17 Well-Behaved Vines to Climb an Arbor or Trellis

If you are looking for a vining plant to accent a trellis, arbor, or other vertical landscape element, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 17 beautiful vines that will accent your structures without taking over the entire garden.

Close-up of a blooming Antigonon leptopus, commonly known as Coral Vine, in a sunny garden. The plant displays a cascading profusion of heart-shaped leaves of light green color and bright pink clusters of small, tubular flowers. The flowers form in panicles, creating a visually appealing and captivating display.

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There is no more welcoming sight than an arbor covered in a beautiful vine to invite one into the garden. It is the factor that changes an entry to the backyard into an invitation to enter some enchanted place filled with the magic of nature.

I may be guilty of asking my husband to build “just one more” structure to support a flowering vine, and for a pollinator enthusiast, these are some of the most valuable plants to draw in our winged garden helpers. But really, can you have too many structures to cover with plants? 

If, like me, you love those vertical elements in the garden, you are certainly not alone. Plants that climb can create privacy as well for the smaller space gardener. I’ve gathered 17 wonderful, well-behaved climbing vines here that can transform your garden into a warm and cozy space that beckons butterflies and human visitors alike. 

‘Peaches & Cream’ Honeysuckle

Close-up of a flowering Lonicera periclymenum 'Peaches & Cream' plant in a sunny garden. The deciduous vine boasts bright green lance-shaped leaves. Its fragrant flowers emerge in clusters, showing a delightful blend of peach and cream tones.
Choose low-maintenance ‘Peaches & Cream’ honeysuckle for a stunning, long-lasting, and wildlife-attracting flowering vine.
botanical-name botanical name Lonicera periclymenun ‘Peaches & Cream’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6’-10’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

You can’t go wrong with Peaches & Cream honeysuckle as a low-maintenance vine with a major wow factor. This wonderfully hardy flowering vine has a long life span, returning reliably in the spring for 20 years or more. Climbing up to 10 feet, this one has excellent coverage but won’t get out of control. 

Pollinators adore the gorgeous purple, peach, and white flowers. These delightfully fragrant blooms deepen in color as they age, giving way to red and purple berries. These fruits will draw more wildlife in the way of birds to your garden. Put a water source nearby, and you’ve got a perfect start to a pollinator garden.

Carolina Jessamine

Close-up of a flowering Gelsemium sempervirens plant against a blurred green background. Gelsemium sempervirens, commonly known as Carolina Jessamine, is an evergreen vine with glossy, dark green leaves that are arranged oppositely along twining stems. The plant produces clusters of funnel-shaped, bright yellow flowers.
Grow Carolina jessamine for abundant yellow flowers, versatile growth in sun or shade, and easy maintenance.
botanical-name botanical name Gelsemium sempervirens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 15’-20’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-9

Sweetly scented, sunshine-yellow flowers will cover cascading foliage wherever you grow this beautiful flowering vine.  Carolina jessamine, also called Carolina jasmine, is a wonderful, large, vining plant that flowers prolifically and isn’t picky about its surroundings. It can grow in full sun or partial shade, with full sun producing the lushest foliage and most profuse flowering. 

Older plants become quite drought-tolerant, sturdy, and even more tolerant once established. Carolina jessamine can tolerate hard pruning, so there are no worries about this plant overgrowing its space. If the plant gets too large or too leggy, simply cut it back to about three feet tall, and it will plump back up.

American Wisteria

Close-up of a flowering Wisteria frutescens plant in a sunny garden. Wisteria frutescens, commonly known as American Wisteria, presents a graceful and enchanting display with its twining vines and abundant clusters of cascading flowers. This deciduous vine features pinnately compound, bright green leaves. The showy, fragrant flowers bloom in pendulous racemes, showcasing shades of violet and lavender.
Opt for non-invasive American wisteria for fragrant lavender flowers and manageable, lush growth.
botanical-name botanical name Wisteria frutescens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 15’-30’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

The Japanese species of wisteria can be invasive, but American wisteria is much more well-behaved, with wonderful fragrant clusters of lavender flowers. I love the smell of these flowers almost as much as bumblebees. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a wisteria vine without bumblebees during the day!

If you want to cover a tall structure with a wonderful vining plant, American wisteria will do the job with aplomb. Growing up to 30 feet tall, this plant can cover some serious space. It can also be contained easily by pruning it, which will keep it looking full and lush. 

