Climbing vines for shade

The following climbing vines for shade will do well in spots that don’t get a lot of sun. They do a great job covering fences or hiding unattractive views.

Boston ivy, Virginia creeping and climbing hydrangea are self-clinging, but the other vines need a structural support to grow over.

Good climbers for shade and part shade

climbing vines for shade - Boston ivy

Boston ivy in fall color
Photo: ©Y.Cunnington

Boston ivy and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus species): Both are deciduous climbers for shade that turn red in fall.

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), hardy from Zones 3 to 9, is extremely vigorous and can grow 10 feet a year when established, growing about 30 to 50 feet tall.

Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is hardy from Zones 4 to 8. It also grows vigorously and gets about as tall as Virginia creeper.

Both are self-clinging climbing vines for shade with suction cup holdfasts. Of these two climbers, Boston ivy is the less rampant grower, but Virginia creeper is hardier in cold weather regions.

Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subspecies petiolaris): This is an attractive deciduous vine with lace-cap like clusters of large white flowers in midsummer. Roots produced on stems will attach the plant to supports.

Hardy from Zones 4 to 8, it can be slow to establish, but will grow 25 feet tall or more if it has a good wall to climb. It can, of course, be pruned to keep it smaller. It’s a lovely climbing vine for shade, but will grow in sun too.

Five-leaf akebia (Akebia quinata): This is a fast-growing deciduous climbing vine for shade that will also do well in the sun. Hardy to Zones 5 to 8, it has attractive glossy leaves and small purple flowers in mid-spring. It makes a terrific screen and will grow 30 to 40 feet if allowed to ramble. Needs support for climbing.

Variegated porcelain vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata ‘Elegans’): Hardy to zone 5, this vine has attractive green leaves that are variegated white and pink. Produces an abundance of porcelain-blue berries; the warmer the summer, the more fruit. Needs support of wires or a trellis to climb.

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