Backyard Landscaping Ideas

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A List of Trailing Plants and Climbing Vines

March 15th, 2009 · 4 Comments

This list of basket-worthy and vertically growing plants is a
supplement to BLI’s Hanging Garden
These plants can be grown in containers or trained on walls
and other structures.

Upright plants

Tuberous begonia
(Begonia x tuberhybrida)

12 to 18 inches tall and wide Large flowers in red, pink,
orange, yellow, white and in bicolors. Spring through summer
Lift tubers in fall and store; replant in spring.

Purple Shamrocks
(Oxalis purpurea)

10 inches tall and wide Large purple leaves and white or pink flowers.
Spring Grown for its foliage.

(Caladium x hortulanum)

12 to 30 inches tall and wide Arrow-shaped leaves patterned in red, pink, white and green.
Grown for colorful summer foliage Keep evenly moist, fertilize frequently.

(Solenostemon scutellarioides)

1 to 3 feet tall and wide Leaf color mixtures include magenta, red, copper, orange,
yellow, chartreuse and green. Pinch off flower spikes Most cultivars grow best in
shade or part shade.

Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

Polka Dot Plant a tough 12-inch high plant
pink or white speckles on green leaves and pink or white flowers.

Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana)

a 6 to thrirty-six inch tall, spring-to-autumn bloomning plant
available in almost every color.

Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)

This plant, 12 to 18 inches wide, comes in a variety of colors in single and
double flowers and blooms all summer.

Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria)

6 to 12 inches tall and wide Soft, finely cut whitish-silver leaves. Foliage color from
spring until frost Excellent foliage contrast.

Gazania (Gazania rigens)

6 to 12 inches tall and wide Daisy-like yellow, orange, pink or red flowers.
All summer Good choice for hot, dry locations.

Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum), French Marigold
(Tagetes patula), and pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) also work well.

Trailing plants and vines for planters

Fuchsia (Fuchsia cultivars)

2 to 3 foot wide trailing Drooping tear-shaped buds open to flouncy interiors
Flowers in red, pink, purple, coral, white and combinations. Spring through summer
Keep evenly moist. Flowering will slow in heat

Variegated Periwinkle or Vinca (Vinca major ‘Variegata’)

6 inches tall by 3 to 4 feet wide White-edged or
lime-centered green leaves on
trailing stems. Blue flowers, spring; grown for foliage
Excellent foliage contrast.

Annual Vinca (Catharanthus roseus)

6 to 24 inches tall White, pink, rose, lavender, purple, red or salmon. Early summer to frost. Very heat and drought tolerant.

Cypress Vine
(Ipomoea quamoclit)

Climbs or trails up to 10 feet. Tiny brilliant red flowers above delicate fern-like foliage.
Summer to frost Very tough despite delicate appearance.

Creeping Zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens)

6 inches tall and at least 2 feet wide Tiny, golden, daisylike flowers. Summer to frost Not
suited for coastal climate. Great in hot, dry areas.

Fan Flower (Scaveola aemula)

6 inches tall by 4 feet wide Blue or white flowers on long trailing branches.
Prolific from spring until frost Very heat and drought tolerant.

Trailing Lantana
(Lantana montevidensis)

6 to 12 inches tall by 3 to 4 feet wide Lavender or white flowers on trailing stems.
All summer Tolerates hot, dry
windy conditions.

Petunia (Petunia hybrida)

4 to 12 inches tall by 24 to 48 inches wide Virtually all colors are available.
All summer Require ample moisture and fertility to thrive. Trailing cultivars are
excellent in baskets.

Wallflower (Erysimum or Cheiranthus species)

6 to 24 inches tall and wide Cream, yellow, orange, purple and maroon. Spring to early summer
Plant in the fall for spring flowering.

Licorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare)

6 to 12 inches tall, 3 to 4 feet wide Trailing plant with fuzzy round leaves that are
silver gray, variegated or lime green. Foliage color all summer Used as contrasting foliage.
Very tolerant of hot, dry weather.

