By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer
There is something so charming about a home covered in vines. However, those of us in cooler climates sometimes have to deal with a house covered in dead-looking vines throughout the winter months if we do not select evergreen types. While most evergreen vines prefer warm, southern climates, there are some semi-evergreen and evergreen vines for zone 6. Continue reading to learn more about growing evergreen vines in zone 6.
Semi-evergreen or semi-deciduous, by definition, is a plant that loses its leaves for only a short time as new leaves form. Evergreen naturally means a plant that retains its foliage throughout the year.
Generally, these are two different categories of plants. However, some vines and other plants can be evergreen in warmer climates but semi-evergreen in cooler climates. When vines are used as ground covers and spend some months beneath mounds of snow, it may be irrelevant whether it is semi-evergreen or a true evergreen. With vines that climb walls, fences or create privacy shields, you may want to make certain they are true evergreens.
Below is a list of zone 6 evergreen vines and their characteristics:
Purple Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei var. Coloratus) – Hardy in zones 4-8, full-part sun, evergreen.
Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempirvirens) – Hardy in zones 6-9, full sun, may be semi-evergreen in zone 6.
Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) – Hardy in zones 6-10, full-part sun, may be semi-evergreen in zone 6.
English Ivy (Hedera helix) – Hardy in zones 4-9, full sun-shade, evergreen.
Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) – Hardy in zones 6-9, part shade-shade, evergreen.
Tangerine Beauty Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) – Hardy in zones 6-9, full sun, may be semi-evergreen in zone 6.
Five-leaf Akebia (Akebia quinata) – Hardy in zones 5-9, full-part sun, may be semi-evergreen in zones 5 and 6.
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Hardy, disease- and insect-resistant perennial vines can be used to cover a boring or unsightly structure with green foliage. They are also commonly planted to provide a green background for shorter flowering plants. Many vines produce showy flowers, too, providing floral interest in addition to lush foliage. The way a vine climbs, which varies depending on the species, should be considered when choosing one for your landscape.
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
One of the hardest skills for a new gardener to master is incorporating climbing vines into a landscape. Annual vines such as cardinal climber and morning glory are easy enough to work into a cottage garden design, because they are only in place for a single season you can discontinue them if they don't work the way you want. But perennial vines are in your garden for decades and will get larger and fuller each year. Deciding where to place the vines is an important consideration and often a daunting one for both new and experienced gardeners alike. For the adventurous, there are some truly stunning perennial vines that can be trained over doorways, up trees, or even left to dangle from hanging pots.
Here are six favorite perennial flowering vines that will work well in your garden.
Vines that climb do so by means of one of several evolved methods. Twining vines climb a trellis, fence, or other structure by branches that grow in a circling fashion, twisting themselves around a trellis or other structure as they grow. A modified form of twining is the use of tendrils—small twining shoots that reach out and anchor themselves to a supporting structure as permanent branches become established. Both twining and tendril-forming vines are relatively easy to control and are good choices for most landscape uses.
Other vines use aerial roots or suckering disks that literally attach themselves to a supporting structure, such as a trellis, wall, fence, or tree. These vines can cause damage to the structure they attach to, and are best avoided unless you are willing to time controlling their growth, especially if the plant is fast-growing.
There are numerous perennial vines that can add a permanent landscape feature to your garden. When choosing vines listed as perennial, make sure that they are listed as hardy for your planting zone. These vines come back year after year and when properly handled, continue to offer attractive foliage and flowers.
A large, vigorous twining vine growing up to 25-30 feet. Prefers a full sun location. Produces fragrant, white flowers in May-June followed by small, green edible fruit that is produced without the need for both male and female plants. Prune right after flowering if needed to control size. May limit potential fruit production however. Hardy kiwi is more valued for its ornamental purposes than its ability to produce useable fruit.
Interesting variegated form of kiwi growing to a compact size of about 12 feet. This twining vine has intriguing white flushed with pink variegations on large, oval leaves. Young, newly planted vines may show very little variegation. It may take up to 3 years to show variegation. As vines age variegation becomes more prominent. Fragrant white flowers in May followed by small, gooseberry-like fruit. Because of the variegation, the vine is best grown where it receives light shade to protect the variegated leaves from scorching in hot sun. The vine may also be trained vertically as a specimen plant for the garden. Best variegation is achieved when the plants are not overly fertilized.
