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University of Illinois Extension
Vines: Climbers & Twiners

Annual Flowering Vines

There are many annual flowering vines to choose from that can offer quick, colorful, temporary cover for garden structures. All of these vines are easy to grow from seed and can be started indoors 4-6 weeks before they are needed for the garden. Because many of them are tender, it is suggested that they be put out after all danger of frost is past and soils are warm. Most annual vines attach themselves by either twinning or with tendrils so chain-link fences, wire, or thin strips of wood make good supports.


Morning Glory

Morning Glory - Ipomoea tricolor

A vigorous and easy vine to grow from seed either started indoors or direct sown in the garden. Seed will germinate quickly if soaked in water for 24 hours prior to planting. Will quickly cover structures. Does best in full sun location and in soils where fertility is kept to a minimum. Many colors to choose from ranging from blue, white, red and bicolor. Flowers open in morning and fade by evening. Will reseed heavily. Many cultivars to choose from. Interesting variegated foliage forms available such as 'Good Morning' series and 'Cameo Elegance'.


Spanish Flag/Mina Lobata

Spanish Flag/Mina Lobata - Ipomoea lobata

A vigorous vine with unique trifoliate leaves and multicolored flowers of yellow and red. Continuous flowering all summer in a full sun location. A morning glory relative.


Moonflower

Moonflower - Ipomoea alba

A large-leaved vine growing to 12-15 feet. Large white flowers start out as twisted buds and open toward late afternoon and evening. Very fragrant. Because this vine needs a long growing season it is best to start seeds indoors and transplant when weather is warm. It does best in a full sun location with ample moisture and fertility. Spectacular vine for the evening garden. Another morning glory relative.


Cypress Vine

Cypress Vine - Ipomea quamoclit

Small vine growing to 6-10 feet with very fine textured fern-like foliage. Crimson tubular red flowers that attract hummingbirds. Flowers tend to close in direct sun and are open in early morning and toward sundown. Best in full sun location.


Hyacinth Bean

Hyacinth Bean - Dolichos lablab

A vigorous vine growing to 30 feet. Large purple veined leaves with burgundy stems. Wisteria-like purple to white flowers followed by flat, glossy red pods. Soak seeds overnight in warm water prior to sowing seeds for quicker germination. Prefers a full sun location.


Scarlet Runner Bean

Scarlet Runner Bean - Phaseolus coccineus

Vine growing to 20 feet with bright green leaves and sprays of flame red pea-like flowers. Pods that form after flowering may grow to 12 inches long and turn a black mottled color with purple highlights. Pods are edible if harvested when only 2-3 inches long. Prefers a full sun location and moisture for best appearance.


Black-eyed Susan Vine

Black-eyed Susan Vine - Thunbergia alata

A small vine growing to 6-8 feet and good for climbing trellises or in hanging baskets. Easy from direct sown seed. Flower colors range from white to orange to red with very dark to black centers. They tend to prefer and do better in a cooler location that provides them with a little bit of partial shade. Continuous bloomer. Look for 'Susie Orange', 'Susie Yellow' and 'Arizona Dark Red'.


Love-in-a-Puff Vine

Love-in-a-Puff Vine - Cardiospermum halicacabum

An interesting and fun vine to grow in a sunny location. Vine grows to 8-10 feet. Interesting foliage and small, white insignificant flowers followed by puff ball like fruit containing seeds with heart-shaped markings on them.


Gourds

Gourds - Cucurbita pepo

Easy to grow vines producing ornamental fruit that can be used fresh or dried for decoration. Sizes shapes and colors are very interesting. Plant in full sun and after all danger of frost is past in warm soil. Many will need a substantial support to carry the fruit load.


Passion Flower

Passion Flower - Passiflora sp.

A tropical vine that can easily be grown in a large container with a substantial support. Plant prefers a full sun location and will produce exotic flowers in a variety of colors. Usually purchased as small plants from garden centers. At the end of the season and before frost vine can be brought into a cool, dark location and overwintered as a dormant plant. Cut back in spring and set out when weather warms. Does best with ample moisture and fertility.


Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea - Bougainvillea spectabilis

A tropical vine that is best used as a container vine trained on a trellis or as a hanging basket plant. The colorful papery blooms are actually colored leaves called bracts. Plants prefer full sun and moist well drained soil. They also flower better when they become pot bound so don't repot too frequent and when it is done be careful not to damage the roots. Can be overwintered as a dormant plant in a cool, dry location. Before growth starts in spring prune back to control growth.