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

4 to 8 inches tall by 1 foot wide Honey-scented flowers are white, pink, rose or purple.
Late spring until frost Alyssum may decline in midsummer. Shear, feed and water to rejuvenate.

Lotus Vine (Lotus berthelotii)

6 to 8 inches tall by 3 to 4 feet wide Feathery foliage on gray trailing vines followed by
bright red flowers Late summer Likes hot, dry weather.

Verbena (Verbena x hybrida)

6 to 12 inches tall, 12 to 24 inches wide Red, purple, pink and white flowers on bushy
or spreading plants. Mid spring until frost Thrives in hot weather.

Ivy-Leafed Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum)

1 foot tall by 3 to 4 feet wide Colors range from white to pink, salmon and red.
Branches trail like vines.
All summer Best with some afternoon shade.

Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)

Vines up to 6 feet, bush types 1 to 2 feet tall Fragrant, colorful flowers.
Bush types are suitable for window boxes. Spring Sweet Peas grow best under cool
conditions. Plant in late winter for early spring bloom. Plant at Christmas on the coast.

Vegetables and herbs

For hanging salads,
grow leaf lettuce, parsley and miniature tomatoes. Herbs thrive in containers and require
little care. Thyme, oregano and rosemary are good for containers because they like the soil
dry out between waterings. parsley Ornamental Pepper sweet potato vinesYou can even create an
edible hanging basket, using a combination of herbs, grape tomatoes,
lettuce, and even strawberries. Capsicum annuum produces peppers in a range of color from yellow to orange or red and purple to near black and grows from 1 to 21 feet tall and wide. Because the fruit are extremely hot, they’re considered ornamental, but they are edible. Many plants normally grown as houseplants will be great for
foliage in outdoor containers also.

Vines for walls and other structures

Heliotrope (Heliotropum arborescens)

12 to 36 inches tall and wide Scented purple or lavender blooms in clusters.
All summer The species is more sweetly scented and larger than modern cultivars.


These range from rampant vines with huge, flat
blossoms to tidy bell flowered perennials. Most have 3 to 5 (or more) parted, long-stalked
leaves with roughly oval, pointed and often toothed leaflets. The flowers have petal-like
sepals in place of true petals, and a distinctive brush of stamens at their centers.
Interesting puffs of silky-tailed seeds develop as the flowers wither. Those listed
below are winter deciduous unless otherwise noted. Hardy to 0oF. or below, except as noted.

Wisteria (Wisteria sp.)

The wisteria are vigorous twining vines that grow to 25 or 30 feet
and bloom in long, pendant clusters of violet-blue flowers.
are best when trained horizontally on a wire or structure 10 to 20 feet above the ground.
The vines are excellent for use on open-structured roofs over patios and terraces.


Often massive
vines with large
lobed, often shiny leaves are quite decorative, but they are
especially prized for their
large blossoms.
grown but beloved by various caterpillars (especially that of t
he beautiful Gulf fritillary),
whitefly, and mites.


A large group of shrubs and woody vines,
valued for both foliage and flowers.

Bittersweet (Celastrus sp.)

Two types of bittersweet commonly grown for ornamental use in the garden are the native
plant American bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculata).
The American bittersweet is a vigorous vine that grows 10 to 20 feet tall and climbs by means
of twining stems. It will thrive in almost any soil or exposure except a wet, boggy situation.

Bittersweet is planted mainly for its attractive fruit, a favorite in dried arrangements.
Reddish-yellow fruit capsules open in early autumn to expose red-orange berries.
The fruits are grouped in terminal clusters, which make them conspicuous before the
leaves fall.

English ivy (Hedera helix)

English ivy is a handsome evergreen vine, climbing by attaching itself to rough surfaces by
very short aerial rootlets. It may attain a height of 20 to 50 feet.
The rich, leathery, dark shiny leaves hold their color all winter if protected from winter
sun and wind. North- or east-facing walls are the most satisfactory locations.