An extremely vigorous twining vine growing to 25-30 feet with large rounded, dark green leaves. Because of its size it will need a substantial support. Will grow in full sun to shade. Flowering in May-June, the unique flowers are greenish-yellow and shaped like a meerschaum pipe. Unfortunately, the flowers often go overlooked as they are buried under the large foliage canopy. Makes a good screen. Prune in late winter to control growth. Prefers a moist soil location.
A rapid, vigorous growing vine climbing by both aerial roots and twining. Grows to 30-40 feet. Will grow in sun to light shade with best flowering in full sun. Because of its vigor this vine will need a substantial support. Large compound green leaves that look almost tropical. Flowers are orange-scarlet, 3 inches long, tube-shaped and showy from July-September. Attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. After flowering, long, bean-shaped pods are produced that often persist through the winter. Trumpet vine may not flower for several years after planting until it becomes well established in the garden. Looks best when given moisture during dry periods in the garden. Trumpet vine will sucker freely in the garden so use caution about its use in small space gardens. Suckering can be "controlled" by timely removal of suckers by digging as they appear. Also tends to reseed so pull out seedlings as they appear. Vine tolerates heavy pruning in late winter or early spring. This is suggested in order to keep it under control and maintain quality.
American bittersweet is a vigorous twining vine growing to 10-20 feet. It is preferred over the invasive oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus). A full sun to light shade location is preferred. Reddish-yellow capsules open in early autumn to expose red-orange berries. Prune in late winter or early spring. Both male and female plants are needed to produce the attractive berries and many times sexed plants of the species are not available at garden centers. And since only the female plant will bear the attractive fruit, both a male and female plant needs to be in the vicinity to insure pollination and fruit production. To make sure you have one of each sex in the area, look for named cultivars such as ‘Diana’ (female) and ‘Hercules’ (male) or ‘Indian Maiden’ (female) and ‘Indian Brave’ (male). To make insuring attractive fruit even easier there are now cultivars that are self-fruitful so you need only one plant and not two for fruit production. Look for Celastrus scandens ‘Bailumn’ Autumn Revolution™ or Celastrus scandens ‘Swtazam’ Sweet Tangerine®. Berry size and production on both are extraordinarily large.
English ivy is a vigorous vine attaching by aerial roots and growing 50+ feet long. It is an evergreen to semi-evergreen depending on where it is grown, and the severity of the winter. In open locations and where it is exposed to more wind, the foliage tends to turn brown. New foliage will regrow in the spring. English ivy benefits from regular pruning in the spring to control growth which can become aggressive at times. The vine is also a good groundcover. It prefers a part to full shade location. More sun and wind exposure results in discoloration of the foliage during the winter. Cultivars to look for include 'Thorndale' with glossy, dark green foliage and 'Wilson' a small leaved form good for small space gardens. Variegated forms often need extra winter protection for survivability and their hardiness is often questionable.
Virginia Creeper is a vigorous vine growing to 50+ feet and attaching by both tendrils and holdfasts. Large five-parted leaves are purple color in the spring, and then change to a dull green during the growing season. It then turns a brilliant red in the fall. The inconspicuous flowers develop into clusters of blue-black pea-sized berries that are often eaten by birds. Virginia creeper is tolerant of drought and grows in full sun to shade locations. This vine can also be used as a groundcover or allowed to trail off of retaining walls. This vine is often mistaken for poison ivy that has three-parted leaves. Heavy pruning in the spring may be needed to keep this aggressive vine in check. 'Engelman' is a cultivar that is less vigorous, has small leaves and good for small spaces. 'Star Showers' is a variegated cultivar.
Boston Ivy is a dense vine growing to 50+ feet and attaching itself by means of holdfasts (adhesive disks). This is the classic vine seen on buildings associated with "ivy league" schools. The three parted leaves are a glossy green during the growing season and change to a brilliant red-orange in the fall. It produces blue-black berries favored by birds. It grows in full sun to shade locations and will need attention to annual pruning in the spring to keep it from covering architectural features on structures. Cultivars to look for are 'Fenway Park', a golden leaved form of Boston ivy and 'Lowii' a very small leaved and slower growing form for small space gardens. 'Green Showers' offers lime-green foliage.