‘Alexandra’ Bougainvillea 

Close-up of a blooming Bougainvillea alexandra against a blurred blue sky background. Bougainvillea alexandra, commonly known as Alexandra's Bougainvillea, is a stunning tropical vine renowned for its vibrant and prolific display of colorful bracts. The plant features leathery, elliptical leaves and thorny stems. The bracts, which range in color from magenta and purple to pink, surround inconspicuous white flowers, creating a visually striking contrast.
Grow this vibrant Bougainvillea species with papery, long-lasting fuchsia and magenta bracts.
botanical-name botanical name Bougainvillea Alexandra
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8’-10’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Bougainvillea is a wonderful South American plant that produces flamboyant, colorful bracts surrounding its small white and yellow flowers. Often mistaken for being flowers themselves, these bracts are actually modified leaves with a papery texture. They are long-lasting and very sturdy. 

The Alexandra species is known for its knock-your-socks-off fuchsia and magenta bracts that form densely at the ends of its branches. This is a wonderful vining plant to grow over a trellis or train to espalier if you live in a tropical climate. It is easy to maintain and drought tolerant. 

‘Blue Angel’ Clematis

Close-up of a flowering Clematis 'Blue Angel' plant against a blurred blue sky background. The plant showcases large, nodding blossoms with an exquisite shade of lavender-blue, each petal displaying a subtle hint of silver-blue at the center. The dark green foliage provides a lush background to the profusion of flowers.
Award-winning ‘Blue Angel’ clematis boasts large, soft blue flowers and tolerates various conditions.
botanical-name botanical name Clematis ‘Blue Angel’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10’-15’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

‘Blue Angel’ is a large variety of clematis with delicate, soft blue flowers that are quite large. At four to six inches in diameter, these flowers are among the largest of the genus. No wonder this variety was given the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society!

Clematis is not fussy about location and has good salt tolerance. It prefers shade near the bottom of the plant and sun above, which it naturally creates for itself as it gets larger. Pollinators love the showy flowers. While well-behaved, it needs regular pruning to keep the vines from growing tangled.

Star Jasmine

Close-up of a flowering plant, Trachelospermum jasminoides, commonly known as Confederate Jasmine or Star Jasmine. This is a captivating evergreen vine that boasts glossy, dark green leaves that form dense, cascading foliage. The plant forms clusters of small, star-shaped, white flowers.
Confederate jasmine is a sturdy, moderate grower with fragrant white flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Trachelospermum jasminoides
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2’-20’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10

This graceful species of jasmine is a reliably sturdy and moderate grower. The vines twine in a noticeable but not frustratingly tight fashion, and the foliage appears in shades of pink and red before deepening to green. The reddish-bronze tint intensifies in cold weather, making this a stunning autumn plant.

It begins to bloom in late spring and continues sporadically throughout the summer and into the fall. The flowers are white and famously fragrant. They release more of their perfume in the evening, so this is a wonderful plant to grow near an outdoor dining space. 

Trailing Nasturtium

Close-up of a flowering Tropaeolum majus plant against a blurred background. The rounded leaves are lily pad-like, with a vibrant green hue that complements the plant's overall vigor. Nasturtium produces unique, spurred flowers of rich orange-red color.
An edible and ornamental plant, trailing nasturtium grows up to 10 feet.
botanical-name botanical name Tropaeolum majus 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 5’-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Trailing nasturtium is a great plant to work into your vegetable garden. For a wonderful vertical element that actually improves the flavor of some companion vegetables, this is the perfect plant. Another bonus is that all parts of the nasturtium plant are edible, including the flowers. 

These plants can grow up to 10 feet in a season and have attractive, parasol-shaped foliage. The brightly colored flowers stand out famously against the cool green background. As an annual, you don’t have to worry about it taking over. Nasturtiums are bold and lush in the garden and do double duty as an edible and ornamental plant.

‘Peggy Martin’ Rose

Close-up of a flowering Rosa 'Peggy Martin' plant against a blurred background. Peggy Martin Rose is a resilient and breathtaking climbing rose variety. Its vigorous growth habit produces cascading canes adorned with clusters of semi-double, vibrant pink flowers.
Peggy Martin roses are known for resilience, easy growth, and beautiful pink flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa ‘Peggy Martin’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 15’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

If there is one plant on the list that I can’t say enough good things about, the ‘Peggy Martin’ rose takes the prize. Made famous for surviving two weeks under salt water after Hurricane Katrina, Peggy Martin is resilient in a pretty pink and green package. 

Roses can be high maintenance, but ‘Peggy’ is notoriously easy to grow. The long, slender vines seem to grow inches overnight, and clusters of beautiful, double-petal form flowers cover the plant in springtime and into the summer months. This plant likes full sun, but partial shade is fine as well. Fertilize ‘Peggy Martin’ well and watch her take off!

