Using Vines as Groundcover

Most of us are familiar with seeing vines growing up on a wall or fence. But, have you ever thought

Purple Lilac Vine growing on a wall.

Most of us are familiar with seeing vines growing up on a wall or fence.

But, have you ever thought of using them as a groundcover as well?

Vines growing as groundcover along golf course.

Years ago, when I worked as a horticulturist for golf courses, I was always wanting to try something new in the feature areas that lined the golf courses.  So one year, I planted Purple Lilac Vines (Hardenbergia violaceae) as a groundcover.

I must admit, that the results were better then I expected.  The vines did very well on the ground and we would trim them as needed to keep them from growing too large (for the Purple Lilac Vines, that was about twice a year). 

Purple Lilac Vine when not in flower.

Even when the vines weren’t covered with flowers, they still made an attractive groundcover.

Every three years, we would prune the vines back severely to about 1 ft, which would rejuvenate them.  In fact, the vines that I planted along the golf course are still there 11 years later.

Other vines that you can grow as a groundcover are

– Winter Jasmine  (zones 6 – 10)

– Sweet Potato Vines (grown as annual)

– Clematis (zones 7 – 11)

– Virginia Creeper (zones 3 – 9)

– Carolina Jessamine (zones 5 – 9)

– Trumpet Vine (zones 4 – 10)

– Confederate Jasmine (zones 8 – 10)

Before using vines as a groundcover, be aware that some can be invasive in areas with mild winters,.  So be sure to keep them under control by pruning as needed.

When purchasing flowering vines, you are most likely to find them in your nursery when they are in bloom.  Often, it can be hard to find them when they aren’t blooming.

So, next time you are faced with a bare area in your garden that needs a groundcover, try using your favorite vine instead….

Purple Lilac Vine growing in my garden (zones 9 - 11)

How about you?  Do you have any favorite vines you’d like to use as a groundcover?

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.