3m.

12

Ipomoea quamoclit

Handsome native of South America, valued for its attractive, bright-red flowers and deep green, fern-like foliage. It is drought tolerant and a favourite of humming birds. There is also a white form. 7m. USDA 11-12.

13

Ipomoea lobata ‘Jungle Queen’

The vibrant, multi-coloured tubular flower-spikes of this particularly robust selection (from K Sahin’s in the Netherlands) display a greater colour contrast than the species. For sun or shade. 3m.

14

Eccremocarpus scaber

An open, slender climber that produces tubular flowers in shades of red, orange, pink and yellow, from late spring to autumn. The leaves, formed of greyish-green leaflets, create a pleasing texture. 3m. RHS H3, USDA 8a-11.

15

Phaseolus coccineus ‘Painted Lady’

Runner beans have long been grown as ornamentals for gazebos and arbours. This pre-1855 cultivar produces tasty, medium-sized pods and the attractive flowers can also be used as a garnish. 3m.

16

Lathyrus belinensis

The contrasting colour combination of brick-red and yellow makes this a pleasing yet unusual plant that is well worth seeking out. It is excellent trailing in containers or as a compact climber. 1.2m.

17

Caiophora lateritia

A fascinating climber from Argentina and Chile with unusual, star-shaped, downward-facing, apricot flowers, twining stems and stinging hairs (only on mature plants). Also known as the twining tingle lily. 3m.

18

Lathyrus chloranthus

Bright yellow-green and lime flowers ensure that this cheerful native of Asia Minor, will never go unnoticed. Best plants come from autumn sowings. Ideal for scrambling over a hedge or up twiggy supports. 1.8m or more.

19

Tropaeolum majus

There are many forms of this cheerful plant with fresh-green leaves and brightly coloured flowers in shades of red, yellow and orange. Happy to assert its right to roam wherever the gardener allows. 3m. USDA 10a-11

20

Cucurbita maxima ‘Turk’s Turban’

These must-have winter squashes can be trained over arches or pergolas to add a sense of playfulness to a garden with their surreal shapes and colours. They are also an invaluable plant for late-season interest. 2m.

21

Ipomoea alba

Given a warm, sheltered position this Ipomoea offers delicate white, sweetly fragrant, flowers up to 15cm in diameter. These open in the evening and disappear around dawn. 3m. USDA 10a-12.

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Words by Matthew Biggs, Kew-trained plant experts and BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time regular.
Hardiness ratings given where available.

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