The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (2022)

Create a shady bower


David Beaulieu

The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (1)

David Beaulieu

David Beaulieu is a landscaping expert and plant photographer, with 20 years of experience. He was in the nursery business for over a decade, working with a large variety of plants. David has been interviewed by numerous newspapers and national U.S. magazines, such as Woman's World and American Way.

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Updated on 03/14/22

Reviewed by

Kathleen Miller

The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (2)

Reviewed byKathleen Miller

Kathleen Miller is a highly-regarded Master Gardener and Horticulturist who shares her knowledge of sustainable living, organic gardening, farming, and landscape design. She founded Gaia's Farm and Gardens,aworking sustainable permaculture farm, and writes for Gaia Grows, a local newspaper column.She has over 30 years of experience in gardening and sustainable farming.

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Fact checked by

Emily Estep

Fact checked byEmily Estep

Emily Estep is a plant biologist and fact-checker focused on environmental sciences. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Science in Plant Biology from Ohio University. Emily has been a proofreader and editor at a variety of online media outlets over the past decade.

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(Video) Flowering Vines with an Extended Bloom Season

The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (4)

Climbing vines can create leafy bowers, but not all are suitable for the shade. This collection of vines includes some that love shade and others that tolerate it. It's important to know, however, that most climbing vines can overwhelm your trees, garden structures, or home. In addition, many are considered invasive species and should be avoided.

What Does It Mean When a Plant Is Invasive?


Many invasive vines, such as kudzu, pose severe problems for forests and landscapes. This list gives some recommendations for both perennial vines that tolerate partial shade, as well as some to avoid due to dangers of invasiveness.

  • 01 of 10

    Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)

    The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (5)

    Boston ivy is not grown for its flowers. It is the foliage of this traditional favorite that earns it a place on this list. Rumor has it that "ivy league" colleges are so named because the external walls of some of the older buildings on their campuses are covered in ivy. The leaves of Boston ivy can become a brilliant red in autumn, and the leaves are attractive in summer, too, when they are a deep, glossygreen. Fall color is best when this vine receives ample sunshine, so if you are growing it in the shade, you need to be content with itssummer look.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Loamy soil, tolerant to a variety
  • 02 of 10

    Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris)

    The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (6)

    As difficult as it can be to find vines to grow in the shade, it is even more difficult to find flowering vines that bloom well under shady conditions and that are hardy in the northern states of the U.S. (as well as some parts of Canada). Because climbing hydrangea meets these requirements, it is one of the most valuable plants at the landscaper's disposal.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White, blue, pink, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, acidic soil
    (Video) Climbing plants - how to choose the right climber for your garden!
  • 03 of 10

    Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

    The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (7)

    Although Virginia creeper makes the "good" list, it has some qualifications. As a vigorous grower, it is not suitable for growing insmall spaces. Plant developers have produced somewhat tamer cultivars for homeowners to grow, such as 'Red Wall.' Like its relative, Boston ivy, the fall foliage of Virginia creeper can be outstanding. (Boston ivy and Virginia creeper are both members of the Parthenocissus genus). Do not expect optimal color in fall if you grow it as a vine for shade.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Greenish white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Sandy, clay, loamy
  • Vinca Minor (Vinca minor)

    The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (8)

    Periwinkle can be invasivein some circumstances, but it is relatively easy to control in the landscape and produces pretty violet-blue flowers. It can be a good plant to grow under trees—a particularly challenging environment. Vinca is a drought-tolerant ground cover, which means it can accommodate large trees consuming most all of the available water. Unlike the other plants listed here, periwinkle is not a climber. But those who do not mind its aggressiveness will appreciate its ability to fill in an area that would otherwise become overrun with weeds.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Blue, lavender, purple, white
    • Sun Exposure: Partial sun to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Normal, sandy, or clay

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.

  • 05 of 10

    Sweet Autumn Clematis(Clematispaniculata, Clematis terniflora)

    The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (9)

    Sweet autumn clematis is a vine that grows well, and flowers well, when planted in the shade. But reviews on this plant are mixed.Some people love sweet autumn clematis and the delightful scent that it emits during the evening. But others are annoyed that the plentiful flowers, so beautiful to many, are the source of equally numerous seeds that will germinate all over the garden to produce seedlings. For gardeners who do not mind weeding chores, it might be a perfect vine.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Any well-drained soil
  • 06 of 10

    (Video) What's the Biggest Cost in Your Business? // Have Your Tried Bishops Weed? // Recap 🌿

    Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)

    The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (10)

