Print This Page



Allamanda Allamanda spp. (al-ah-MAN-da) Tropical vine. Full sun.  Spacing 3-5’. Climbing and wide spreading vine for sun to part shade. Fragrant yellow trumpet-shaped 3” flowers. Slow-vining sprawling. Best in coastal regions. Requires moderate water and fertility. Non-clinging. Summer color. All parts are poisonous.

Bittersweet nightshade Solanum dulcamara Solanaceae (Nightshade Family) Also known as woody nightshade or European bittersweet, is a perennial vine or scrambling shrub with slender stems. Flowers have star-shaped, purple, backward-pointing petals and stamens fused in a prominent yellow cone; grow in clusters along branches on short stalks extending out from the stems. Berries are round or egg-shaped and bright red when ripe with numerous yellow, flattened seeds; unripe berries are green. Leaves are dark-green to purplish and often with one or two small ear-like lobes near the base. Leaf blades are 1 to 4 inches long. Main root grows horizontally just below the surface and suckers frequently. Crushed leaves and bark have an unpleasant smell. Fortunately, bittersweet nightshade has a strong, unpleasant odor so most animals will avoid it, and poisonings from this plant are not very frequent.
Black-Eyed-Susan Vine Thunbergia alata or "Clock Vine" is a tender perennial vine from tropical Africa and Asia. It has showy yellow or orange flowers, useful in hanging baskets and large pots or to cover fences. Easy to grow in full sun with afternoon shade and evenly moist, warm temperatures, likes, rich organic soil best. Can be invasive.

Blue Potato Vine Solanum crispum glasnerium Evergreen. Sun to part shade. Height 12’+  Spread 8’+  Spacing 4-6’. Often described as a "wall shrub," gets round & bushy, so It's best to prune it closer to the trellis every spring, taking care not to harm saved bits since these may be brittle. It grows rapidly & blooms profusely after such a trim. 2” glossy dark green lance-shaped leaves, showy clusters of 1” blue, star-shaped flowers spring to fall followed by clusters of nail-polish red or yellow-orange berries late summer and fall. Full sun/light shade, moist, well drained, dormant in winter. Has to be annually trimmed back to the wall to retain a semblance of vining appearance. Pruning increases vigorous new growth & flower show. Plant is kin to Irish potato and deadly nightshade. Mildly toxic.

Bougainvillea Bougainvillea spp. (boo-gan-VIL-lee-ah) Tropical vine. Height and spread unlimited. Spacing  5-6 feet. Purple, red, gold, pink, orange, and white flowers that are actually bracts. Climbing and sprawling vine with thorny stems. Must have full sun and does best in protected areas. Fertile soil is not important, but good drainage is. Likes to dry out between waterings. Summer color and tropical effect. Will freeze outside in cold weather. Must be kept protected in winter. Can be cut back for winter storage.

