11 Climbing Plants & Flowering Vines That Love Shade

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Brock Ingham
Brock Ingham

Climbing plants and flowering vines make the perfect addition to your lawn and garden, mainly because they attract common pollinators, but because they’re pleasing to the eye, as well. 

Whether you’re looking for vines that flower or hardy low light perennials, these plants are sure to spruce up your space.

POSTCARD SHADE VINES

Adding vines and climbing plants to my garden is something I truly enjoy. They not only provide visual interest, but also make it effortless to conceal any cosmetic flaws that I have yet to address. If placed properly they can even ad a bit of romance to your garden scape, especially when combined with these trees with heart shaped leaves.

Here’s a list of the top 11 climbing flowers and vines that grow in the shade and what you need to know on how to grow them best.

Colorful vines

Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)

Trumpet vines are very easy to grow. With their beautiful red flowers, this North American native can easily add character to your garden. Though it tolerates partial shade, it will grow best when exposed to full sign. 

Remember, the trumpet vine is a climber! So, to make sure it doesn’t take over your garden, regularly prune it in either the spring or winter to keep it contained. 

Botanical Name: Campsis radicans
Growth Rate: 10m tall and 2m wide
Native Range: North America
Hardiness Zones:5-9
Soil Needs: Moist, well-draining soil
Exposure:Partial shade or full sun 
Blooming Period:June-September
Water needs:Apply 1″ of water per week
Trumpet Vine Growing Guide Chart

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

With their thick, dark green leaves, English ivy traditionally grows on lawns, around trees, and on the sides of either a house or trellis. It’s a welcome addition to my garden as I let the vines creep around my raised beds.

One of the things that people love about this shade loving plant is that it can tolerate a lot of soil and weather conditions. Here’s some helpful information on how to take care of these shade loving vines and plants.

Botanical Name: Hedera helix
Growth Rate: Up to 32′ wide
Native Range: Asia and Europe
Hardiness Zones:5-11
Soil Needs: Loose, well-draining soil 
Exposure:Partial, bright, indirect sun and partial shade
Blooming Period:September – November
English Ivy Growing Guide Chart

Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

With its cluster of purple flowers, Chinese wisteria is the kind of plant you would see in a storybook. Though some of the flowers on this plant are edible, the rest of the plant isn’t. 

While you may you may be able to grow Chinese wisteria in shaded areas, it will reach it’s full potential in full sun. 

Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 years for this plant to fully grow once planted from seeds. But when it does, you’ll be glad you planted it. This plant definitely deserves a spot in your garden. 

Botanical Name: Wisteria sinensis
Growth Rate: Up to 10′ 
Native Range: China
Hardiness Zones:5-9
Soil Needs: Moist, sandy soil with excellent drainage
Exposure:Partial to full sun
Blooming Period:Early to mid spring
Chinese Wisteria Growing Guide Chart

Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris)

When in bloom, this hardy plant has beautiful white flowers. It’s also one of the most vigorous plants that love to climb, so be sure to give it something it can attach to. The best areas of your garden to plant climbing hydrangea include up against a fence or mailbox. 

A climbing hydrangea usually develops flowers in the spring, but don’t be surprised to see this climber bloom well into the fall, too.

Botanical Name: Hydrangea petiolaris
Growth Rate: Up to 50′ tall and up to 6′ wide
Native Range: Japan and Siberia
Hardiness Zones:4-9
Soil Needs: Moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure:Full sun or partial shade
Blooming Period:Late spring – late fall 
Climbing Hydrangea Growing Guide

Honeysuckle (Lonicera)

A honeysuckle plant develops interesting flowers that are very thin and long. In fact, these are flowers that look like fingers. Like most plants on this list, it is very low-maintenance and doesn’t require a lot of upkeep.

These are also very large plants and are able to grow up to 26 feet tall! This foliage prefers to be about in full sun and does not thrive in full shade.

If you’re looking to add pretty yellow flowers to your garden, check out the Honeysuckle! Here’s how you can take care of it: 

Botanical Name: Lonicera
Growth Rate: 13′ – 26′ tall
Native Range: United States
Hardiness Zones:5-9
Soil Needs: Well-draining soil with organic matter
Exposure:Full sun – Part Sun
Blooming Period:Spring – mid-summer
Climbing Hydrangea Growing Guide Chart

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

This vine grows beautifully on fences and the sides of houses. It’s a real showstopper, too!

