The Four Types of Vines and Climbing Plants

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What sets a vine apart from shrubs, trees and your average perennial is their whip-like, flexible stems which cling, grip or twine around other plants, trees, and even structures to grow to incredible heights.

The types of vines start life close to the ground where it can get stepped on and otherwise abused, so it had to adapt to survive by developing ingenious devices to help them get off the forest floor and reach up to the sun.

What are the different types of vines?

There are four types of vines with their way of handling things, and each takes a different gardening approach for maximum use in the garden. These free-flowing stems can be trained to go where you want, either sprawling on the soil to form an excellent ground cover, flowing gracefully over the rim of a hanging basket or up on a trellis, giving height to the garden. Let’s take a look at these four different vine types.

Clematis Vines types of vines

Clematis Vines (Photo:


The twining vine includes Morning Glory, Hops, Wisteria, Honeysuckle, Jasmine and Scarlet Runner Bean among others. These vines encircle their stems around anything that gets in the way, from shrubs and trees to the poles and a trellis. They require no help to climb, although they need quite a bit of guidance to keep them in check otherwise they’ll ramble all over the place. These are great to cover a fence. They add charm to any home by climbing on a lamppost or trellis.


Clinging vines are pernicious of the bunch, or at least they can be. These include the Boston Ivy which covers all those New England buildings, hence the term Ivy League College. Boston Ivy also makes up the infamous Wrigley Field outfield wall where baseballs go to die for a ground rule double. Planted several decades ago the Ivy is reportedly 6 feet deep now. If an outfielder runs into that, he might never come back out. Vines can be scary.

Clinging vines grow little claw-like protrusions or tendrils with suction-cup-like disks which indeed cling desperately to brick, stone, tree trunks, poles, aluminum siding, heck, you name it! Some of the more popular varieties in this group include Trumpet vine, Climbing Hydrangea, and Virginia Creeper.


Vines which climb using tendrils are Passionflower, Clematis, Sweet Pea, Grape and Cup-and-Saucer among many others. These require thin poles or string to help them climb as the tendrils are rather small and curl only around things less than an inch in diameter in most cases.


The last group includes Rambling Roses and others with no other means of climbing or clinging except to kind of hook themselves onto other plants and go for a ride upward. Roses use thorns for this purpose, and it works quite well. There have been wild roses which get to the very top of telephone poles using their thorns to hook their way to the top. In the home garden, however, these plants would not likely have other plants to grow up with. Thus, the gardener has to provide support and help them out a bit. These need to be tied to a trellis or fence for them to grow vertically. Otherwise, they tend to sprawl on the ground.

The most important thing to know about vines is that they are quite beautiful in bloom and make great screens and covers for the trellis, arbor, and fences. They can be attractive for the home garden. They are rather versatile and easy to grow, but it’s their tenacity which should be admired. They are the consummate survivor, after all.

Best fast-growing flowering vines for your garden

If you’re putting together different species of plants for your new garden then we can definitely help you out. If you have limited space, go for climbing vines that are also flowering plants.  So, what types of vines hang and should be present in your garden? Continue reading to find out.


First on our list is the climbing Hydrangea plant. The beautiful flowers of this plant are enough reason already why it‘s on our list. Who would say no to planting this fast-growing vine? The hydrangea can grow up to 50 ft long and bores yellow flowers in fall and white during the summer.


As a nocturnal species of morning glory, you can see where the term “moonflower” came from. You can literally see its flowers open at dusk. Moonflower can grow up to 15th tall.

Orange Trumpet Vine

Orange trumpet vines are classified as deciduous woody vines which means that they shed their leaves annually. During summer, it will beautify your garden with salmon-colored flowers that usually attracts bees and butterflies.

Potato Vine

A potato vine is a type of evergreen vine that is fast-growing and very easy to care for. It grows very densely, plus its white flowers will make your garden even more beautiful.


Yes, you read that right. You can grow grapes right there in your home garden. Grapes are woody perennial vines that need to be planted in full sun. Grape varieties need annual pruning for healthy growth. In addition, wine grapes are perfect in northern climates.

Maintenance and Care

Vine gardening entails patience and energy. They need tweaking from time to time for healthy growth. These are some tips, tricks and safety measures when taking care of your precious vine plants.

  • Vines need lots of water, especially during dry season. On most days during the summer, regular watering is not enough. Soaking the roots of the vines with water is beneficial to them.
  • Annual vines need regular fertilizing so they can grow actively. However, be careful. Do not overfeed them with fertilizers.
  • Mulching vines have numerous advantages which include keeping the soil cool during summer, avoids fast changes in temperature, insulation against freeze and guarding the trunks of the vines against being destroyed by trimmers.
  • Pruning can help encourage the growth of new leaves and stems. Furthermore, it also promotes robust fruit production.
  • Keep an eye out for invasive vines. If left uncared, they can get very wiled and your garden will look messy.

  • Carefully consider what types of vines you will get. Remember that they will grow alongside each other. Like friends, they must get along if you want peace in your little environment.

    Carefully guide the vines into the   that you want them to follow

  • If ever you choose to tie or clip the vines, do so without tying or clipping them up too tightly. Obviously, this will make it hard for them to “breathe”.

  • Make sure that your garden is made of sturdy materials. You definitely do not want it to go down in pieces.

Final thoughts on Types of Vines and Climbing Plants

No matter the type of vine you go for, it always comes down to how you take care of it. Vine gardening or even gardening, in general, is a responsibility and a commitment. One might think that they are “just” plants but they also need to be tended to.


Glory Lennon

Glory writes about flower gardening and other gardening subjects in addition to her serial romance novels from the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, USDA Gardening Zone 5b

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