Butterfly Vine Mascagnia macroptera Ht. 1 ½’-2’ Spread 2’-6’. Perennial vine with 2”-4” clusters of yellow or orange blooms from April to September and then dramatic butterfly-like seed pods.  Relatively easy to grow in any soil. Slow-growing. Does not grow well in pots. Summer color to attract butterflies. Aphids on new growth. Can die out from too much water. Hard to transplant. Plant a few, but don’t invest a lot of money in this plant.
Carolina Jessamine Gelsemium sempervirens (el-SEE-mee-um sem-per-VYE-rens) Evergreen for sun to part shade. Spacing 4- 8". Climbing vine that needs support to start. Profuse yellow flowers in the early spring. Will sometimes bloom during warm spells in winter - no problem. Well-prepared soil, good drainage, moderate water and fertilizer. Top of plant sometimes needs thinning to prevent a large mass from forming. Will grow in shade but not bloom well. Climbing vine in full sun for arbors, fences, walls, screens. Early spring color. Should not be used as a groundcover. All parts of plant are poisonous, but not to the touch. Warn the kids not to fool with the flowers. Is not a jasmine. Native to East Texas, Florida, and Virginia.
Carolina Snailseed Cocculus carolinus (COKE-cue-lus kar-oh-LINN-us) Perennial vine for sun to part shade. Ht. 10-15’ Spread 10-15’ Spacing  8-10’. Small off-white flowers from July to October, clusters of red berries in the fall. Fast growing twining native vine with heart shaped leaves and unspectacular flowers, followed by showy clusters of bright, shiny red berries. Vine looks like greenbriar but less lobed and has no thorns. Native vine, food for wildlife. Considered a weed by most but actually a pretty nice looking vine when kept under control. The problem is that will spread quickly to become quite a pest. It's best to not let it get started. Hugely invasive.
Clematis, Evergreen Clematis armandii (KLEM-ah-tis) Perennial Vine for sun to Shade. Unlimited height and spread. Vigorous semi-evergreen climbing vine with profusion of fragrant 1” white flowers in the late summer. Native to Japan. Also does well in filtered light. Clematis is the long-leafed evergreen vine that flowers in the spring. Easy to grow in any well-drained soil. Low to moderate water and light fertilizer needs. Don’t prune the first year. Climbing vine for fences, arbors, and decorative screens. Spring or late summer flower color. Good for attracting beneficial insects and improving biodiversity in general. Somewhat aggressive.
Clematis, Sweet Autumn (Fall Clematis) Clematis paniculata  or C. maximowicziana. (KLEM-ah-tis pa-nick-you-LAH-ta –or– maks-im-oh-wiks-ee-AY-nuh) Perennial vine for sun to shade. Unlimited height and spread. Spacing 3-6’. Vigorous semi-evergreen climbing vine with profusion of fragrant 1” white flowers in the late summer. Native to Japan. Easy to grow in any well-drained soil. Low to moderate water and light fertilizer needs. Climbing vine for fences, arbors, and decorative screens. Late summer flower color. Somewhat aggressive.
Clematis Clematis is a genus of about 300 species within the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. Hybrids have been popular among gardeners beginning with Clematis × jackmanii since 1862. More hybrid cultivars are being produced constantly. They are mainly of Chinese and Japanese origin. Most species are known as clematis in English, while some are also known as traveller's joy, a name invented for the British native.
Clematis, Texas (Scarlet clematis) Clematis texensis. Texas native that has small unusual red flowers. C. pitcheri is the purple flowering native. 
Coral Vine Antigonon leptopus (an-TIG-oh-non LEP-to-pus) Deciduous vine for sun to light shade. Spacing 5-10’. Ht. 20-30’. Spread 10-20’. Large-growing vine with dark green foliage and bright pink flowers from late summer through fall. Evergreen in frost-free areas. Freezes to the ground in most of Texas. Easy to grow in most soils. Colorful fast growing vine that include pink, red, and white. Freeze damage in Zone 8. Pink seems to be the most cold hardy, especially north of zone 8.
Crossvine (Iron Cross Vine) Bignonia capreolata (big-NONE-ee-uh kap-ree-o-LATE-uh) Evergreen vine for sun to part shade. Unlimited height and width. Spacing 4-8 feet Climbs by tendrils and has unusual yellow and red flower in the spring. Solid red selections also available. Interesting vine to use because it hasn’t been used much. Native southern USA to Texas. Any soil, sun or shade. Moderate water and fertilization. Will spread but pretty easy to control. Vine for fences, overhead structures, and decorative screens. Few if any.
Creeping Cucumber Melothria pendula Very fast growing vine that pulls out easily and has edible fruit. The green (unripe) fruit what is edible. It should be eaten raw. It grows in the spring, summer, fall. The seeds/fruit contain a POWERFUL laxative when ripe, so avoid purple or black fruit, only eat light-green ones. Here’s a great website on edible wild plants:
Cypress Vine Ipomoea quamoclit (Eye-po-MAY-ah) Annual vine – Full Sun. Spacing: 2-6.’ Small red flowers and delicate fern like foliage. Fast growing summer flowering vine. Does well in fertile, well-prepared, healthy soil. Plant seed or transplants in spring when soil has warmed. Excellent vine for attracting hummingbirds. Good choice for arbors and fences. Cardinal climber or red morning glory has similar flowers but less lacy foliage. There is also a white selection.

