Plant Cypress Vine for Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Updated: Apr. 09, 2021

The feathery foliage of cypress vine sets off the tiny star-shaped flowers, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden.

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Vines can be both a blessing and a curse in the garden. Given the right circumstances—a chain link fence to hide, for instance—an aggressive climbing vine can be exactly what the garden needs. Left to their own devices, though, vines can take over entirely, smothering everything around them and becoming a real nuisance that can be impossible to remove. Cypress vine shares some of the typical vine traits: fast-growing, far-reaching, and eager to spread. But the light feathery foliage rarely causes any real trouble, and the starry blooms draw hummingbirds and butterflies with plenty of sweet nectar. In most gardens, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives for this vining plant.

cypress-vineCourtesy Jill Staake

How to Grow Cypress Vine

Cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) is native to Central and South America. It has naturalized in many places around the world, including parts of the U.S., but only a few areas consider it an invasive species. Generally, cypress vine seems content to coexist alongside native plants without overwhelming or driving it out. (There are some exceptions, so contact your local county extension office if you have concerns before planting.)


Cypress vine is an annual that is easy to grow from seed. Seeds are readily available from several companies, with blooms in the standard red as well as white and pink. It germinates in only 4 days, and once it’s established in the garden will take off with great speed, growing up to 10 feet or more in a month or two. The little flowers begin to appear less than two months after planting. Give it plenty of sun and moist, well-drained soil for best flowering and growth.

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Cypress Vine Foliage

My favorite aspect of this vine is the feathery foliage, so different than many others. This gives the vine a light, airy feeling, and keeps it from taking over an area. Cypress vine is a nice way to use an ornamental trellis, since its smaller stature will still allow decorative elements to show through. I also like to see it entwined among other shrubbery, where the flowers add some unexpected color to a bank of green. The petite blossoms are packed with nectar, making it a standout for butterfly gardens and hummingbird lovers.

Check out more great vines for hummingbirds.