Climbing Hydrangea is an exceptional vine for both its foliage and flowering qualities. Foliage is glossy green with large (8-10 inches in diameter), fragrant, white, lacecap flowers produced in late June early July and are attractive to butterflies. Vine climbs by means of aerial roots and clings well to masonry. Very attractive peeling orange-brown bark for winter interest and color. Grows best in sun to light shade. May be slow to start flowering until it becomes established. Once established it is a vigorous growing vine reaching 40-50 feet. Prune in late winter to keep it under control. The cultivar 'Miranda' has attractive lime-green variegated foliage. It's flowers are smaller, and the vine also tends to be smaller.
As a group, honeysuckle vines are vigorous, twining vines growing from 10-20 feet tall. Most all offer fragrant flowers from June-July that are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Many also offer attractive foliage and berries. All benefit from heavy pruning in late winter to keep them from becoming overgrown and tangled and to maintain their foliage and flowering quality. Best in full sun locations but will tolerate shaded sites. It is suggested that Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) not be planted due to its invasive nature. Look for natives or interspecific hybrids as better choices. As a way to tell the Japanese honeysuckle from other honeysuckles look for the following features. With native honeysuckles flowers are borne at the tips of the stems followed by red or orange berries. The leaves are fused or united to form a "collar" around the stem. With Japanese honeysuckle flowers are borne in the leaf axils followed by purple-black berries. The leaves are not fused or united around the stem.
Perennial sweet pea is a vigorous vine growing 9-12 feet tall and attaching by tendrils. It does best in full sun and blooms July-August. It is drought tolerant and provides flowers in the heat of the summer when annual sweet peas fail. Flowers are fragrant and make good cut flowers. Perennial sweet pea will reseed and sucker freely in the garden. Prune very hard in early spring.
This wisteria is very similar to American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens). It is a twining vine growing to 20-25 feet and needs a very substantial support as it becomes a very large and heavy vine over time. It is less aggressive than some of the other wisteria. It produces long (8-12 inches) fragrant, pendant-like flowers in June with some rebloom late in the season. After flowering, long bean-like seed pods are produced. Prefers a sun location. Wisterias are slow to establish and even slower to start blooming. Three or more years is not uncommon. Failure to bloom is often linked to plants being too young, winter kill of flower buds, too much shade, overfertilization, or improper pruning. Pruning should be kept to a minimum, right after flowering or in late winter. Once established, plants do not like to be transplanted. ‘Blue Moon’ is a cultivar from Minnesota that has fragrant blue flowers and is extremely hardy. While American wisteria flowers are smaller (4-6 inches long) the cultivar ‘Amethyst Falls’ is a good garden selection.
Clematis is perhaps the most popular and most often planted perennial vine. The success with clematis starts with picking the right location, preparing the planting site, proper planting, and proper pruning. Clematis prefers a full sun to part shade location. A site that gets 4-5 hours of sun a day is suggested. The soil should be well drained and amended with ample amounts of organic matter. Prepare a planting site that is 18” X 18” X 18” in size and work in ample amounts of organic matter such as compost. Plants should be planted lower than they are growing in the container. It is suggested that the plants be set so the first two sets of leaf nodes are underground. This will encourage the plant to send up more stems resulting in a denser plant. Newly planted clematis should be pruned back to 12 inches in the spring following planting. Again, this will encourage a denser, fuller plant. Apply a 2-4 inch layer of mulch around the plant keeping it about 4-6 inches from the stem. This helps maintain cool soil temperatures that clematis prefer for best root growth. Pruning clematis has always seemed to be a mystery. It is based upon the blooming period for the variety. Clematis are divided into three pruning groups designated as group A, B, and C or sometimes 1, 2, and 3. Every clematis is put into one of these groups. Because you need to know the name of the clematis you have in order to prune correctly, you need to make sure you save the plant label that comes with the plant and somehow keep it with the plant or record the name of the clematis in your garden diary.
Group A clematis produce flowers from the mature growth that was produced last season. Light pruning to remove any dead stems and to neaten up the plant is all that is needed. Allow the plants to finish blooming in spring before you do any heavy pruning. This will put pruning into late spring or very early summer. This will allow enough time for the plant to produce new growth that will flower next season.
Group B clematis produce flowers on both old and new growth. The first flush of bloom is in early June with a repeat later in the season. Clematis in this group don’t need major pruning. When you do prune go slowly. Prune dead or weak growth and then lightly prune after the early flush of bloom. This helps to maximize blooming later in the year.