Dutchman’s pipe Aristolochia macrophylla Woody vine that produces flowers shaped like curved pipes and large heart-shaped leaves. Flowers attract pollinating flies with an odor like rotting meat. Dutchman’s Pipe Info Also called pipe vine, it is suitable for gardens in USDA zones 8 to 10. The vine is usually only 10 to 15 feet long but can get as long as 25 feet in perfect growing conditions. This plant requires a trellis or vertical structure to support the twining stems and wide foliage.

Grape Vitis spp. (VIE-tis) Deciduous fast-growing climber for trellis or overhead structure. Needs support to get started. Spacing 8–10. Full sun. Any well-drained soil, low water and fertilization requirements. Good for quickly cooling a hot spot in summer. Eating grapes and wine. Grasshoppers, caterpillars, Pierce’s disease on ‘Concord’ and ‘Thompson Seedless.’ Try to buy other varieties such as Mustang and Mortensen. Some grape vines can get out of hand by growing so fast. Keep them out of trees. Native worldwide. The native ‘Wild Mustang’ is great for jams and jellies.
Grape, Wild Vitis spp. (multiple species) High-climbing vine with tendrils.
Leaves are alternate, simple, generally heart-shaped to round, 3 to 6 inches long; edges toothed; often lobed in some species; green above, variable below, often white or silver, depending on species. Flowers are green to greenish-white, small, in elongated clusters; appearing in late spring. Fruit is edible round berry, varying in size and color by species, 1⁄4 to 1 inch across, in clusters; dark blue, purple, black, reddish or bronze. Stems are rounded to angular; buds rounded; tendrils branched or simple, opposite the leaves, older stems reddish to greenish brown, developing long splits and usually peeling in narrow strips. 
Greenbriar Smilax spp. (SMIL-laks) High-climbing Spread: 25’ or more. Perennial – Sun to shade. Flowers from February to June. Black berries in September and October. Woody vine with strong, thorny stems from large underground tubers. Leaves are tardily deciduous and sometimes white-blotched. Grow without your help. Deer like it. The new tender growth is delicious in salads. A weedy pest for most folks. Control by digging out the woody underground tubers.
Honeysuckle, Japanese Lonicera japonica (lon-ISS-er-uh jah-PON-ih-kah) Ht. 12-20” Vine or groundcover. Evergreen vine for sun to part shade. Aggressive climbing vine or groundcover. Needs support at first to climb. Fragrant white and yellow blooms. Tends to get leggy. Any soil, anywhere. Very drought tolerant. None – should be banned. There are several choices better than honeysuckle, but it exists in many places, so we have to deal with it. Native to Asia and the Orient. Should be banned from use in this county. Too aggressive and invasive. Chokes out more desirable plants.
Honeysuckle, Coral Lonicera sempervirens (lon-ISS-er-uh sem-per-VYE-rens) Evergreen Sun Vine Spacing 3 - 8 feet. Climbing evergreen vine for full sun that needs support to start. Coral-red flowers all summer. Grows well in any soil. Is drought tolerant but does better with irrigation, unless, over-watered. Climbing vine for fences, walls, arbors, and decorative screens. Few if any once established. Good plant for attracting hummingbirds. L. sempervirens ‘Sulphurea’ is a beautiful yellow- flowering variety. Native eastern USA to Texas.
Hyacinth Bean Vine Dolichos lablab or purpureus (DOE-lee-chos LAB-LAB) Annual vine for sun. Tall-climbing and wide spreading annual vine. Spacing: 4-8’. Purple flowers in late summer, followed by short, deep purple seedpods. Planted from pretty black and white seeds or transplants in the spring. Fast growing and beautiful. Also called Indian Bean and Egyptian Bean of the family Fabaceae. It is also grown as forage and as an ornamental plant. Very easy to grow in most soils. Late summer color, shade for arbor or trellis. Black fuzzy caterpillars. Good news is that they grow up to be beautiful butterflies. Beans are edible but not very good to me. They should be cooked when very young and tender.