    Trumpet vine is another plant that is not without its merits. It will eventually produce its gorgeous orange flowers even in partial shade, and hummingbirds adore it. But unwanted "children" from the parent plant will pop up everywhere, and they are much harder to pull up than sweet autumn clematis plants.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, orange, red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Any well-drained soil
  • 07 of 10

    Emerald Gaiety Euonymus (Euonymus fortunei)

    The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (11)

    Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald Gaiety' is a foliage plantthat can take the form either of a vine or a shrub. Consequently, it can be grown either as a ground cover or as a hedge plant (pictured). It is easy to pick out 'Emerald Gaiety.' It has variegated leaves in a green and white pattern. Shade does not bother it much, but its potential for invasiveness might prove to be a bother for you.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Any well-drained soil
  • 08 of 10

    Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

    The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (12)

    Chinese wisteria is also invasive in some regions of North America. A better choice for most American gardens is Wisteria frutescens,an American native. The problem with the American variety is that it does not flower in the shade.Chinese wisteria, on the other hand, flowers beautifully in the shade, but gardeners risk dealing with its potential invasiveness.

  • 09 of 10

    English Ivy (Hedera helix)

    The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (13)

    For some gardeners,English ivycompetes with Oriental bittersweet and kudzu for the title of the most hated vine in North America, due to its invasiveness. Planting this vine is discouraged, even though it grows very well in the shade.

  • 10 of 10

    (Video) Episode 78: Best Clematis

    Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

    The Merits and Drawbacks of 10 Common Perennial Vines for Shade (14)

    Japanese honeysuckle is an attractive perennial vine for shade—but the rampant invasive nature of this exotic makes it a plant to avoid at all costs. The honeysuckle variety native to the eastern U.S., Lonicera sempervirens,is, unfortunately,not a vine for shade. Although the common name for Lonicera sempervirens is "trumpet honeysuckle," do not confuse itwith trumpet vine (Campsis radicans). It is known to occur and be invasive in the east from Maine to Florida and westward to Wisconsin and Texas. There are scattered occurrences in the Southwest.

Watch Now: 7 Ways to Save Time in Your Garden

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Harron, Paulina et al. Predicting Kudzu (Pueraria montana) spread and its economic impacts in timber industry: A case study from Oklahoma.PloS onevol. 15,3 e0229835. 16 Mar. 2020, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0229835


What vine grows best in shade? ›

21 Flowering Vines For Shade Gardens and Shady Areas
  • 1.1 American Groundnut.
  • 1.2 Atlantic Pigeon Wing.
  • 1.3 Butterfly Pea.
  • 1.4 Bleeding Heart Vine.
  • 1.5 Carolina Jasmine.
  • 1.6 Chinese Wisteria.
  • 1.7 Chocolate Vine.
  • 1.8 Clematis.
9 Jun 2022

What is the fastest growing vine for shade? ›

The climbing Hydrangea is by far one of the most popular fast growing shade vines that you can choose from. This is a flowering vine that tends to bloom under shady conditions.

What is the fastest growing vine for privacy? ›

The Wisteria vine is my favorite fast-growing vine for privacy. It is a beautiful plant, and it will grow from 10 – 15 feet every year. This makes it one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. The flowers of the Wisteria come in several different colors, including purple, white, blue, and pink.

Do any climbing plants like shade? ›


Star jasmine is the best choice for shady fences (Trachelospermum jasminoides). Other shade lovers are climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris), creeping fig and ivy. When planting a climber, consider how much sun or shade they will receive.

Is there a climbing plant that grows in shade? ›

Variegated Magnolia Vine

This evergreen climbing shrub is an ideal choice for shade. It produces yellow or white blooms in spring and grows 10-15 feet tall.

What is the easiest climbing vine to grow? ›

'Top climbing plants, that are very easy to grow include clematis, honeysuckle (Lonicera), rose, wisteria and even grape vines,' advises Chris from Gardening Express.

What does partial shade mean? ›

Partial shade is often defined as an area that receives two hours of direct sun each day or shaded for at least half the day. Here again, remember the difference between morning and afternoon sun and its effects on some more shade loving plants.

What can grow in shade on fence? ›

Other noteworthy plants for the shade border include:
  • ferns.
  • columbine.
  • bleeding heart.
  • forget-me-nots.
  • iris.
  • fuchsia.
  • impatiens.
  • various ornamental grasses.
6 Sept 2021

How many types of vines are there? ›

There are over 2,500 species of vines from about 90 families [liana distribution]. They range from small, indiscrete vines that grow against the tree to giant lianas thick as trees that seemingly hang in the middle of the forest independent of trees. Some of the larger woody lianas may exceed 3,000 feet in length.