Group C clematis tolerate the most severe pruning as they produce flowers on the current seasons growth and tend to flower mid to late summer or very early fall. Many of these clematis benefit from very severe pruning in the spring. Cut back to 8-12 inches removing the tangled mass of stems produced last season. Doing this cleans up the plant and allows for many more vigorous shoots resulting in a fuller, cleaner plant covered with flowers.
Because of the extremely large numbers of good clematis varieties to choose from here is a sample of a few to consider:
While not a true hydrangea this vine produces lacecap hydrangea-like white blooms, 6-8 inches in diameter in July. Vine grows 20-25 feet tall and climbs by means of aerial roots. The attractive heart-shaped leaves take on a silvery, pewter appearance. Best in part to full shade. This vine is slow growing and may take a few years to flower. Prune in late winter. Reddish-brown stems offer winter interest.
A very fast growing, twining, herbaceous perennial vine growing to about 15-20 feet. This vine will die back to soil line each year so old growth needs to be pruned away prior to the start of spring growth. Produces attractive yellow-green cone shaped flower structures. Best in full sun to part shade. Hops have a tendency to produce suckers that can get into other areas of the garden. Cultivars to look for are 'Aureus' that has showy yellow foliage and 'Nugget' with very dark green foliage.
Screen with your porch with vines for privacy, or let them hide an unwanted view or add romance to an arbor. The right vine makes any garden special.
Wisteria’s fragrant, white or purple-blue racemes are stunning in spring. Give the deciduous vines a sturdy structure to hold their weight or let the flowers drape over an arbor. Wisterias grow 25 to 35 feet in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Some varieties are invasive, so check with your local extension service or garden center before you plant. 'Amethyst Falls' is a popular, non-invasive American wisteria (W. frutescens). It's hardy in USDA Zones 5-9.
Showy Carolina Jessamine ( Gelsemium sempervirens) is a twining vine that can grow to 20 feet. Its fragrant, yellow blooms open in late winter to early spring depending on where you garden, the plants may be evergreen or semi-evergreen. Give them full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. If you prefer, let the vines trail over the ground to cover a bank or slope. They're hardy in Zones 7-9.
The spring air smells sweet when honeysuckles (Lonicera periclymenum) open their white and yellow blooms. Hardy in Zones 4-9, these 8 to 10-foot climbers need full sun and average water and adapt well to most soils. 'Scentsation',’ shown here, is a non-invasive honeysuckle that’s lovely when trained on fences or trellises. Trim the vines, if you like, but pruning isn’t really necessary.
Bougainvilleas are tropicals with showy pink, yellow, red or salmon-orange bracts. They need support to climb a wall or other smooth surface, but wear gloves when you handle them to avoid their thorns. These vines grow best in slightly acidic soil on the dry side, and they’re drought tolerant once established. Give them full sun. They can reach 20 to 40 feet where they’re hardy (in Zones 9-11).
Dolichos lablab is an annual vine known as purple hyacinth bean plant. The vines tolerate most soils as long as they’re grown in full sun and have sturdy supports as they climb 10 to 15 feet high. Once established, they need little care to produce handsome, purple and violet blooms that eventually form reddish-purple pods. The pods mature to the size of lima beans and are used primarily as a forage crop.
Many gardeners plant red, white or pink mandevillas (Mandevilla spp.) around their mailboxes, but the plants are also lovely on trellises or spilling from baskets. The woody vines have tendrils, so they can attach themselves to structures. If you grow these tropicals as houseplants, give them bright indirect or filtered light. Let the soil dry slightly between waterings, and fertilize biweekly. Move them outside for the summer. This variety is 'SunParasol Apricot', which is hardy in Zones 10-11.
Their flowers may look exotic, but passionflowers (Passiflora) are fast-growing, undemanding vines, especially in warm climates. Give them full sun and let them dress up a pergola, fence or trellis. You'll find red, blue, pink, green, white, yellow or purple varieties that grow to 20 feet or more. The flowers are followed by fruits the fruits of some varieties are edible but don’t try them unless you know they are safe for human consumption. Hardy in zones 6-10.