Ivy, Boston Parthenocissus tricuspidata (par-then-oh-SIS-us try-cus-pi-DA-tah) Deciduous vine. Sun or shade. Height and spread unlimited. Spacing 6-8’. Fast-growing, clinging vine. No showy flowers, but fall color that ranges from weak reddish brown to bright scarlet. Easy to grow almost anywhere. Likes good bed preparation and partial shade best. Vine for brick, wood, or other slick surfaces. Black caterpillars in spring. Native to China and Japan.
Ivy, English Hedera helix (HEAD-eh-rah HE-lix) Evergreen vine for shade to part shade. Ht. 1-50’ vine and groundcover. Spacing 12” (G.C.) 4’ (Vine). Relatively fast growing vine for north exposure or other shady spot. Excellent groundcover for shade or partial shade. Will climb any surface. Needs good bed preparation, good drainage and mulch for establishment. Keep trimmed from windows, eaves and the canopy of trees. Plant used as groundcover should be trimmed back in late winter/early spring just like all groundcovers but with more care. Aphids, cotton root rot, leaf spot, root and stem fungus.
Ivy, Fig Ficus pumila (FIE-cus PEW-mi-lah) Also called climbing fig and creeping fig. Evergreen climbing vine for sun or shade Spacing 3-5’. Small-leafed climbing vine that needs no support. Climbs by aerial roots. Prefers a moist, well-drained soil and high humidity. Needs protection from winds. Sunny southern exposure is best. Climbing vine for courtyards, conservatories, garden rooms and walls in general. Cosmetic freeze damage in severe winters here. Native to southeastern Asia and Japan.

Ivy, Poison Deciduous vine that grows in sun or shade and spreads easily underground. Has red berries and red fall color. Do not allow to flower and produce seed. Remove compost and spray new growth with vinegar based organic herbicides.
Ivy Treebine Cissus trifoliata Also  know as Cow-itch, Marinevine, Mierba del Buey, Marine-Ivy. Family : Vitaceae. Perennial vine found in the South Texas Plains and the Edwards Plateau. It has green to reddish stems that are often warty and tends to climb with tendrils. Greenish flowers are found in clusters and are about 1/2 inch wide with four petals about 1/16 inch long. Thick fleshy leaves are dull green with small white hairs and are two-lobed with toothed margins. Shiny black fruit about 1/4-3/8 inch long that is inedible.

