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15 Types of Outdoor Climbing Plants

Climbing plants are not just aesthetically pleasing, they’re also useful in covering up old fences, unappealing walls or other structures in your garden or near your home that need a touch of greenery.

Some outdoor climbing plants will easily attach to different structures, others need a bit of help to climb, but generally they’re unfussy plants that are rewarding to grow, especially when in full bloom.

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Plant Index

Whether you want to use them to cover up walls or to create a bit of shade, here are the top outdoor climbing plants I recommend for your garden:

Wisteria

One of the most spectacular vining plants, the wisteria produces cascading blooms in lilac that appear in spring.

There are also different species with variations in when they bloom and how prolifically they grow. You can choose from Japanese, Chinese, American or Kentucky wisteria species.

They usually thrive in full sun or part shade and enjoy moderately fertile soil. They’re drought tolerant once they become established.

Climbing Roses

If you want a blooming climbing plant for the outdoors, I cannot recommend roses enough. They’re available in virtually any color and they bloom all summer long.

They’re easily trained to climb up on trellises, arches or other structures by tying the canes to the structure with cloth strips.

They take up little ground space and have a high decorative value. Climbing roses do best in full sun to partial shade. They need rich, well-drained soil that’s slightly acidic.

Clematis

A sun-loving plant with a prolific blooming ability, the Clematis is a diverse and colorful genus that includes both climbing and bushy varieties.

The climbing ones need a bit of training to climb up a trellis, but once they get the hang of it, they’ll find their way up the structure.

The Clematis prefers medium moisture and enjoys well-draining soil. Blooms are available in a multitude of colors with some varieties sporting even bicolored blooms.

Climbing Hydrangea

You may know hydrangeas as bushy plants, but some varieties will eagerly climb a wall, trellis, or a high fence.

While climbing hydrangea blooms don’t boast the same variety of colors as the bushy ones, they too put out impressive blooms that you can thoroughly enjoy.

Climbing hydrangeas enjoy moist soil and full sun to partial shade. While they take their time to become established, once they do, they will spread quickly, potentially reaching a height of 3-4 feet.

English Ivy

With small roots that grow along the stem, the English ivy will climb any structure with ease. While they grow slowly in the first two years, once they become established, they’ll quickly take off to cover any structure you want them to.

Some of the vines will grow as tall as 50 feet, so be prepared to trim and prune if you don’t want them growing out of control.

While they prefer moist soil, they can deal with a bit of drought as well. They thrive in shade as well, making them ideal for gardens that don’t get much sun.

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle shrubs produce creamy, yellow, orange or pink-purple blooms that are fragrant and full of nectar that attracts pollinators. They prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade as well.

Plant the honeysuckle in well-draining soil. It has moderate watering requirements and easily climbs on trellises or fences. This climbing shrub has a rewarding growth, putting out blooms all summer long.

Trumpet Vine

A low-maintenance vine that produces orange, trumpet-shaped blooms, the Trumpet vine grows fast and attracts hummingbirds.

Because of its ability to grow and spread quickly, in some areas it can be considered an invasive species.

It’s adaptable to a variety of soil types, although it prefers a fast-draining one. It thrives in both full sun and partial shade.

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Grown as an annual in temperate zones, the Black-Eyes Susan vine or Thunbergia alata, produces orange, ivory, yellow, or white blooms with a dark centre.

While it’s a native to Africa and tolerates sun, it does need protection from hotter sunny days, so find a spot where the vine receives full sun in the morning and afternoon shade.

It enjoys moderately moist soil with good drainage. While it can grow as tall as 8 feet, the Black-Eyed Susan Vine can also be grown indoors.

Morning Glory

To support the climbing habit of the Morning Glory, use arches, trellises or fences that they can hold onto.

The plant can reach 10 feet in one season, producing purple, pink, magenta or white, trumpet shaped blooms that attract pollinators.