Purple Bell Vine

Close-up of blooming Rhodochiton atrosanguineum flowers against a blurred green background. The vine features tubular, pendulous flowers of rich maroon to purple blooms that have flared, bell-shaped tips, creating an elegant and intriguing appearance.
This is a low-maintenance tropical climber that features vibrant flowers and heart-shaped leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Rhodochiton atrosanguineum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

Another winner of the Award of Garden Merit, the purple bell vine is a gorgeous flowering tropical vine that is native to Mexico and requires very little maintenance for the amount of interest it brings to the garden. It has bright green, heart-shaped leaves with red margins and veining to match its flowers.

The flowers are pendulous and shades of magenta and burgundy. They have long petal tubes that hang from fuchsia calyces. After pollination, these tubes drop off, and the sepals grow more colorful, holding on for several weeks. This is a great climber and can be grown annually in colder climates, as it is a vigorous grower. 

Black-eyed Susan Vine

Close-up of a flowering Thunbergia alata plant against a blurred background of a sunny garden. Thunbergia alata, commonly known as Black-eyed Susan Vine, is a delightful and fast-growing annual vine. Its heart-shaped leaves provide a lush backdrop to the striking display of tubular flowers. The flowers, resembling cheerful, open-faced trumpets, come in bright yellow color.
The black-eyed Susan vine boasts vibrant, multicolored flowers and thrives in sunlight.
botanical-name botanical name Thunbergia alata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3’-8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

Although unrelated to the black-eyed Susan of the Rudbeckia genus, this vine shares a similar aesthetic with its namesake. Large, single, yellow, and orange flowers have a deep purple throat. Some varieties also have peach, pink, cream, and pale yellow flowers, with some blooming in more than one color on the same plant. 

Black-eyed Susan vine thrives in full sun and will grow lush and dense under the right conditions. The individual vines are thin and twining with deep green, heart-shaped leaves. This is a long bloomer, beginning to produce flowers in the early summer and continuing to bloom into the fall. 

Climbing Hydrangea

Close-up of a flowering Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris in the garden. Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris, commonly known as Climbing Hydrangea, is a deciduous woody vine celebrated for its elegant and vigorous growth. The heart-shaped, dark green leaves provide a dense and verdant backdrop to the plant's stunning display of lacecap-like flowers. Clusters of creamy white blossoms with flat, fertile centers surrounded by showy, sterile florets adorn the vine.
The climbing hydrangea is a cold-tolerant, vigorous vine, perfect for walls, fences, and arbors.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 30’-50’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

If you love hydrangeas, you will run right out and grab one of these amazing vines. This vigorous climber has excellent cold tolerance and can reach heights of 30 feet and more under the right conditions. If you have a wall or fence you want to cover, this plant can do it. It also takes well to pruning and can be contained to grow nicely over an arbor. 

Climbing hydrangea is a deciduous vine and has an attractive reddish-brown exfoliating bark. Four seasons of interest are kicked off in the spring with bold green foliage and large, flat flowerheads resembling lacecap flowers. The Royal Horticultural Society thinks this one is special, as it is a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit

‘Royal Navy’ Sweet Pea

Close-up of Lathyrus odoratus 'Royal Navy' flowering plant in a garden against a blurred green background. The plant produces elegantly fringed flowers, carried on long, slender stems, exhibit a velvety texture. The lush green foliage serves as a backdrop.
Sweet pea ‘Royal Navy’ is a fragrant, long-stemmed climber perfect for cut flower gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Lathyrus odoratus ‘Royal Navy’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

If you’re looking for a climbing vine to add to your cut flower garden, sweet pea plants are perfect for the task. ‘Royal Navy’ is a long-stemmed type with dramatic, royal blue flowers with a delightfully sweet fragrance. Growing up to eight feet tall, this plant is easy to contain and produces many flowers.

It is best to cut the flowers before they go to seed, as sweet peas have been known to reseed aggressively. Don’t be surprised if you see a plant spring up across the yard, as they tend to travel. However, they’re easy to pull and only last one season. Pollinators love them for their abundance of nectar.

Coral Vine

Close-up of a flowering Antigonon leptopus plant in a garden. This is a fast-growing and vigorous vine with heart-shaped leaves and delicate, cascading clusters of tubular flowers. The flowers are bright pink.
This brightly-colored vine attracts pollinators, has a moderate footprint, and grows well in various climates.
botanical-name botanical name Antigonon leptopus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 40’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Coral vine is a great climber that attracts an amazing number of pollinators and looks great while doing it. If you want to bring the bees to your yard, this is a great little plant to make some space for. Fortunately, it doesn’t have a large footprint and doesn’t travel far, so while it will grow quite large, it dies back in the winter and doesn’t spread aggressively. 

