All herb gardens have a spot where it would be nice to have something tall and colorful. This is where tropical flowering vines come in. Here’s a selection for Houston gardens.
Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) �This native vine grows happily in Zones 4-11. Clusters of orange to red trumpet shaped flowers appear through the summer and are a favorite of hummingbirds. Trumpet vine is aggressive and should be planted where it will have plenty of room to grow.
Clemantis (Clemantis sp.) There are dozens of varieties of clemantis on the market. Most of those in nurseries hail from China and Japan but there are two natives you may be able to find. White Virgin�s Bower (Clemantis ligusticifolia) is an inhabitant of moist places in the Western North America. Scarlet Clemantis (Clemantis texensis) is a hot climate red blooming plant.
Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) Readers who enjoy their garden in moonlight should definitely make room for a moonflower vine. Leaves are heart-shaped and 3-8 inches long. The fragrant white flowers appear in mid-summer to fall and can be six inches across. They bloom best after sundown when their fragrance can be enjoyed by the light of the moon.
Passion Vine (Passiflora alatocaeruleo) If you’d like something a little flamboyant on your fence or trellis then grow passion vine. It climbs by tendrils 20-30 feet and provides spectacular blooms during warm weather.
Queen’s Wreath (Petrea volubilis) For a regal touch to your garden, plant queen�s wreath, an evergreen vine native to the West Indies. It reaches 40 feet in the tropics but can be pruned to a much smaller size. The star shaped purple-blue flowers are small but appear in profuse trailing clusters several times a year during warm weather.
Cape Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) Seaside gardeners should definitely consider Cape Plumbago, a broadleaf evergreen winter hearty to Zone 8. It can withstand light salt drift from the ocean. Grow this native of coastal South Africa in full sun with fast draining soil. The flowers grow in clusters like phlox and are white to pale blue with a narrow throated trumpet shape.
Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata) Who could resist the cheerful appearance of a black-eyed Susan vine? The flowers are a flaring trumpet shape with a black throat and orange, yellow, or white spreading petals. The triangular three inch leaves set the blooms off nicely.
Corkscrew Vine (Vigna caracalla) No list of climbing vines would be complete without the corkscrew vine. It sports highly fragrant flowers that are purplish blue to white and somewhat resemble a corkscrewing seashell. The blooms appear in foot long clusters. In fall it sports seedpods resembling green beans.
Wisteria (Wisteria sp.) Of all the climbing vines, none evokes more romantic feelings than wisteria. The white to deep lavender flowers appear in April or May and are borne in large clusters resembling grapes in size and shape. Individual flowers resemble sweet peas in their shape and attract butterflies.