Do vines benefit trees? ›

Vines are bad for trees because they shade the tree from the sun, hold onto too much moisture and can do structural damage. Baby vines growing up a tree are pretty. It's not until much later – sometimes too late – that you realize your fast-growing ivy is killing your 100-year-old tree.

What are the characteristics of a vine? ›

Lianas (also known as vines, climbing plants or climbers) are plants with long, flexible, climbing stems that are rooted in the ground, and usually have long dangling branches.

How do you grow vines? ›

In general, plant most vines in loose, well-draining soil. Dig a hole twice as big as the plant's root ball and about as deep. Work aged manure or compost into the soil at the bottom of the hole. Gently slide the vine out of the pot and put it in the hole no deeper than it was already growing.

Can roses grow in shade? ›

It is possible to have a beautiful rose garden in partial shade. Blooms have richer color and fade at slower rates than those receiving more direct sun- light. Roses require less watering with less exposure to sunlight. Blooms will be smaller.

Can jasmine tolerate shade? ›

Amount of sunlight – Jasmine needs full sun or part shade – usually about 6 hours or more of direct sunlight each day for full sun, and 2 – 4 hours per day for partial shade.

Does star jasmine grow in shade? ›

Star jasmine thrives in full sun. It will grow in shade, but it grows slowly and produces few flowers in a part-shade or full-shade location.

Does bamboo grow in shade? ›

Yes, you can grow bamboo in the shade. And there are certainly some bamboo species which prefer more shade than others. But it will also depend on your climate. In very hot regions, most bamboos will benefit from at least a little bit of shade.

Can climbing hydrangea grow in shade? ›

Climbing hydrangeas love rich soil and do well in full sun, partial shade, and even deep shade.

Can morning glory grow in shade? ›

Morning glories prefer full sun but will tolerate very light shade. The plants are also well known for their tolerance to poor, dry soils. In fact, the plant can easily establish itself in any slightly disturbed area, including garden edges, fence rows, and roadsides where the vine is commonly seen growing.

What is a perennial vine? ›

Perennial flowering vines are functional as well as beautiful. They soften the look of the landscape and protect your privacy while hiding unsightly views. Most perennial vines are rampant, vigorous plants that quickly cover a structure fairly quickly.

How do you grow a vine wall? ›

How to Train Vines & Trees to Grow on Walls : Landscaping Tips

What is the name of the vine that grows on walls? ›

Climbers such as Virginia Creeper use adhesive pads to attach themselves to flat surfaces, while others, such as English ivy and climbing hydrangea, adhere by aerial rootlets. Removing them can damage paint work and mortar, however, if you're looking for a near-forever solution, they're a good choice.

How does shade affect plant growth? ›

The net photosynthetic response to light for plants grown in shade was comparable to responses for plants grown in full sunlight. Plants grown in full sunlight produced more biomass, tillers and leaves, and allocated a larger proportion of their total production to roots than plants grown in shade.

What is full shade? ›

What is Full Shade? Full shade is defined as less than four hours of direct sun per day. Notice we didn't say zero hours of direct sun—that would be dense shade which is the darkest of all light levels where few plants can survive. Full shade loving plants enjoy a few hours of sun each day, preferably in the morning.

How do I plant a fence line? ›

Space your shrubs and plants slightly away from it. A curving bed of plants rather than a straight line softens the straight lines of the fence. For great visual appeal, layer the flower beds and plants along your fence. Arrange short plants in the front, medium-sized in the middle, and the tallest ones in the back.

Does Russian vine grow in shade? ›

Ideal for covering an unsightly structure or wall in sun or partial shade, but plant with caution since it's extremely fast-growing and can end up choking everything in its path! Garden care: Each year in early spring cut back to fit the available space.

What are examples of vine plants? ›

vine, Plant whose stem requires support and that climbs by tendrils or twining or creeps along the ground, or the stem of such a plant. Examples include bittersweet, most grapes, some honeysuckles, ivy, lianas, and melons.

How do vines work? ›

Vines climb and support themselves by using either twining stems, tendrils, aerial roots or adhesive disks sometimes called hold fasts. Vines that twine will physically wrap their stems around supports. In this case, poles, chain-link fence, wire, trellises or arbors provide the best support.

How do vines affect trees? ›

When vines get big and spread, they suffocate the tree. Their leaves block air and light from the bark, and the vine's roots compete with the tree for nutrients in the soil below it. The vines have hairs that clasp onto and attach themselves to the bark, which puts more stress on the tree.

How do you identify a vine? ›

Vines are identified by the shape and color of their leaves, as well as their flowers and fruits. Lightweight flowering vines, such as clematis or morning glory, hide mailboxes, fences or other utilitarian structures. Dense vines provide privacy and can even make a green fence.