Morning glories enjoy sunny spots and grow best in moderately fertile soil that drains fast. It should be planted in a spot, where it’s safe from strong winds.

Jasminum nudiflorum

Also known as the winter jasmine, this climbing shrub produces bright yellow, pink or white, star-shaped flowers in late winter or early spring. Blooms will usually appear sooner than the leaves.

The winter jasmine prefers part shade to full sun and performs best in well-drained soil that’s evenly moist. It grows to around 8 feet tall and attains its mature height in about 5-10 years.

You can train the winter jasmine to climb a trellis or other support structure if you want it to grow upright. It can also be grown as a groundcover.

Chocolate Vine

Named after its purple-brown blooms that emit a chocolaty flavor, the chocolate vine is a perennial flowering vine that has dark-green glossy leaves that grow in clusters of five.

Although it prefers full sun, it will tolerate shade as well. As for its soil type, it prefers sandy loam high in organic matter and fast-draining.

If left to its own devices and in ideal conditions, the chocolate vine will grow to over 15 feet tall, with some achieving a whopping 40 feet in height.

You need to be careful to regularly prune this vine, otherwise it will quickly take over and even escape to neighbouring areas.

Bleeding Heart Vine

The Clerodendrum bleeding heart uses its tendrils to climb any support structure available to it. This climbing outdoor plant will usually reach 15 feet in height.

Because it’s a sub-tropical vine, it’s hardy only to USDA zones 9 and above. It grows best in partial shade or dappled sunlight.

If grown in full sun, it needs plenty of moisture to stay happy. You’ll also need to water it in dry, hot weather.

Plant in rich, fertile soil, but make sure it’s well-draining. Although it likes its soil damp, it does not do well if overwatered or planted in soil with poor drainage.

Sweet Potato Vine

No, it’s not the edible sweet potato, but it’s non-edible cousin that’s grown ornamentally. The sweet potato vine features attractive foliage in a variety of shades including red, purple, bronze, gold, brown and chartreuse.

It’s a highly decorative plant with a trailing habit, growing up to 10 feet tall. It’s suitable for covering fences or other structures.

While they can take some shade, they don’t embrace the darkness at all, preferring at least 6 hours of full sun each day.

When it starts outgrowing its allocated space, you can trim it lightly and cut it back to a manageable size.

Corkscrew Vine

Named after its blooms that unfurl in a corkscrew-like pattern, this vine is another outdoor climbing plant that I highly recommend.

The plant blooms from July to mid-fall, producing fragrant, lilac-pink blooms that twist like a spiral on the vine.

At maturity, the corkscrew vine can grow to become up to 30 feet tall. It tolerates partial shade but grows best in full sun.

While it enjoys fertile and moist soil, it also needs to drain well. If the soil remains soggy, the vine will not be happy about it.

Because it’s a heat-loving, tropical vine, it does not tolerate temperatures below 50 F.

Moonflower Vine

Unlike the morning glory vine that blooms during the day, the moonflower vine opens its fragrant blooms in the evening, hence its illustrative name.

It’s a tender perennial vine hardy to zones 10-11. Under optimal conditions, it can reach 10-15 feet at maturity.

It’s a climbing plant that needs 6 hours of full sun to grow and bloom. It’s not fussy about its soil type, it can adapt to different types of soil, although it prefers loamy soil that’s rich and fast-draining.

Moonflower vines need moderately moist soil. Too much water and the root will rot. Too little, and the plant can dry out.

Wrap-Up

Outdoor climbing plant can change an ugly fence into a burst of blooms and colors, or an unappealing wall into a drape of greenery.

Whether you keep them for their ability to act as a cover or for their ornamental value, the climbing plants in this article are best suited for outdoor growing.

Because there’s a lot of variety in care requirements, make sure you know which vine is suited for growing in full sun and which can tolerate shade as well.

Usually, climbing plants that produce colorful or large bloom are mostly fond of sunny spots in your garden.

Posted in Garden Plants - Updated: July 7, 2021

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