Vigorous trumpet creeper vines (Campsis radicans) can grow 30 to 40 feet in a season and will wrap around supports in a garden or tree trunks in the wild. The plants can be invasive in some areas, so ask your local extension service about them before you plant. They thrive in full sun to part shade and soil that is moist and enriched with compost. Feed with an all-purpose fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks while they’re actively growing. Hardy in Zones 4-10.
For fall color, it’s hard to beat Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata). If given full to part sun, the leaves of this deciduous vine turn brilliant red, purple, orange and yellow. Water regularly you don’t need to fertilize if the soil is well-drained and loamy. This vine's flowers aren’t showy, but they form dark berries that attract birds. Use the fast-growing vines, which can reach 30 to 50 feet, as a ground cover or on strong supports. To hide a wall, train them on a freestanding support about a foot away because if they grow directly on a wall or fence, they're hard to remove and may cause damage. Prune as needed to control for size. Hardy in Zones 4-10.
'Red Wall’ and 'Yellow Wall’ are popular varieties of Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Like Boston ivy, this native vine has fast-growing, green foliage that takes on brilliant color in the fall. Plant it in part shade to shade and well-drained soil, and give it average water. The deciduous vines grow 20 to 30 feet and are hardy in Zones 3-9. As with Boston ivy, don’t plant them directly on a wall or fence let them climb a freestanding support instead.
Named for its calico-like markings, Calico Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia spp.) has mottled purple and white flowers and heart-shaped leaves. This Brazilian native drapes over porches and twines onto trellises and fences, maturing at 10 to 15 feet. The plants take full sun to partial shade and adapt to most well-drained soils. If you grow them in containers, give them a support to climb. Some gardeners say the flowers smell like bad meat (the odor attracts pollinating flies), but they also attract bees and birds and host the larvae of two butterfly species. Hardy in Zones 8-10.
You might overlook sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) for most of the growing season, but its small, white flowers catch the eye when they open in late summer and early fall. These fast-growing vines usually climb to the top of a support and form a mound of foliage and flowers there, so they won't completely cover a structure at the bottom. Let them ramble freely over fences, trellises or rocks in your landscape. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
Morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor) are fuss-free annuals with gorgeous flowers look for pink, sky-blue, white, purple, red, magenta and other colors. The vines have heart-shaped leaves and prefer full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. They'll grow quickly to 15 feet or more. They also self-sow easily, so mulch around them or pull any seedlings that pop up, if you don’t want more plants. Avoid over-fertilizing, which can encourage more leaves than blooms, but do water regularly. Train the plants on an arch, porch or fence. They climb by twining and grow best on narrow-diameter supports. Hardy in Zones 3-10.
Available in periwinkle blue, pink, white, burgundy, lavender and other colors, clematis are beloved for their beautiful flowers. These long-lived perennial vines climb by using their small leaf stems to coil around supports no larger than 1/4" in diameter. The plants need well-drained, rich, loamy soil where they’ll get full sun on their foliage and some shade around their roots. No plants nearby to shade them? Mulch to keep the roots cool instead. Various hybrids are hardy in Zones 3-11. 'Hakuba' is shown here.
If you’re looking for a vine that grows at a moderate pace, try hops (Humulus x lupulus). 'Summer Shandy’ is a popular variety that takes part sun to sun and average water it matures at just 5 to 10 feet. Grown primarily for its golden-yellow foliage, it bears yellow-green catkins with a piney-scent that attract butterflies. Train the deciduous vines on wires or strings in an herb garden, on a pergola or porch or in large containers. Hardy in Zones 5-9.
Five-leaf akebia (Akebia quinata), or chocolate vine, can shoot up 20 to 40 feet in a single season, so it’s great to use as a screen or as a groundcover to stabilize an eroding slope. This deciduous, twining plant adapts to sun or shade and prefers loamy, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. It’s invasive in some areas, so check with your local extension service before you plant, and prune the woody vines as needed to keep it in check — or grow it in a large container. Vanilla-scented flowers open in spring, followed by fruits. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Moonflower vines (Ipomoea alba), sometimes called moon vines, produce parasol-shaped buds that unfurl into five- to six-inch blossoms in the evenings. This morning glory relative is a vigorous, twining plant that takes full sun to partial shade, reaching 10 to 15 feet tall. Let the fragrant, creamy white flowers dress up a trellis, fence or porch. Hardy in Zones 8-11.
