Types of Climbing Flowers
Climbing flowers can be trained over arbors, up trellises or along fences to add height and interest to a garden space. Some vines--such as Carolina jessamine--twine or twist around their support, while others such as sweet peas have long tendrils that wrap around their support. Flowering plants such as clematis cling to their support with rootlets or adhesive pads. Roses don't actually climb; they have long canes that have to be attached to their support.
Annual Climbing Flowers
Annual climbing flowers die after blooming, but they may reseed and grow new plants the next year. Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are old-fashioned climbing flowers with tendrils and fragrant white, pink or purple blooms in the spring. Black-eyed Susan vines climb, with bright orange flowers with black throats in the summer and fall. Mandevillas are tropical vines with large exotic blooms of red, pink or white in the summer and fall.
Perennial Climbing Flowers
Perennial climbing flowers return each year, although the vines may die back to the ground in the winter. Clematis are twining vines with white, pink or purple flowers that bloom in spring or summer, depending on the variety. Passionflower (Passiflora species) uses tendrils to climb its support, and blooms in summer with large, purple flowers. Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia durior) is a twining plant with unusual cupped mahogany and cream flowers in the spring.
Woody Climbing Plants
Woody climbing plants have thicker and harder vines than perennial climbing plants. Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) is an evergreen vine that twines around its support and has yellow flowers in the spring. Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala) is a clinging vine that blooms in June with white flowers. It's deciduous, but the reddish peeling bark adds winter interest to the garden. Wisteria is a deciduous twining vine that has purple flowers in early summer.
Because roses have to be attached to their support, they require more maintenance than other types of climbing flowers. Even so, roses are popular climbing flowers for fences and arbors. Some of the most common climbing roses are Lady Banks roses (Rosa banksia), the Memorial rose (Rosa wichuraniana) and the Cherokee rose (Rosa laevigata). There are numerous other cultivars of roses that can also be used as climbing flowers.