Organic Gardening

11 Climbing Plants & Flowering Vines That Love Shade

Climbing plants and flowering vines make the perfect addition to your lawn and garden, mainly because they attract common pollinators, but because they’re pleasing to the eye, as well. 

Whether you’re looking for vines that flower or hardy low light perennials, these plants are sure to spruce up your space.

Chinese wisteria sun and shade vines
Chinese wisteria sun and shade vines

Adding vines and climbing plants to my garden is something I truly enjoy. They not only provide visual interest, but also make it effortless to conceal any cosmetic flaws that I have yet to address.

Here’s a list of the top 11 climbing flowers and vines that grow in the shade and what you need to know on how to grow them best.


Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)

Trumpet Vine
Trumpet Vine

Trumpet vines are very easy to grow. With their beautiful red flowers, this North American native can easily add character to your garden. Though it tolerates partial shade, it will grow best when exposed to full sign. 

Remember, the trumpet vine is a climber! So, to make sure it doesn’t take over your garden, regularly prune it in either the spring or winter to keep it contained. 

Here’s a care guide on how to take care of this perennial vine: 

Botanical Name:  Campsis radicans
Growth Rate:  10m tall and 2m wide
Native Range:  North America
Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Dangers: Toxic, if ingested
Soil Needs:  Moist, well-draining soil
Exposure: Partial shade or full sun 
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Leaf spots, powdery mildew
Propagation: Divide in either the spring or fall after the pods are fully dried
Fertilizer: Not required
Pests: Whiteflies and spider mites
Blooming Period: June-September
Pruning: Prune the plant either in early spring or late winter to control its spread
Water needs: Apply 1″ of water per week
Trumpet Vine Growing Guide Chart

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English Ivy
English Ivy

English ivy, which is also known as poison ivy because of the skin irritation it causes, is one of the most fast-growing plants around.

With their thick, dark green leaves, English ivy traditionally grows on lawns, around trees, and on the sides of either a house or trellis. 

One of the things that people love about this shade loving plant is that it can tolerate a lot of soil and weather conditions. Here’s some helpful information on how to take care of these shade loving vines and plants that look like poison ivy: 

Botanical Name:  Hedera helix
Growth Rate:  Up to 32′ wide
Native Range:  Asia and Europe
Hardiness Zones: 5-11
Dangers: Skin irritation
Soil Needs:  Loose, well-draining soil 
Exposure: Partial, bright, indirect sun and partial shade
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Powdery mildew, leaf spots, and stem rot
Propagation: Divide stems in late summer and place them in the soil with a bag over them; remove the bag once new growth emerges
Fertilizer: Apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer in the spring; do not apply it in the autumn or winter
Pests: Aphids, caterpillars, loopers, and mealybugs
Blooming Period: September – November
Pruning: Trim as needed during mid spring
Water needs: Water every 5-7 days to keep soil consistently moist
English Ivy Growing Guide Chart

Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

Chinese wisteria
Chinese Wisteria

With its cluster of purple flowers, Chinese wisteria is the kind of plant you would see in a storybook. Though some of the flowers on this plant are edible, the rest of the plant isn’t. 

While you may you may be able to grow Chinese wisteria in shaded areas, it will reach it’s full potential in full sun. 

Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 years for this plant to fully grow once planted from seeds. But when it does, you’ll be glad you planted it. This plant definitely deserves a spot in your garden. 

Botanical Name:  Wisteria sinensis
Growth Rate:  Up to 10′ 
Native Range:  China
Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Dangers: Excluding the flowers (sometimes), the rest of the plant is toxic
Soil Needs:  Moist, sandy soil with excellent drainage
Exposure: Partial to full sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Root rot and honey fungus
Propagation: Divide softwood cuttings in either the spring or summer and hardwood cuttings in the winter
Fertilizer: Not required
Pests: Japanese beetles, spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids
Blooming Period: Early to mid spring
Pruning: Prune as needed to prevent overgrowing
Water needs: Apply 1″ of water per week after planting; once established, water during droughts
Chinese Wisteria Growing Guide Chart

Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris)

Climbing Hydrangea
Climbing Hydrangea

When in bloom, this hardy plant has beautiful white flowers. It’s also one of the most vigorous plants that love to climb, so be sure to give it something it can attach to. The best areas of your garden to plant climbing hydrangea include up against a fence or mailbox. 

