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Vine Varieties

Great choices for Austin. By Matt Welch.

Annual and Tropical Blooming Vines (some may return in protected locations or after a mild winter):

Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) - This bushy, twining climber produces clusters of 2" orange somewhat daisy-like blooms throughout the summer. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Tends to stay somewhat compact rather than taking over an area. May return from roots some years. Full sun.

Cypress Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) – Small (1") red flowers and a canopy of feathery foliage somewhat like that of the cypress tree. Reseeds profusely. Full sun. Flowers attract hummingbirds. Sun to part shade. Its relative, Cardinal Climber (Ipomoea x multifida) is very similar except the foliage is less lacey. Also reseeds profusely.

Morning Glory (Ipomoea sp.) - Fast growing vine with large blooms in shades of blue, white and red. Mites can be a problem at times, but the gorgeous blooms are worth it. The moon vine (Ipomoea alba) is a close relative that blooms at night. Great for an outdoor deck area. Full sun.

Rangoon Creeper (Quisqualis indica) - This plant starts off as a 3' shrub then starts sending long vining shoots out and the plant becomes a vine. Produces large clusters of flared trumpet blooms which start out white and turn to red. May return from roots some years in a protected location. Full sun.

Hyacinth Bean (Dolichos lablab) - Fast growing bean vine with beautiful stalks of purple flowers over 12" long. Blooms begin to set seed in late summer and fall. Leaves are green with burgundy undersides, adding to the vine's appeal. Full sun.

Blue Butterfly Pea (Clitoria ternatea) - This is a "tame" vine that won't take over and thus is great for restricted areas. Its showy dark blue flowers with white centers are best viewed up close. Full sun to part shade.

Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia) - Several species of vines with unique pipeshaped blooms, best viewed up-close. Most are too cold tender to survive our winters. Fast growing. Full sun to part shade. Note: White-veined Dutchman's Pipevine (Aristolochia fimbriata) is perennial but since it spreads 2' or less is well suited either garden beds or to hanging baskets.

Perennial Vines:

-Coral Vine or Queen's Wreath (Antigonon leptopus) - Vivid pink clusters of delicate lace-like blooms that hang down like pink chains. Blooms from late summer to fall. Attracts pollinator insects like bumblebees. A white blooming form is also available. Full sun.

-Sky Flower (Thunbergia grandiflora) - Fast growing vine that covers an area quickly to provide a fast screen. Large blue flowers are a very attractive accent and appear late in the season. Attracts hummingbirds. Full sun.

-Passion Flower (Passiflora sp.) - several species offering blooms in various colors including red, blue or purple. Larval food source for Gulf Fritillary butterfly. Flowers are fascinating and complex. Best viewed up-close. Full sun.

-Desert Trumpet Vine or Pink Trumpet Vine (Podranea ricasoliana) - A sprawling arching plant that seems confused as to whether it wants to be a shrub or a vine. It may be trained to a post or trellis, or formed into an arching shrub with a light shearing in May and July. In late summer it begins to produce blooms similar in shape to its cousins Catalpa, Desert Willow and Yellow Bells Esperanza (Tecoma stans). The pink blooms with burgundy markings are borne in clusters at the terminal end of the shoots. The blooms continue to the first frost. Although its growth habit is woody, I list it as a perennial because it usually dies to the ground in winter. This plant is only marginally hardy in zone 8b so keep it mulched well for winter protection.

-Snail Vine (Vigna caracalla) - Pale purple blooms that curl around on themselves reminiscent of a snail's shell. Best viewed up-close. Full sun.

-Potato Vine (Solanum jasminoides) - Grows 10-15' bear Ing 1" star shaped light blue blooms in late winter through spring. A white blooming form is also available. It is hardy in zones 7-10 and does well in full sun to moderate shade. Its tame growth habit and shade tolerance open up new options for using vines in the landscape. Variegated Potato Vine (Solanum jasminoides 'Varegata') sports variegated green and yellow leaves and white blooms.

-Woody Vines:

-Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) - A running vine that is must be pruned to keep in a confined area. Coral blooms form clusters of tubular flowers. A yellow form is also available. Full sun to part shade. Full sun to part shade.

-Honeysuckle 'Pam's Pink' (Lonicera x americana 'Pam's Pink' ) - Gardeners familiar with the invasive growth of Japanese honeysuckle will appreciate the non-invasive habit of Pam's Pink, named after Texas rose rustler Pam Puryear. This vine bears wine and cream colored blooms. Not as prone to powdery mildew as most other honeysuckle varieties such as 'Gold Flame'.

-Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) - The native form sports rusty brown-red to yellow blooms. A dazzling variety 'Tangerine Beauty' is a show stopper with its tangerine to coral blooms. It blooms profusely in spring and sparsely later in the season. Full sun to part shade.

-Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans) - The "wild" version is often cursed as a rampant weedy vine. Newer cultivars like 'Madame Galen' & 'Georgia' offer larger blooms and have a place as a strong vine for a large arbor. Full sun to part shade.

-Wisteria (Wisteria sp.) - Several species and varieties are available. Long cascades of blue to purple flowers in spring. Looks great trained along the top of a fence.

-Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) - Evergreen vine that puts on spring show of trumpet shaped yellow blooms. Full sun to part shade. All parts of the plant are poisonous.

-Lady Banks Rose (Rosa banksiae) - Long arching thornless canes bear yellow blooms in spring. Needs lots of room to do its thing. Full sun. A lightly fragrant, white blooming form is also available.

-Yellow Butterfly Vine or Gallinita (Mascagnia macroptera) - Semi-deciduous vine named after the butterfly-shaped seed pods which form after the yellow clusters of flowers drop. Full sun. May freeze to ground some years. Give it plenty of room and support to sprawl as it is a vigorous grower.

-Sweet Autumn Clematis (C. ternifolia aka paniculata) - Most types of clematis are best left on the pages of seed catalogues if you garden in central Texas. Sweet autumn clematis is an exception adapting well to our climate as it sprawls in an unmannerly fashion over whatever support you provide. In late summer to early fall is explodes in a billowy white mass of quarter sized white blooms with a vanilla fragrance. For best results add a couple of inches of compost to the soil and maintain moderate moisture. Sun to part shade. The roots do best if shaded by a low growing groundcover or a blanket of mulch.

-Star or Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) - Better have plenty of room for it to grow as this vine can easily grow to 20 or more feet in good growing conditions. Not a true jasmine, but still has that wonderful jasmine-like fragrance when the 1" white blooms appear in late spring. Good for shading a west facing brick wall as it has the "holdfasts" that enable a vine to climb masonry structures. Just be ready to keep trimmed to prevent it from climbing onto wood exteriors.

-Madison Star Jasmine - A more cold-tolerant form of the popular climbing or spreading star jasmine. Glossy green leaves highlighted by clusters of incredibly fragrant creamy white flowers reminiscent of orange blossoms.

Limiting this listing to two dozen was a chore as there are so many that I left off the list that also deserve consideration. With so many wonderful choices there is truly a vine for every part of the landscape. Even apartment dwellers can use vines. A container set up against a porch pillar or beside a stair or balcony railing make a great home for several of our less vigorous vines. Take a look around your landscape. There are probably a number of places were a vine could serve you well to beautify, shade or screen a view.