Flowering vines are commonly used as attractive coverings for fences, walls, arches and gazebos. Many popular flowering vines such as bougainvillea and confederate jasmine only thrive in tropical and subtropical climates. However, gardeners residing in zone 7 who wish to plant flowering vines have several enticing choices as well. Zone 7 includes much of North Carolina, Arkansas, southern Oklahoma, western South Carolina and eastern Virginia. It also extends across the northern parts of Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. Average annual minimum temperatures in this region range from 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a tenacious, perennial twining vine hardy from zones 4 to 10. Native to Japan, this species is now found growing wild throughout the United States. In warmer areas it tends to be evergreen, loosing its leaves annually in colder environs. Japanese honeysuckle bears soft green, slightly fuzzy leaves. Its trumpet-shaped, long-stamened flowers are white to soft yellow in color, sometimes with purplish hues. These fragrant flowers are rich in sweet nectar that attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. This vine grows best in full sun or partial shade; it will survive in full shade, although flower production will be drastically reduced. Any soil type ranging from dry sand to soggy mud is acceptable.
Autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora), also known as Japanese clematis, is a vigorous climbing vine in the buttercup family that's native to Japan. Hardy in growing zones 5 to 10, this plant is evergreen in warmer climates and deciduous in colder ones. Autumn clematis bears shiny, dark green, deeply veined leaves and abundant clusters of starry, white flowers that emit a fragrant perfume. Autumn clematis is lauded by gardeners as one of the easiest clematis species to cultivate. It prefers to have its roots in the shade and its foliage in the sun. During its first year of growth, it should be frequently trimmed to encourage growth and branching.
Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) is a climbing, woody, perennial, evergreen vine hardy in zones 6 to 9. This vine grows as long as 50 feet, bearing long, pointed, waxy green leaves. From March to May, showy red and yellow trumpet-shaped blossoms 2 inches in length emerge. These hummingbird-friendly flowers give way to 4- to 6-inch-long brown seed pods. Crossvine is indigenous to the eastern United States. It flourishes in either full sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soils.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), also known as purple passion vine and maypop, is a perennial climbing vine native to Bermuda and the eastern United States. It is hardy in zones 7 to 10. Growing to lengths of 25 feet, this singular vine produces large, deeply-lobed, deciduous green leaves. From April to September, vibrant purple 10-petaled blooms burst forth. These exquisite flowers give way to edible, orange-yellow fruits. The leaves and roots of this vine have been used as an herbal medicine to soothe nerves, cure earaches and ease inflammation.