This vigorous vine does well in shady areas and, for the most part, can handle any type of soil including neutral, acidic, and alkaline conditions. 

Botanical Name: Trachelospermum jasminoides
Growth Rate: 3-6′ tall
Native Range: Asia
Hardiness Zones:8-10
Soil Needs: Moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure:Partial shade to full sun 
Blooming Period:Spring-summer
Star Jasmine Growing Guide Chart

Snail Vine (Cochliasanthus caracalla)

When the plant matures, it produces pretty lilac-colored flowers that will add a lot of beauty to your garden. 

The great thing about this vine is that it is highly resistant to both pests and diseases. The only time it runs the risk of developing yellow leaves is if it is too exposed to sunlight and not properly hydrated.

If planted in full sunlight, you’ll need to water it more so it doesn’t die. 

Botanical Name: Cochliasanthus caracalla
Growth Rate: 15-20′ long
Native Range: South and Central America
Hardiness Zones:9-11
Soil Needs: Well-draining soil with organic matter
Exposure:Partial – full sun 
Blooming Period:Summer-fall
Snail Vine Growing Guide Chart

Yellow Passion Flower (Passiflora Lutea)

Are you thinking of adding some yellow passion flowers to your garden? This vine produces pretty yellow flowers that are likely to develop if the branches are hanging loose. 

These are shade-loving climbers that also do well in full sun. It commonly attracts pollinators, including bees and butterflies

Botanical Name: Passiflora Lutea
Growth Rate: 10-20′ long
Native Range: United States
Hardiness Zones:5-10
Soil Needs: Moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure:Either full sun or partial shade
Blooming Period:Late summer to fall 
Yellow Passion Flower Growing Guide Chart

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

I personally love pothos plants because of how easy they are to take care of. It doesn’t take much for this vine to grow. All it needs is loose, well-draining soil and indirect sunlight to flourish. 

What makes the pothos such a popular houseplant is that it does grow well in partial shade – and quickly! With the right conditions, it can grow up to 12″ longer per month.

This is a trailing plant, so feel free to have it in a planter that dangles from the ceiling or attached to your wall. You can expect it to grow anywhere from 4 to 30 feet (or more). 

Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
Growth Rate: Up to 12″ each month
Native Range: Solomon Islands
Hardiness Zones:11
Soil Needs: Loose, well-draining soil 
Exposure:Medium, indirect sunlight
Blooming Period:Grow between spring and summer
Pothos Growing Guide Chart

Bleeding Heart Vine (Clerodendrum thomsoniae)

Did you know that the bleeding heart vine got its name because of the flower’s small red center? This plant has flowers that hang down and look beautiful when they are grown up a trellis.

These vines love bright, direct sun because they are technically tropical plants but can handle shade without issues. You can expect to see these flowers from late spring and summer.

Here’s how to care for them: 

Botanical Name: Clerodendrum thomsoniae
Growth Rate: 10-15′ tall if grown outdoors
Native Range: West Africa
Hardiness Zones:9
Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining soil 
Exposure:Direct sun 
Blooming Period:Spring-summer
Bleeding Heart Vine Growing Guide Chart

Chocolate Vine (Akebia Quinata)

When these bloom, they produce the prettiest-shaped flowers that are a gorgeous mix between red, brown, and purple.

Believe it or not, it’s not the color these flowers come in that gives the chocolate vine its name; it actually has to do with the scent they produce, which smells like chocolate!

Grown best in hardiness zones 4 to 8, the chocolate vine does best when it has a mix of sun and shade. Since this is a climbing vine, it also does best when it has something to latch onto.

Botanical Name: Akebia Quinata
Growth Rate: 15-30′ long and 1-2′ wide
Native Range: Asia
Hardiness Zones:4-8
Soil Needs: Well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter
Exposure:Partial shade or full sun 
Blooming Period:Spring
Chocolate Vine Growing Guide Chart

Final Thoughts

This plant guide can help you find the perfect climbing plants for shade. Whether you reside in hardiness zones 3 to 10 or zones 6 to 8, there’s a perfect flowering vine for you.

With this guide, you’ll know all the top tips and tricks for taking care of them. 

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