Climbing vines for shade, dress up dark spaces with spots of color!

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 that thrive in 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’ (different from the “Katsura tree“)
  • 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

Yet more options: fragrant clematis


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Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY-SA 2.0: Lee Canon, Wallace Howe, Steve Law
CC BY 2.0: Ashley Basil, Axel Kristinsson
Pixabay: Benjamin Failor, Eveline De Bruin
own work: Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois
JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University: Mark Weathington