5 Sensational Flowering Vines for Warm Climates

Love them or hate them, no tropical garden is complete without those wild and crazy vines. They move on where they do not belong, require persistent pruning, consume more space than they are ever awarded and will swallow a drop in a week if given the opportunity, but we grow them for one very good reason — the flowers, obviously. Here are a few of the showiest flowering vines you will see from late summer through autumn.

Cape Honeysuckle
(Tecoma capensis)

You will love this sprawling and rambling vine (more of a shrub, really) because of its profusion of vibrant orange flowers and its fine evergreen foliage. As you can tell from the bee at the photo, pollinators love it hummingbirds especially. The flowers that cover the plant in the summer and autumn include a gold orange to a deep and dramatic red-orange, so buy a plant when it is in bloom so you receive the type that works for your landscape.

Cape honeysuckle produces a big and untidy bulk of prolifically blooming stems, but it may be trained to develop trellises if you help it along by tying the rambling stems loosely to their support. Use it as a ground cover big hillsides or to restrain erosion, but be ready to give it plenty of room. It will spread.

Gardeners in colder climates will also be in luck. As long as you are willing to give it an occasional trim, cape honeysuckle works nicely in the container garden and may be kept upright with the help of stakes or permitted to scramble over the pot’s edge.

Where it will grow: Hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zones 9 to 11; find your zone)
Water requirement: Low once established
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 6 to 2 feet
Seasonal interest: the largest flush of blooms is from late summer to fall.
When to plant: Spring through autumn

(Passiflora spp)

They come in all sorts of colours, ranging from the intense scarlet blooms of crimson passionflower (Passiflora miniata) into the pastel lemon passionflower (Passiflora citrinus) and white passionflower (Passiflora ‘Constance Elliott’). Not that passionflowers really need much else to warrant their use, but edible types — like the passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) and giant granadilla (Passiflora quadrangularis) — are delicious eaten out of hand, added to ice cream or juiced.

Passionflowers are invaluable host plants for butterflies, particularly the ones that are native to your region. Maypop is native to much of the eastern United States and has the bonus of producing edible fruits, and corky stem passionflower (Passiflora suberosa) is a fantastic selection for most of Florida. Another one to look for is incense passionflower (Passiflora ‘Incense’), that comes packed with a surprisingly strong odor.

They do not need much in the means of care, but passionflowers are ordinarily quite vigorous (some might use the word “weedy”) and might need to be heavily pruned or pulled up from time to time. In other words, if the butterfly caterpillars do not get to them first.

Red passionflower (Passiflora miniata) is among the more dramatic species offered and will occasionally bear fruit.

Where it will grow: Varies by species. Some are hardy to -10 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 6 to 11).
Water requirement: Typical
moderate requirement: Partial to full sun
Mature size: Varies, but maximum reach 6 to 8 feet
Seasonal interest: Summer through fall
When to plant: Spring through autumn

Gloriosa Lily
Gloriosa superba ‘Rothschildsiana’

This vining lily lookalike has flowers that are every bit as exotic looking as people of the passionflower, but with a twist. To start with of the flowers have twisted petals, and the blooms face down, looking much like comets or flickering flames as they switch from a light yellow to full-blown orange and crimson.

Plant the long and fleshy roots just as you’d bulbs, 2-3 inches beneath the soil surface from spring through the summer. Tropical gardeners and impatient gardeners in colder climates may add container-grown plants into the garden whenever freezes are not a problem.

Plant gloriosa lilies near a support such as a wire trellis or an informal shrub, so the distinctive tendril-like leaf ideas may grab a foothold. Resist the urge to prune errant stems, as doing this will kill back the whole stem into the ground and delay blooming.

Where it will grow: Hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 9 to 11)
Water requirement: Typical
moderate requirement: Partial to full sun
Mature size: Rambling blossom 4 to 6 feet long
Seasonal interest: Summer through fall
When to plant: Spring though summertime

Caution: All pieces of gloriosa lily are toxic if ingested, and handling the roots can be irritating to some, so plant it out of the reach of children and manage the roots using gloves as a precaution.

Pink Trumpet Vine
(Podranea ricasoliana)

Its cotton-candy-pink and trumpet-shaped blooms resemble those of the associated crossvine and trumpet creeper (that are also good choices too), but that South African native speaks in softer tones and ha finer foliage, which makes it ideal where a bit of subtlety is necessary. Oh, and did I mention it smells amazing?

Plant this one in the base of your tallest trellis, fence or pergola, since it has the potential to grow 20 feet tall when given the space. It’s also drought tolerant once established and requires little care if it is given enough room to roam freely. It might be suitable for containers, as long as you have pruning shears in the ready to keep it at scale.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

This pink trumpet vine is twining along a weapon.

Where it will grow: Hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 9 to 11)
Water requirement: Low
moderate requirement: Total sun; will require some color
Mature size: 15 to 20 feet
Seasonal interest: Flowers summer through autumn
When to plant: Spring through autumn where hardy

(Bougainvillea glabra)

Out of each of the vines in this ideabook, bougainvillea is the most frequent; it may be found in gardens everywhere from the shore of Florida to California, where it climbs scalp and stucco mansions. It naturally lends itself to Mediterranean design, with its muscular and winding woody trunks and rosy warm-hued blooms, or maybe it’s just because of its exceptional drought tolerance?

What most people consider that the flowers are actually papery and vibrant adapted leaf-like structures known as bracts that surround the real flowers, which are usually insignificant and white. The second most obvious characteristic is a bit more unpleasant, as the whole plant is generally armed with narrow and piercing thorns — certain to make any burglar’s day a memorable experience if it is planted along a wall.

Bougainvillea may be pruned back hard in spring, or you could remove the lower branches to reveal the twisting and fissured trunk for a piece of living sculpture. Just make certain to look but not touch.

Where it will grow: Hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 9 to 11)
Water requirement: Low
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: Up to 40 feet
Seasonal interest: Summer through fall
When to plant: Spring through autumn

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