Honeysuckle (Lonicera sp.)
Only a few climbing honeysuckles are generally available and suitable for landscape use.
Most widespread are Hall’s honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana,’ and Scarlet trumpet
honeysuckle, Lonicera semperivirens. The semivining Everblooming honeysuckle, Lonicera
heckrotti, and the Sweet honeysuckle, Lonicera caprifolium, are also sometimes available.
Hall’s honeysuckle is a semievergreen vine with wiry stems that climb 20 to 30 feet by
twining, or that form a groundcover by rooting at the joints. It is a rampant vine that
easily grows out of bounds.

Kiwi (Actinidia arguta)

The fruits of hardy kiwi are smaller and smooth-skinned.
Kiwis are vigorous vines that will need strong support. Once vines are established, they
may grow as much as 20 feet a year.
A fairly high trellis is needed to support them, usually very wide and up to 6 or 7 feet
so fruit can be picked easily.

Silver fleece flower (Polygonum aubertii)

This vine, which is sometimes called silver-lace vine, produces clusters of small white
to greenish-white flowers in August and September. The small white flowers turn pinkish at
maturity and remain effective for a long time.

Trumpet-creeper (Campsis radicans)

Common trumpet-creeper is a deciduous, robust vine that climbs by both aerial rootlets and
twining stems. Growing to a height of 25 to 30 feet, this vine is useful for rustic effects
on fence posts, walls, poles or rockwork.
Brilliant orange and scarlet, 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches long, trumpet-shaped flowers are very
showy from July through September

Virginia creeper or Woodbine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Virginia creeper is a native, deciduous vine that climbs both by means of tendrils with
adhesive disks which adhere to brick, stone or tree trunks, and by aerial rootlets which
attach only to rough surfaces. It grows 30 to 50 feet tall and has a loose, open growth
The leaves of Virginia creeper are five-parted and stand out on slender, drooping side
branches. They open as a purplish color in the spring, remain dull, deep green throughout
the summer and turn brilliant scarlet or crimson before dropping in the fall months.
Virginia creeper is one of the first of all woody plants to display fall color. Its
conspicuous greenish flowers develop into clusters of bluish-black, pea-sized berries
in September and October. The berries either fall before winter or are eaten by birds

after the leaves drop.

Wintercreeper euonymus (Euonymus fortunei)

Wintercreeper euonymus is a handsome evergreen vine growing to 15 to 20 feet. This shrubby

vine climbs by means of aerial rootlets. It attaches to any upright support or roots on the
soil surface to form a near mat.

Boston ivy or Japanese creeper (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)

Boston ivy or Japanese creeper is one of the best vines for covering large masonry buildings
quickly. It is a fast-growing, close-clinging vine that climbs by means of adhesive disks.
The vine is tolerant to many soil types and grows in full sunlight or in shade.
Boston ivy grows to a height of 50 to 60 feet. Its green leaves stand out and overlap on long
stalks. Leaves turn rich tones of scarlet, orange or purple in the fall. The new growth in
spring is reddish bronze

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kim|Web Design // Apr 21, 2009 at 6:25 am

    I just love your list I have to say that my favorites would be the sweet pea and honeysuckle, they have the most beautiful smelling flowers its just such a pity that the sweet pea is only a winter flower, but lucky enough we are going into winter now and a great time to have them growing in the garden.

  • 2 5 Easy Steps for Creating Grand Floral Arrangements | homeandhearthmagazine // Jul 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    […] add streaming greenery at the base of the statement plant in the way of hanging plants or vines. ┬áThe greenery should hang down along the edge of the urn, vase or pot. Traditional […]

  • 3 PK // Sep 2, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    This is a great list of climbing vines. Are there others that have flowers, different colors such as little blue or purple flowers? We seem to be having difficulty locating climbing vines – fast growing – with flowering climbing vines (other than the morning glory or typical first choice). Thank you fo much. Great website by the way :)

  • 4 Mike // May 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Could it be clematis? That usually starts blooming in spring, and can bloom for a few months if you’re in a mild climate. It’s more of a climbing vine, though.

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