Climbing vines to cover a pergola with shade

Restaurant with a vine that provides shade on a pergola

Vines are perfect to dress up trellis, pergolas, wire fences and walls. Discover our selection of climbing plants for shade, whether it’s full shade or only part shade.

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Coral plant: clusters of red bellflowers

  • Name: Berberidopsis corallina
  • Lovely red berberidopsis corallina flowersAppeal: evergreen lanceolate foliage, thick and deep green, paired with surprising unique flowers. Small red bells hang down from above all summer long.
  • Blooming period: July to October
  • Hardiness: 14°F (-10°C)
  • Exposure: part shade
  • Soil: well-drained, rich, neutral to acidic

Climbing hydrangea: a generous vine

  • Name: Hydrangea petiolaris
  • Spotting flowers for hydrangeaAppeal: its large, light green leaves that shift to yellow hues in fall. In summer, large white, vapor-wave umbels release a delicate fragrance.
  • Blooming period: June to July
  • Hardiness: -4°F (-20°C)
  • Exposure: part shade, shade
  • Soil: cool, well-draining, humus-rich, neutral to acidic.

Ivy: a vintage vine that never grows old

  • Name: Hedera helix
  • Shiny ivy leavesAppeal: there are a great many ivy varieties, which gives you a broad panel of leaf types to choose from. Some are dark green, others are variegated with yellow or cream-colors spots. Leaves usually number 3-5 lobes, some are whole.
  • Blooming period: September to October (discrete flowers but birds love it)
  • Hardiness: -4°F (-20°C)
  • Exposure: part shade, shade
  • Soil: any type of soil, must drain normally

Honeysuckle: beautiful fragrant flowers

  • Name: Lonicera japonica
  • White blooming honeysuckle vineAppeal: very fragrant, honeysuckle flowers are tube-shaped with long stamens. Depending on the variety, blooms are yellow, orange, white or pink. Oval, tender green leaves will survive winter if it isn’t too harsh.
  • Blooming period: July to September
  • Hardiness: -4°F (-20°C)
  • Exposure: part shade
  • Soil: ordinary, drained, any pH level

Akebia: cute reddish flowers

  • Name: Akebia quinata
  • Four maroon red Akebia flowersAppeal: this species has a unique combination: golden yellow leaves that pair well with violet-red flowers. It bears both male and female flowers on the same stem, and can produce fruits over the summer: small purple berries.
  • Blooming period: April to May
  • Hardiness: 5°F (-15°C)
  • Exposure: sun, part sun
  • Soil: rich and draining

Virginia creeper: flamboyant leaves in fall

  • Name: Parthenocissus quinquefolia ‘Engelmannii’
  • Virginia creeper is deciduous and will provide shade in summerAppeal: this is an original choice, what with the large, five-fingered leaves that this creeper vine displays. Leaves have marked veins, serrated edges, and the lush green turns into fiery red hues in fall.
  • Blooming period: July to August
  • Hardiness: -4°F (-20°C)
  • Exposure: sun, part sun, shade
  • Soil: ordinary, deep, soft

Japanese Kadsura: a variegated climber

  • Name: Kadsura japonica ‘Fukurin’
  • Japanese kadsura Fukurin leavesOrnamental appeal: what makes this climbing vine one-of-a-kind is its variegated foliage. With a mix of green and white, it doubles as a beautiful evergreen. Not so amazing are its small cream-white flowers, but they’re deliciously scented. They mature into small, bright red berries.
  • Blooming period: June to August
  • Hardiness: 14°F (-10°C)
  • Exposure: part shade, shade
  • Soil: rich, cool, well-draining, neutral to acidic

Climbing Fuchsia: a vine with power-packed flowers

  • Name: Fuchsia Lady ‘Boothby’
  • Fuschia Boothby varietyAppeal: this particular fuchsia variety won’t go unnoticed with its bright pink and violet double flowers. Each cute, ballerina-like bloom is about 2 inches across (5 cm). Leaves are ovate, tender green, and fall to the ground in winter.
  • Blooming period: July to September
  • Hardiness: 14°F (-10°C)
  • Exposure: part shade
  • Soil: rich, cool, well-draining, neutral to acidic

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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Vine crawling over a pergola by Lee Canon under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Flowers like red bells by Ashley Basil under © CC BY 2.0
White hydrangea panicle by Wallace Howe under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Ivy by Axel Kristinsson under © CC BY 2.0
White honeysuckle flowers by Benjamin Failor under Pixabay license
Maroon flowers by Eveline De Bruin under Pixabay license
Virginia creeper for shade by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Variegated vine by Mark Weathington for the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University
Fuchsia, hanging by Steve Law under © CC BY-SA 2.0