Favorite Vines for Backyard Flower Gardens

Create a beautiful backdrop in your backyard flower gardens by planting vines.

 Gardeners often focus on growing flowers in containers and in beds.  But, sometimes we forget that we can grow flowers on bare walls and fences by planting flowering vines.

Vines can transform a bare, ugly wall into a beautiful backdrop for our backyard flower gardens.

Here are a few favorite vines that you may consider adding to your garden:

Queen Anne’s Wreath is a lovely vine with heart-shaped leaves and delicate sprays of pink flowers.  This vine is drought-tolerant and grows well in zones 9 – 11.  It will die back to the ground in winter, when temperatures dip below freezing, but will grow back quickly.

Hardenbergia violacea vine
Purple Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia violaceae) in my backyard.

My backyard is enclosed by a block wall that I don’t particularly like to look at.  So, I like to grow vines up on them, like this Purple Lilac Vinewhich grows in zones 9 – 11.  In the middle of winter, purple, lilac-shaped flowers appear that last until early spring.  It does require a trellis for support.

Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Vines can be useful plants to grow in tight, narrow places.  This Confederate Jasmine thrives in shady spots and produces fragrant, white flowers in spring.  Hardy to zone 8, it can be grown in colder climates in containers and brought in winter.

Snail Vine Flower
Snail Vine or Corkscrew Vine (Vigna caracalla)

Snail vine has very interesting flowers, which were the inspiration behind their common name.  It does very well in zones 9 – 11 and requires a trellis for support.

Clematis growing in a small garden.

Clematis vines are famous for their large, beautiful flowers.  They require a trellis for support and will thrive in zones 3 – 9, depending on the variety.  It generally does not do well in hot climates (I speak from personal experience trying to grow Clematis).


Roses growing up along the wall at the University of South Carolina.

For those who love roses; why only plant lower-growing roses when you can also add climbing roses up along a wall?  Roses can survive in almost every climate.

Carolina Jessamine Vine
Carolina Jessamine Vine (Carolina jessamine)

Brighten up a wall with the sunny, yellow flowers of Carolina Jessamine.  The flowers are deliciously fragrant on this vine, which grows in zones 7 – 9.

Pink Trumpet Vine (Podranea ricasoliana)

Pink Trumpet Vine is also a favorite vine in my garden.  I have it growing up the pillar of my patio, above.  Despite its lush, green appearance, this vine is drought-tolerant. Hardy to zone 9 gardens, it can be grown as a vine or as a loose, sprawling shrub.

I loved the fragrant Wisteria growing at the University of Tennessee gardens when I visited last spring.

Wisteria is valued for its fragrant flowers that appear in spring.  It grows in zones 4 – 9, but it considered invasive in parts of the Southeast, so check with your nursery professional before adding one to your garden.

Pyracantha (Pyrachantha fortuneana)

While not truly a vine, Pyracantha is an upright-growing shrub that can be trained along walls.  Creamy white flowers are produced in spring, followed by red berries in the fall that birds just love.  It is said that the berries become fermented, which make the birds a little drunk.  Hardy to zone 7, Pyracantha handles climates that experience hot summers exceptionally well.

Purple Passion Flower (Passiflora x atropurpurea)

The flowers of Purple Passion Flower are truly stunning.  This vine enjoys warmer climates in zones 9 – 11.

Climbing rose growing up a tree for support.

Some vines require a trellis in order to grow upward.  Others can grow high without one, as long as they have a wall or other support, such as a tree to grow up on.

Snail Vine
Snail Vine covering up an ugly chain-link fence.

Vines can be extremely useful in providing privacy when allowed to grow onto a chain-link fence.  I have seen both Snail Vine and Carolina Jessamine transform an ugly chain-link fences.

Hardenbergia as groundcover
Purple Lilac Vine grown as a ground cover

While vines do a great job of growing up on walls and fences, many can also be used as groundcovers, like this Purple Lilac Vine.


When selecting a vine for your backyard flower garden, ask you local nursery professional the following questions:

– Is the vine considered invasive in your climate?

– Will it need a trellis, or can it climb without one?

– What type of exposure is best – full sun and/or shade?

 As spring approaches, step out into your garden for a moment and see where vines can create a beautiful backdrop to your backyard.

**For more information on vines, check out Birds & Blooms article, “Fast Growing Vines and Climbing Flowers”.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.