A climbing hydrangea usually develops flowers in the spring, but don’t be surprised to see this climber bloom well into the fall, too.

Here’s a helpful care guide about taking care of these fragrant white flowers: 

Botanical Name:  Hydrangea petiolaris
Growth Rate:  Up to 50′ tall and up to 6′ wide
Native Range:  Japan and Siberia
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Dangers: Toxic to wildlife
Soil Needs:  Moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance to moderate
Diseases: Leaf spot and rust
Propagation: Divide during early to mid-summer
Fertilizer: Apply a 15-30-15 fertilizer once in the spring
Pests: Spider mites and aphids
Blooming Period: Late spring – late fall 
Pruning: Trim plant in mid-summer and remove dead branches any time of year
Water needs: Apply 1″ of water to the plant per week
Climbing Hydrangea Growing Guide

Honeysuckle (Lonicera)

Honeysuckle
Climbing Hydrangea

A honeysuckle plant develops interesting flowers that are very thin and long. In fact, these are flowers that look like fingers. Like most plants on this list, it is very low-maintenance and doesn’t require a lot of upkeep.

These are also very large plants and are able to grow up to 26 feet tall! This foliage prefers to be about in full sun and does not thrive in full shade.

If you’re looking to add pretty yellow flowers to your garden, check out the Honeysuckle! Here’s how you can take care of it: 

Botanical Name:  Lonicera
Growth Rate:  13′ – 26′ tall
Native Range:  United States
Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Well-draining soil with organic matter
Exposure: Full sun – Part Sun
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Crown gall, leaf blight, and powdery mildew
Propagation: Divide between July and August
Fertilizer: Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer in the spring
Pests: Caterpillars and aphids
Blooming Period: Spring – mid-summer
Pruning: Regularly prune in either late spring or summer
Water needs: Water once a week; mature plants can survive in droughts
Climbing Hydrangea Growing Guide Chart

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Star Jasmine
Star Jasmine

This vine grows beautifully on fences and the sides of houses. It’s a real showstopper, too!

This vigorous vine does well in shady areas and, for the most part, can handle any type of soil including neutral, acidic, and alkaline conditions. 

Here’s what you need to know about caring for these climbers for shade: 

Botanical Name:  Trachelospermum jasminoides
Growth Rate:  3-6′ tall
Native Range:  Asia
Hardiness Zones: 8-10
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure: Partial shade to full sun 
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Fusarium wilt, rust, and blight
Propagation: Divide plant in the summer
Fertilizer: Apply a 10-10-10 fertilize in the spring, after new growth emerges
Pests: Whiteflies, red spider mite, and jasmine erophyid mite
Blooming Period: Spring-summer
Pruning: Trim overgrown branches in the spring
Water needs: Water once a week 
Star Jasmine Growing Guide Chart

Snail Vine (Cochliasanthus caracalla)

Snail Vine
Snail Vine

When the plant matures, it produces pretty lilac-colored flowers that will add a lot of beauty to your garden. 

The great thing about this vine is that it is highly resistant to both pests and diseases. The only time it runs the risk of developing yellow leaves is if it is too exposed to sunlight and not properly hydrated.

If planted in full sunlight, you’ll need to water it more so it doesn’t die. 

Botanical Name:  Cochliasanthus caracalla
Growth Rate:  15-20′ long
Native Range:  South and Central America
Hardiness Zones: 9-11
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Well-draining soil with organic matter
Exposure: Partial – full sun 
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Yellow leaves
Propagation: Divide plant in late summer
Fertilizer: Not required, but you can add compost to encourage healthy growth
Pests: Not applicable
Blooming Period: Summer-fall
Pruning: Trim new wood back in the spring and throughout the year to keep it contained
Water needs: Water when the first 2″ of soil are dried out
Snail Vine Growing Guide Chart

Yellow Passion Flower (Passiflora Lutea)

Yellow Passion Flower
Yellow Passion Flower

Are you thinking of adding some yellow passion flowers to your garden? This vine produces pretty yellow flowers that are likely to develop if the branches are hanging loose. 

