Vertical gardening has a number of benefits. Vines can cover unsightly walls, add privacy, create interesting backdrops to other plants, maximize soil use in small areas and make gardens feel bigger by pulling the visual attention upward. Some vines, such as wisteria, take years of care before seeing results like those pictured in gardening magazines, but many others give multiple blooms soon after growing.
Annual vines are perfect choices for vertical container gardening or for spaces you wish to mix up year after year. Choose annual vines for mailbox gardens or to hide unsightly spaces. Annual vines are generally tendril growers, so they need spaces to wind around for support unlike some perennial vines that will attach themselves to walls or fences.
Check with your local full-service garden center or cooperative extension office for plant ideas that fit well in your soil and growing conditions in your particular growing zone. Some favorite annual vines that flower abundantly include morning glory, black-eyed Susan vine, nasturtium, moonflower, cardinal vine, sweet pea, scarlet runner bean and cup-and-saucer flower.
Perennial vines are best suited for areas where they can just take over and grow. Perennial vines usually either twine themselves around supports or cling to surfaces. Avoid planting clinging vines to structures such as frame buildings, as they tend to destroy wood after an extended period of time.
Some favorite twining bloomers include honeysuckle, clematis, jasmine, Virginia creeper and coral vine. Blooming clingers include trumpet vine, climbing hydrangea, Japanese hydrangea vine, cross vine and Cherokee rose.
Tropical vines are best suited for USDA growing zones 7 to 11 but may be grown as annuals in cooler climates. Avid bloomers such as bougainvillea and bleeding heart vines are favorites for their abundance of blooms and ease to grow. Other choices include vanilla orchid, gloriosa lily, firecracker vines, Madagascar jasmine and the dozens of Mandevilla cultivars.