Jasmine, Asian Trachelospermum asiaticum (tray-kell-o-SPER-mum aa-she-AT-ti-cum) Ht. 6”-12” Groundcover that will climb readily. Evergreen for sun to shade. Dense, low growing groundcover that will climb but not readily. Small oval leaves, no flowers. A variegated form and a dwarf called ‘Elegans’ now exist. Also called Japanese Star Jasmine and Asiatic Jasmine. Native to Japan and Korea. If any of your Asian Jasmine has flowers, it’s the wrong plant – either Confederate or Yellow Star Jasmine. Needs moist, well-drained, well-prepared soil for establishment. Once established, fairly drought tolerant. Cut down by mowing at highest setting in late winter – again in July if wanted. Extreme winters can severely damage or kill this plant. Average winters will often burn the foliage brown, but recovers in spring.
Jasmine, Confederate Trachelospermum jasminoides (tray-kell-lo-SPER-mum jazz-min-OY-dees). Fast-growing, open, climbing vine, dark green leaves, white flowers in summer. Will bloom in sun or shade. Requires support to climb. Moderate water and fertilizer needs. Climbing vine for fence, trellis, pole, or decorative screen. Can get into trees and be a little of a maintenance issue. Yellow jasmine (T. mandaianum) is lemon scented and even more cold tolerant.
Kudzu Pueraria lobata (pew-RARE-ee-ah lo-BA-ta) Height and spread is unlimited. Deciduous vine for full sun to part shade. Purple pea-shaped flowers. Extremely fast growing, aggressive vine that spreads quickly by underground runners. Leaves 3-6” long on hard, slender, hairy stems. Each leaf has three dark leaflets. Japanese farmers are growing kudzu as a high protein food crop. Very easy to grow in any soil. Nitrogen-fixing, protein source for livestock and compost pile. Spreads too aggressively however, livestock will keep it under control. 
Silver Lacevine Polygonum aubertii (poe-LIG-eh-num awe-BERT-ee-eye) 4-8’ spacing. Fast-growing, deciduous, climbing vine for full sun. Spreads by rhizomes. Twining character. Small white flowers in summer. Easy to grow, drought tolerant, low fertilizer requirements. Climbing vine for hot, dry areas, summer flower color. Can be aggressive and weed like. Native to China.
Mandevilla Mandevilla ‘Alice du Pont’ (man-da-VEE-yah) For full sun. Spacing 3-7 ‘. Fast-climbing tropical vine with large oval leaves and pink trumpet like flowers that bloom from early summer till the first hard freeze. Needs wire or structure to get started. Also a lovely white-flowering variety available. Treat this tropical vine as an annual; when it freezes, throw away. Likes well-prepared soil, moisture, and regular fertilization. Good in pots set by post or arbor. Watch for red spider if in stress. Native to Central and South America.
Mile-A-Minute Weed Persicaria perfoliata Previously Polygonum perfoliatum Buckwheat family (Polygonaceae) Also known as Asiatic tearthumb. Invasive, herbaceous, annual, trailing vine. Stems are armed with barbs that are also present on the underside of the leaf blades. The light green colored leaves are triangular and alternate along the narrow, delicate stems. Flowers are small, white and generally inconspicuous. The fruits are attractive, deep blue and arranged in clusters at terminals. Each berry-like fruit contains a single glossy, black or reddish-black hard seed. Grows rapidly, scrambling over shrubs and other vegetation, reducing native plant species in natural areas. Small populations of extremely rare plants may be eliminated entirely. Because it can smother tree seedlings, mile-a-minute weed has a negative effect on Christmas tree farms, forestry operations on pine plantations and reforestation of natural areas.
Morning Glory Ipomoea spp. (eye-po-MAY-ah) Annuals and perennials for sun to part shade. Tall-growing and wide-spreading. Summer flowers in many colors. Fast-growing annuals. Ipomoea leptophylla is the native bush morning glory. Ipomoea alba is the night-blooming moonflower. Ipomoea tricolor is the common morning glory. Ipomoea quamoclit is the cypress vine or cardinal climber. Morning glory is a kissing cousin to field bindweed and can grow to 16’, depending on the species. Control by increasing organic matter in the soil. Grows easily in any soil with very little maintenance. Summer color. Easy to grow from seed, likes poor soil, can be invasive.
Passion Flower Vine Passiflora incarnata (pass-sih-FLO-ruh in-kar-NAY-tuh) Spacing 3’-6’. Wide spreading vine with large, deeply cut leaves, climbs quickly by tendrils. Blooms almost all summer with spectacular purple and white flowers. Native from East Texas to Florida. The introduced varieties also have dramatic flowers, but many are not winter hardy. Easy, any soil, drought tolerant. Dies to the ground each winter but returns in spring. Summer climbing vine, flower display. Can spread and be seriously invasive.

Porcelainberry Ampelopsis brevipedunculata Vitaceae (Grape family). Also called amur peppervine, it was originally cultivated as a bedding and landscape plant. In spite of its acknowledged invasiveness, it is still widely promoted in the horticultural trade.Deciduous, woody, perennial vine that resembles grape and climbs by tendrils at the base of each leaf. Grows to 15-20 ft.. Young twigs are usually pubescent. Bark is dotted with lenticels and does not peel. Leaves are alternate, simple, 3-5 lobed to highly dissected with heart-shaped base and coarsely toothed margins, shiny underneath with hairs on veins. Tiny, greenish-white flowers in flat-topped clusters opposite the leaves appear in summer (June through August). Fruit is a speckled berry in colors ranging from aqua to pink to purple. Each berry carries 2-4 seeds.

