Eight Climbing Plants for your Fence or Trellis

Kate Mitchell

May 9, 2023

Do you have an ugly fence that detracts from the beauty of your landscaping? Perhaps you are looking for a way to improve privacy, or to add shady spaces to your yard? Whether it's for aesthetic or practical purposes, there are plenty of choices for vines and climbers that thrive in our Florida climate.

Why vines?

Whether you're looking for verdant green foliage or colorful, fragrant blooms, a vine could be the answer. Although vines are sometimes considered difficult to manage, there are plenty of easy-care choices that won't try to take over your entire backyard.

Vines can be trained to grow up a fence or trellis. Many are also suitable to use as ground cover, or to grow in a container or hanging basket, where they can trail artistically over the edge.

You'll want to avoid invasive, quick-growing vines, as these may take over your yard and choke out the other plants you want to grow. Check out our list to find some beautiful, non-invasive vines and climbers that will add a splash of color and gorgeous texture to your outdoor space.

Bleeding Heart Vine

Delicate pink and white flowers hang from a dark green vine

Bleeding heart vine, or clerondron thomsoniae, with its profusion of dark green leaves and clusters of bright pink blooms, is an ideal choice to add shade or privacy to your yard. It can be planted in anything from full sun to partial shade, and grows quickly, especially in South Florida.

Bleeding heart vine does need plenty of space, so plant it near a fence or trellis and away from other plants that could get taken over. Make sure to prune regularly so this beautiful climbing plant grows where you want it to!


A hanging vine with dark green leaves and bright pink bracts

Another fast-growing vine, bougainvillea is a versatile tropical plant covered in colorful bracts - modified leaves that look like flowers and come in a variety of colors. It will happily climb fences and trellises, or you can plant a dwarf variety in a container or atop a wall, where its beautiful blooms will trail artistically.

Bougainvillea needs full sun to thrive and prefers slightly dry soil, so it's a great choice for a hot climate. Aggressive growth is not a problem as long as you keep it under control by cutting back or pinching off the new growth stems.

Carolina Jessamine

Close up of a delicate yellow flower

Carolina jessamine is a native vine which blooms in late winter to early spring. Its large yellow flowers add not only color but also a beautiful scent to your outdoor space and help to attract native pollinators.

Carolina jessamine can cope with some shade, but you'll see more of those beautiful yellow blooms if it's planted in full sun. It's not too hard to keep the growth under control, but make sure you plan out where you want this perennial vine to climb as shoots can reach up to 20 feet.

Coral Honeysuckle

Long, tubular, coral pink flowers hang from a honeysuckle vine

Coral honeysuckle, with its coral-pink blooms, is a native vine and makes an excellent choice for gardeners looking for a fragrant, climbing plant that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

This beautiful native honeysuckle vine should not be confused with the invasive Japanese honeysuckle, whose vigorous growth and tendency to take over has caused so many problems that it has been banned in some parts of North America! Fortunately, the two are easy to tell apart: Japanese honeysuckle has white flowers rather than red ones. If you find this invasive vine growing in your yard, be sure to remove all parts of the plant.


Close up of a pale pink flower with five large, pointed petals

Mandevilla produces lovely, trumpet-shaped blooms in a variety of colors ranging from red to pink to white. It loves the heat and blossoms even in the hot summer weather. However, as a tropical vine, it can die back in colder parts of Florida when the temperature gets down to freezing. To avoid this, plant in containers which can be brought inside during cold weather.

As with most vines, mandevilla grows quickly, but can be kept in check by regular pruning. Plant in full sun, where it can grow up a trellis or arbor, or allow the delicate stems to creep over the edges of a hanging basket. Your mandevilla needs well-drained soil and regular watering to thrive.

Passion Flower

An unusual flower with rings of pink, purple and green

Passion flower vines, with their stunning blooms, are a popular choice for an easy-to-grow climber. This native plant requires little attention, is hardy throughout Florida, and will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Because of its vigorous growth, passion flower will need regular pruning, but otherwise it requires little care.

Although it produces an edible fruit, it's not the same thing as a passion fruit and in fact does not taste very good - see our post on fruit trees if you want a bounty of fruits you can enjoy!

Petrea Vine

Masses of small, lavender purple flowers

Petrea, also known as queen's wreath, is a tropical plant which is native across much of South America. Its trailing purple blooms look a little like wisteria. Its stiff green leaves have a rough surface, which gives this beautiful climbing plant another alternative name: sandpaper vine.

Petrea can grow as tall as 30-40 feet if left unattended, but occasional pruning will allow you to keep it to the size you want. It prefers full sun, but can cope with some shade. It's tolerant to drought and wind, so shelter is not essential, although young plants need to be protected from frost until they are established.

Sky Vine

A bright green vine with elaborate purple and yellow flowers

Sky vine, with its mass of dark green foliage and trailing lavender blue flowers, is a great way to add privacy and beauty to your outdoor space. It typically climbs 10-12 feet and will grow quickly, especially in warmer climates.

Although sky vine is perennial in tropical areas, in places with cool winter temperatures it behaves as an annual. This can be helpful in preventing it from becoming invasive. In tropical regions it should be pruned when it stops blooming to keep it under control.


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