The vines are thin and twining, with light green foliage and clusters of coral-colored flowers. As a perennial in warmer climates, the vines can reach up to 40 feet long. However, even as an annual in cooler climates, this vine will easily grow to 10 feet long in a season. 

‘Sky Blue’ Snapdragon Vine

Close-up of Asarina scandens 'Sky Blue' flowering plant against a blurred green Lithuanian background. This tender perennial features heart-shaped leaves that provide a lush backdrop to the profusion of purple-blue, trumpet-shaped flowers.
The snapdragon vine has trumpet-shaped flowers that are attractive to hummingbirds and bees.
botanical-name botanical name Asarina scandens ‘Sky Blue’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-10

This vine borrows its name from another popular flower, although it is not closely related to snapdragons. The flowers, however, strongly resemble their namesake. Its trumpet-shaped flowers are very popular with hummingbirds and long-tongued bees. 

Snapdragon vine is a slow starter from seed, but once it takes off, it can cover a trellis in a few short months. ‘Sky Blue’ has beautiful periwinkle-colored blooms and deep green foliage. These vines work well in containers, as well. 

Firecracker Vine

Close-up of a flowering Firecracker Vine plant (Manettia inflata) against a blurred blue sky background. The Firecracker Vine is a captivating, climbing, perennial vine that showcases tubular, scarlet-red flowers that resemble miniature firecrackers, hence its name. The blossoms are accented with a contrasting yellow or orange-red tip. The dark green, lance-shaped leaves provide a lush backdrop to the striking display of flowers.
Akin to morning glory, the firecracker vine is an annual with vibrant flowers that thrive in the sun.
botanical-name botanical name Ipomoea lobata or Mina lobata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 16’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

The firecracker vine is related to morning glory and other strong growers in the Ipomoea genus. It is typically grown as an annual and grows quickly in full sun and warm temperatures. Another winner of the RBS Award of Garden Merit, it has tri-lobed leaves and racemes of gorgeously bright flowers in warm shades. 

This heat-loving plant grows as a perennial in warmer climates. Don’t shy away from planting it in the sunniest spot in the garden. It will thrive here. Keep it well-watered and occasionally thin out the vines to maintain proper airflow. Firecracker vine prefers sandy or loamy soil and won’t perform as well in clay-heavy soil types. 

Scyphanthus elegans

Close-up of a young flowering Scyphanthus elegans plant against a blurred garden background. This vining plant showcases cascading stems adorned with small, intricate, and pendulous flowers. The flowers are bell-shaped, bright yellow, and feature delicate fringed edges.
This long-blooming climber adorns structures with frilly foliage and captivating flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Scyphanthus elegans
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

This flowering vine is a fast grower that will quickly cover your trellis or arbor with frilly foliage and fascinating flowers. This long-blooming plant can produce flowers for three to four months in the summer and is an excellent climber, attaching to any structure in its path. 

The flowers are visually complex, with semi-tubular petals that flare and flatten out at the outer edge. Yellow petals surround a white throat, and fun floating red structures decorate the center of the flower. The name is difficult, but the plant is easygoing and vigorous. 

Chilean Glory Flower

Close-up of a flowering Eccremocarpus scaber plant on a washed-out green background. This perennial vine is adorned with slender, pinnate leaves and produces a profusion of tubular flowers of deep orange color. The blossoms, arranged in clusters, exhibit a distinctive trumpet shape.
This crimson flower has good cold tolerance and thrives in the sun.
botanical-name botanical name Eccremocarpus scaber
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10’-15’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

The Chilean glory flower is a warm-weather plant with surprisingly good cold tolerance. While most tropical vines are frost tender, this vine can survive winters in zone 8, where frost is common and even the occasional hard freeze can occur. The plant will look its best when grown in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. 

When grown in cooler climates as an annual, cuttings can be taken in the fall and rooted indoors to be planted again in the spring. The evergreen vine has racemes of tubular red and orange flowers that are very popular with hummingbirds. The vines grow up to 15 feet long, and the foliage is dense and attractive. 

Final Thoughts

Climbing vines bring a wonderful element of luxury and coziness to the garden landscape. They are a wonderful way to invite and enchant human visitors. So many of them produce an abundance of nectar, enticing pollinators to come in and do their essential work. If you don’t want a plant that takes over your garden, choose from this list of well-behaved vines!

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