These are shade-loving climbers that also do well in full sun. It commonly attracts pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

Here’s an overview of how to take care of them if you decide to plant them in your garden: 

Botanical Name:  Passiflora Lutea
Growth Rate:  10-20′ long
Native Range:  United States
Hardiness Zones: 5-10
Dangers: Toxic to people and animals because their leaves contain cyanide
Soil Needs:  Moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure: Either full sun or partial shade
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Alternaria spot and crown rot
Propagation: Divide plant in the spring 
Fertilizer: Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer in spring and every 4 weeks during the summer season
Pests: Mealybugs, thrips, spider mites, and aphids
Blooming Period: Late summer to fall 
Pruning: Not necessary, but you can prune anytime between late winter and early spring
Water needs: Water every 9 days 
Yellow Passion Flower Growing Guide Chart

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos
Pothos

I personally love pothos plants because of how easy they are to take care of. It doesn’t take much for this vine to grow. All it needs is loose, well-draining soil and indirect sunlight to flourish. 

What makes the pothos such a popular houseplant is that it does grow well in partial shade – and quickly! With the right conditions, it can grow up to 12″ longer per month.

This is a trailing plant, so feel free to have it in a planter that dangles from the ceiling or attached to your wall. You can expect it to grow anywhere from 4 to 30 feet (or more). 

Here’s everything you need to know about this evergreen vine:

Botanical Name:  Epipremnum aureum
Growth Rate:  Up to 12″ each month
Native Range:  Solomon Islands
Hardiness Zones: 11
Dangers: Toxic to cats and dogs
Soil Needs:  Loose, well-draining soil 
Exposure: Medium, indirect sunlight
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Phytophthora root rot
Propagation: Divide plant during the spring
Fertilizer: Apply a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer; do not fertilize during the winter
Pests: Mealybugs and scales
Blooming Period: Grow between spring and summer
Pruning: Not required
Water needs: Water approximately every 8 days
Pothos Growing Guide Chart

Bleeding Heart Vine (Clerodendrum thomsoniae)

Bleeding Heart Vine
Bleeding Heart Vine

Did you know that the bleeding heart vine got its name because of the flower’s small red center? This plant has flowers that hang down and look beautiful when they are grown up a trellis.

These vines love bright, direct sun because they are technically tropical plants but can handle shade without issues. You can expect to see these flowers from late spring and summer.

Here’s how to care for them: 

Botanical Name:  Clerodendrum thomsoniae
Growth Rate:  10-15′ tall if grown outdoors
Native Range:  West Africa
Hardiness Zones: 9
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Rich, moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure: Direct sun 
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Wilting and yellowing leaves
Propagation: Divide the plant between late spring and summer
Fertilizer: Apply fertilizer in the spring at the start of the growing season
Pests: Spider mites and mealybugs
Blooming Period: Spring-summer
Pruning: Prune toward the end of winter to encourage new growth in the spring
Water needs: At least 1″ of water per week and only 2 times a month during winter
Bleeding Heart Vine Growing Guide Chart

Chocolate Vine (Akebia Quinata)

Chocolate Vine
Chocolate Vine

When these bloom, they produce the prettiest-shaped flowers that are a gorgeous mix between red, brown, and purple.

Believe it or not, it’s not the color these flowers come in that gives the chocolate vine its name; it actually has to do with the scent they produce, which smells like chocolate!

Grown best in hardiness zones 4 to 8, the chocolate vine does best when it has a mix of sun and shade. Since this is a climbing vine, it also does best when it has something to latch onto.

Here’s what you need to know about taking care of these flowering vines for shade: 

Botanical Name:  Akebia Quinata
Growth Rate:  15-30′ long and 1-2′ wide
Native Range:  Asia
Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Dangers: Non-toxic
Soil Needs:  Well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter
Exposure: Partial shade or full sun 
Ease of Care: Low-maintenance
Diseases: Not applicable
Propagation: Remove cuttings at least 6″ long in the spring
Fertilizer: Not required
Pests: Not applicable
Blooming Period: Spring
Pruning: Prune evergreen climber back to ground level during the winter to encourage new growth in the spring
Water needs: Water once a week while vines are being established, then add 1″ of water to vines once a week during droughts
Chocolate Vine Growing Guide Chart

Final Thoughts

This plant guide can help you find the perfect climbing plants for shade. Whether you reside in hardiness zones 3 to 10 or zones 6 to 8, there’s a perfect flowering vine for you.

With this guide, you’ll know all the top tips and tricks for taking care of them. 



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