Bignonia capreolata, or crossvine, is native to the United States, so you may see it growing wild in the woods. This semi-evergreen to evergreen vine opens trumpet-shaped flowers that last for weeks. While the plants tolerate shade, they bloom better in full sun and moist, well-drained soil, 'Tangerine Beauty' is a popular variety with apricot-colored flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Feed the vines, which climb via tendrils to 30 feet or more, in early spring. Prune them and fertilize again after the flowers fade. Hardy in Zones 6-9.
I moved to Florida from zone 6 - I'm not aware of any 'evergreen' vines for zone 6. The zero and sometimes below zero temps will put all vines in dormancy, which means they die back to the ground in winter.
You might consider a close planting of several evergreen trees or tall grasses. Cedar trees grow fast, are dense and should fix your issue in a couple of years.
I don't know of any instant fix, except to extend the height of your existing fence - maybe use pallet boards, which are free and easy to take apart with a reciprocating saw and a nail-cutting blade. Home Depot sells a blade for a recip. saw, made specifically for taking apart pallets.
Good fences make good neighbors.
Buy a tall fence, you are the one with a barking dog, not them.
Beautiful year-round, this glossy-leaf vine is a blooming wonder in early spring.
Evergreen clematis flounces beautifully along the top of a garden wall, helping to soften harsh lines.
Mention clematis, and most immediately envision a frilly deciduous vine with masses of showy blossoms in a wide variety of colors. But there’s another type that doesn’t even look like a clematis, and unlike the others, remains green year-round.
Evergreen clematis, Clematis armandii, is a springtime showstopper in its own right with its unique finger-like, pointed leaves and small, creamy-white flowers that offer a faint vanilla scent. This species, named for 19th-century French plant collector Pere Armand, is native to China and hardy to zone 6.
Although its vines can extend up to 40 feet long or more, evergreen clematis has tendrils that allow it to grab structures and other plants, then drop down and flounce gracefully, rather than reach for the stars like other vines. Its dark green leaves point downward, too, adding to that weeping effect.
For those reasons, the vine is perfect for softening the top of fences or shrouding an archway. Just give it plenty of support with a strong arbor or trellis because with time the vine can become heavy. As it matures, evergreen clematis also becomes quite woody, with all its new growth forming at the top of the plant.
In moderate climates, this clematis blooms as early as late February — early to mid-spring elsewhere —and prefers full sun, though it will tolerate some shade. The clusters of star-shaped flowers typically are white, while other varieties offer pink, dark red and magenta blooms.
A fast grower, evergreen clematis has few enemies, but sometimes parts of the vine will turn brown and die for no apparent reason. And like other clematis, it can be struck by a disease known as clematis wilt, though that more often affects the larger-flowering varieties.
Here are two other evergreen vines to consider:
Star Jasmine: Trachelospermum jasminoides actually isn’t a true jasmine it just gets its name from the jasmine-like fragrance of its tiny white star-shaped flowers that bloom from mid-spring to early summer. With dark green glossy leaves, it grows up to 40 feet, is extremely drought-tolerant and hardy to zone 8. Like most flowering plants, it prefers full sun but will tolerate part shade. This vining plant must be trained, such as around the eaves of a porch otherwise, it will just form a bushy plant.
Carolina Jessamine: This fragrant evergreen vine, also known as yellow jessamine, is prized for its spectacular masses of bright yellow flowers in early spring and again in fall. Its leaves are small and nondescript, but the twining vine makes up for it with its explosive growth. Hardy to zone 6, it’s also highly heat-tolerant. Give it plenty of sun for best flowering and prune often to control growth. Carolina jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens, performs best along a fence, atop an arbor or against a trellis.
Evergreen vines are problem solvers in the garden and should be used more extensively. They are infinitely useful for many purposes.
Akebia quinata, fiveleaf akebia, Zones 4-8. Fiveleaf akebia is only semi-evergreen except in the warmer zones or mild winters still it is an attractive vine with bluish-green leaves and chocolate-scented purple flowers in spring. A vigorous vine, plant on a sturdy structure and prune to keep in check.