How do you control vines? ›

Here's how to stop vines from taking over - YouTube

What is vine made of? ›

A vine is made up of two parts. The top part that is above ground is a graft of the vitis vinifera, and the part below ground that is a rootstock, often a hybrid between American and vitis vinifera species that are resistant to phylloxera, a disease that ravaged the European vineyards in the 1860s.

Do vines grow towards the sun? ›

Some vines grow upward (climbing), some creep (ground covers) and others grow downward (trailing). Most are fast growers and with support from a trellis, arbor, or pergola, vines can be trained to cover nearly any surface. Their long stems latch onto walls, rocks, and vertical supports to grow toward sunlight.

Why do vines fail? ›

Why Did Vine Shut Down? Vine shut down because it failed to support its content creators, due to high levels of competition, lack of monetization and advertising options, personnel turnover, as well as issues at parent company Twitter.

Is there a clematis that likes shade? ›

Clematis 'Nelly Moser' is one of the most well-known shade-tolerant clematis, as its brightly coloured blooms do best in shade – they can bleach in too much sun.

Does jasmine do well in shade? ›

Amount of sunlight – Jasmine needs full sun or part shade – usually about 6 hours or more of direct sunlight each day for full sun, and 2 – 4 hours per day for partial shade.

Does ivy grow in full shade? ›

Since they're such aggressive—sometimes even invasive—growers, ivy plants are very hardy, able to withstand full sun, partial shade, or even full shade (although the coloring of variegated species will fade without sufficient light). They like to dry out between waterings, making them relatively drought tolerant.

Can honeysuckle grow in full shade? ›

In terms of optimum soil types, honeysuckle grows in any fertile, well-drained ground, including chalk and clay. In terms of light, it thrives in dappled shade due to its woodland origins. It will tolerate full shade, but it will only flower prolifically if it gets regular sun.

What clematis grows in full shade? ›

Among the shade-tolerant types are the alpine clematis, Clematis alpina, and sweet autumn clematis, Clematis paniculata (terniflora). Here are some others to consider: 'Nelly Moser'—Pinkish light mauve flowers with deep lilac stripes. Thrives in shade.

Is clematis a perennial? ›

Clematis (pronounced klem'uh-tis, accent on the first syllable) is the most popular and most often planted perennial vine. Clematis vines are long-lived, easy to grow and have a long season of showy blooms.

What is the easiest clematis to grow? ›

The easiest Clematis to grow, because they need little or no pruning are Clematis montana, C. alpina and C. macropetala. One of the loveliest varieties, Clematis montana 'Elizabeth' has a beautiful vanilla scent.

Which jasmine is best in shade? ›

1. Select jasmine cultivars that grow in the kind of shade in your garden. Both madison jasmine (Trachelospermum Jasminoides "Madison") and Asiatic jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) accept full shade and many cultivars grow in partial shade.

Does winter jasmine grow in shade? ›

Grow winter jasmine in fertile, well-drained soil, in full sun.

Can night blooming jasmine grow in shade? ›

Find a sunny spot in your backyard, as night-blooming jasmine does best in full sun. Partial shade is fine for night-blooming jasmine, but be sure to expose your plants to at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. Night-blooming jasmine emits a strong, sweet fragrance.

Can you grow climbing roses in shade? ›

Plant your climbing rose in moist but well-drained, fertile soil. Most climbing roses do best in full sun, but some are more tolerant of shade.

Does Virginia creeper grow in shade? ›

Grow Virginia creeper in moist but well drained soil in sun to shade.

Is ivy plant poisonous? ›

As with many common garden, house and wild plants, ivy isn't food and is mildly poisonous if eaten. If you were to eat some, you might get an upset stomach. It is toxic to cats, dogs and horses, but not birds or livestock. Children under five are most at risk from plant poisoning.

Does bamboo grow in shade? ›

Yes, you can grow bamboo in the shade. And there are certainly some bamboo species which prefer more shade than others. But it will also depend on your climate. In very hot regions, most bamboos will benefit from at least a little bit of shade.

Which honeysuckle is best for shade? ›

Honeysuckles such as Lonicera periclymenum 'Serotina' (pictured) climb over walls and fences and many are happy in shade. They offer wonderful scent and great for wildlife.

What is the best climbing plant to cover a fence? ›

Flowering Maple, Butterfly Bush, White Forsythia, Honeysuckle, Grape Vine, Wisteria, Passion Fruit, Virginia Creeper, Hollyleaf Sweetspire, Rose, Everlasting Sweet Pea, Nectarines, Figs, Apples, Cherries, Peaches, Apricots.


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