Rangoon Vine Quisqualis indica Also called Rangoon Creeper, Drunken Sailor, Scarlet Rangoon. Tender evergreen for full sun. Height 30’+  Spread 30’+  Spacing 20. Gorgeous, lush, root hardy, fast growing twining vine, with very fragrant flower clusters of white, pink, & red flowers all summer & fall.  Flowers open white, change to pink, then bright red over a 2-3 day period, sun.  Fairly drought tolerant. Average water and fertilizer needs. Once established is drought tolerant. Easy to grow from seeds or transplants in the spring. Likes rich healthy soils. Fast growing colorful vine, attracts butterflies, adds evening garden fragrance. Can become invasive. Vine that should be used more. Very dramatic.
Rattan Vine Berchemia scandens Also called Alabama supple-jack, Alabama supplejack, Rattan-vine and Supplejack. Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family) Large, twining, climbing, deciduous vine with distinctive smooth, green bark on stems that can grow to 5 to 7 inches. The tiny yellow flowers appear in the spring, followed by the fruit, a bluish-black oblong drupe that is a favorite of many birds. The common name rattan vine refers to the use of the strong, supple stems in making wickerwork. Very interesting vine and terrific red fall color.
Climbing Roses There are many climbing forms of roses that make great landscape plants. Most need full sun for best result and the management is about the same as for the bush roses except for being easier in general.
Trumpetvine Campsis radicans (KAMP-sis RAD-ee-kans) High climbing deciduous vine for sun to part shade. Spacing 5’-8’. Large sprawling vine with showy orange and red trumpet like flowers that bloom all summer. Bare in winter. Native to the east coast, Florida and Texas. ‘Madame Galen’ introduced by French nurseries doesn’t spread as much as the native plant. C. radicans ‘Flava’ has pure yellow flowers. C. x ‘Crimson Trumpet’ is a pure red. The pink variety is not hardy and should be used as an annual. Native plant spreads badly to become a huge pest causing a severe maintenance problem. This vine is horribly invasive and difficult to get rid of. The only solution short of a concrete wall in the ground is to remove the mother plant and spot spray the small shoots that return with the vinegar herbicides.
Virginia Creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia (par-thuh-no-SIS-us kwin-kuh-FOLE-ee-uh) Spacing 3-8'. Vigorous  Deciduous climbing vine. Leaves have 5 leaflets. Looser growth and larger leaves than Boston ivy. Red foliage in fall. Climbs to great heights. Needs pruning to keep under control. Any soil in sun or shade. Responds well to well-prepared beds and moderate water and fertilizer. Interesting texture and good fall color. Good for arbor, fence, or large building. Makes an effective natural-looking groundcover. None serious. Often confused with poison ivy. This plant has five leaflets instead of poison ivy's three.  Native to Texas and eastern USA. Good for fall color.
Wisteria, Chinese Wisteria sinensis (wiss-TER-ee-ah sigh-NEN-sis) Spacing 8 - 10" Fast-growing, deciduous, twining vine that can grow to great heights in sun or shade. Purple or white spring flowers. Japanese wisteria (W. floribunda) has longer flowers which don't open until the foliage is on the plant. Wisteria climbs clockwise. Loose, well-drained highly organic soil. Moderate water and fertilizer. Easy to grow in any soil. Climbing evergreen vine for arbor, fence, or wall.  A few caterpillar attacks. Can take over if not pruned to keep in shape. Grasshoppers. Most wisteria are native to China. Many gardeners have difficulty getting wisteria to bloom which is a seed source problem.
Wisteria, Evergreen Millettia reticulata (mil-LET-ee-uh  reh-tick-yoo-LAY-tuh) Height: 12-15 ft. Spacing: 4-6 ft. Vining plant for full sun that is mostly evergreen. Purple summer blooms in late summer to early fall. Evergreen shiny foliage. Easy to grow in well-prepared soils in full sun.  Average water needs. Water regularly but do not over-water. USDA Zone 9-11. Can be planted from seeds or transplants. Few when grown under an organic program.





  Search Library Topics      Search Newspaper Columns