Bignonia capreolata, crossvine, Zones 6-9. This semi-evergreen to evergreen vine is native to the southeastern U.S. and has reddish to orange-red fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers with yellow inside. In the wild, this vine can reach 50-70', but can be kept in bounds under cultivation. New cultivars are emerging such as 'Dragon Lady,' all red and 'Tangerine Beauty,' all orange. Crossvine flowers best in full sun.
Clematis armandii, Armand clematis, Zones 7-10. This is fabulous evergreen vine for the warmer zones of the country. Elongated, leathery leaves are attractive all year and the plant is smothered in fragrant white flowers in spring. Very attractive to grow on a trellis or arbor. I have seen it used effectively trained to drape over arches, doorways or even garages. There is a pink flowered variety called 'Apple Blossom.'
Ficus pumila, climbing fig, Zone 7b-10. Ficus pumila, also known as Ficus repens, is a small-leaved woody vine related to the edible fig. With its fine texture, climbing fig makes an attractive covering to soften brick and other masonry surfaces.
Gelsemium sempervirens, Carolina jessamine, Zone 6-9. This beautiful native evergreen vine is synonymous with the South and usually begins blooming in February, but I've spotted a few of its bright yellow fragrant flowers popping out in January in mild winters.
Hedera canariensis, Algerian ivy, Zones 9-10. Algerian ivy, similar to English ivy but not as hardy, is popular ground cover vine for sea coasts in the warmer zones of the country.
Hedera helix, English ivy, Zone 4-9. A very familiar ground cover that is sometimes the only solution for heavy shade. However, it can become rampant and invasive, and looks rather jungle-y to me if allowed to climb to the tops of trees. Kept in check, though it makes a very attractive ground cover. Some of the variegated cultivars are really beautiful, such as 'Arnoldsville' below.
Hedera helix 'Arnoldsville'
Hydrangea integrifolia, evergreen climbing hydrangea, Zones 8-9. Hydrangea vines are beautiful choices for walls, arbors or pergolas. H. integrifolia has flowers similar to the lacecap type of H. macrophylla.
Hydrangea seemannii, Zones 8-10. Another evergreen hydrangea vine that also produces white lacecap type flower clusters in summer.
Jasmines: Evergreen or semi-evergreen depending on location.
Jasminum floridum, showy jasmine, Zones 8-10.
Jasminum humile, Italian jasmine or yellow jasmine, Zones 7b-9.
Jasminum nudiflorum, winter jasmine, Zones 6-10.
Jasminum officinale,, white jasmine, Zones 8-10.
Jasminum polyanthum, pink jasmine, Zones 8-10.
Jasminum primulinum (or mesnyi), primrose jasmine, Zones 8-10.
Lonicera sempervirens, trumpet honeysuckle, Zones 6-9. This is a charming semi-evergreen native vine with coral trumpet flowers that hummingbirds love. Lovely cultivars have been developed. 'Alabama Crimson' is shown below.
Lonicera sempervirens 'Alabama Crimson'
Rosa banksiae, Lady Banks' rose, Zones 7-8. Not really a vine, of course, but a climbing rose with long arching thornless canes that behaves like a vine, meaning it is very vigorous and needs space or good support (as on the arbor at the State Botanical Garden in Athens, GA below). It is quite spectacular and charming in the spring when it is covered in small white or yellow flowers. 'Lutea' is the double yellow form. 'Alba Plena,' the double white form, is a little more fragrant that 'Lutea,' with a scent reminiscent of violets.
Rosa laevigata, Cherokee rose, Zones 7-9. The Cherokee rose, the state flower of Georgia, is an evergreen rose with beautiful large, single white blooms in spring. Because of its thorns, it could be used effectively as an attractive, impenetrable hedge.
Smilax smallii, bamboo vine or Jackson vine, Zones 7-9. Unlike the awful common greenbrier, Smilax rotundifolia, with its sharp thorns and hard to eliminate nature, Smilax smallii is practically thornless and makes a handsome evergreen vine for a fence, trellis or arbor with its attractive dark green leaves. A southeastern U.S. native.
Trachelospermum jasminoides, star jasmine or Confederate jasmine, Zone 8-10. A very vigorous and enthusiastic evergreen vine that will soon wear out its welcome if not controlled, as it will reach out and engulf anything around--including chair legs, bird feeders and downspouts, as I learned from personal experience. But that said, it is certainly worth growing for its deliciously fragrant white flowers in spring if given proper (and strong) support such as a pergola or trellis.