One of the most popular climbing vines for sun is clematis, with many varieties boasting stunning flowers. Other favorites are wisteria and climbing roses.
The important point for all of these vines is that they get full sun. Some clematis varieties can take part shade, but be sure to plant them where they will get at least half a day of sunshine.
Vines for sun – clematis
Clematis cultivar ‘Dr Ruppel’
Large-flowered clematis hybrids, hardy from zone 4 to 8, are deciduous vines for sun that climb 8 to 12 feet using twining stems and tendrils.
Flowering time varies from late spring until frost, depending on the species or cultivar.
Clematis vines are available in a profusion of flower colors including white, blue, violet, purple, pink and red or bicolor.
Most prefer full sun – but some do well in part shade too – and loamy, moist but well-drained soil.
Pruning depends on the type – many types bloom on the current season’s growth and should be cut down almost to the ground in early spring just before new growth starts. Prune those that bloom on previous year’s growth immediately after flowering.
Pruning information should be on your plant tag, so be sure to hold onto it until you get your clematis care routine down.
More information: tips for choosing, planting and caring for clematis.
Vines for sun – Wisteria
Fragrant wisteria in bloom
Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis): Both are vigorous twining vines, hardy from zone 5 to 9, growing 25 to 30 feet.
Both types are loved for long dangling clusters of fragrant blue flowers in spring and have strong woody stems that need very sturdy support posts. The flowers of the Japanese type are longer than those of the Chinese type.
This vine needs a strong structure such as a pergola for support.
Wisteria grows best in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Do a mid-summer pruning of new growth back to about six inches of main stems and prune shoots again in late winter back to two or three buds.
Climbing vines for sun – climbing roses
Roses climbing an arbour
The term “climbing roses” is a bit misleading. Roses don’t climb the way that vines like clematis or wisteria do. They are simply rose varieties with long, arching canes that can grow about 10 feet tall.
Left to their own devices, these roses may grow into big, unmanageable shrubs, hooking their thorns into anything around, including unwary gardeners.
You can encourage them to climb by tying the canes to a support post or latticed trellis. (Wear long sleeves and leather gloves to protect from the thorns.)
Canadian rose breeders have developed hardy shrub roses named after famous explorers. Of the “Explorer” roses, the following make good climbers for sun: ‘John Cabot’ with its fragrant red double flowers, ‘Martin Frobisher’ with fragrant light pink flowers, and ‘William Baffin’, with deep pink, double flowers that aren’t scented.
These cultivars are hardy from Zones 3 to 10 and require full sun and rich soil. More information on growing roses.