Ideas & Inspiration
Know and Grow These Flowering Tropical Vines
Flowering tropical vines do double duty by enhancing privacy with their vigorous foliage and drenching the space with colorful blooms.
Compact varieties can be grown in containers and can be brought indoors to escape winter cold snaps or flooding rains. Vines such as mandevilla and bougainvillea are especially easy to grow in pots outfitted with a sturdy trellis. Compact varieties can be grown in containers and can be brought indoors to escape winter cold snaps or flooding rains.
The ideal site for a flowering vine provides shade for the roots while the plant’s top basks in the sun. In many home landscapes, this is near fences, on the edge of porches or any spot where part-day shade creates a dream home for tropical vines.
Learn more about growing our favorite flowering tropical vines.
Mandevilla, a variety of which is known as dipladenia, come in a range of warm colors and are easy to grow in containers, making them ideal to use as vertical accents near entryways or in outdoor living areas. These well-mannered climbers quickly twine their way up a trellis, so they make great vines for lamp posts or mailboxes. Mandevilla is winter hardy in zones 10 and 11. Learn more about hardiness zones.
Allamanda is the perfect vine for turning a plain fence into a privacy screen. Also called golden trumpet vine, allamanda stems need help finding their way up a trellis, but then they spread into a cascade of glossy leaves studded with fragrant yellow flowers that attract hummingbirds. It is winter hardy to zone 6.
Prune back established allamandas by half their size in early spring to shape them and control size. Wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when trimming back the vines because some people are allergic to allamanda sap. Use caution with this one if you have pets or young children, because all of this plant’s parts are considered poisonous when ingested.
Bougainvillea is another great container vine, due to the showy bracts that provide big bursts of color off and on all year. Some varieties sport variegated foliage. Pot-grown plants can be protected from freezing in a cool garage. Where cold damage is not a worry, long-lived bougainvillea vines can blanket a fence with color, and the thorny branches may deter intruders.
Star jasmine, sometimes called Confederate jasmine, has small star-shaped flowers that bloom from spring through summer. The vine can reach 20 inches and responds well to pruning.
Plant star jasmine in full sun, but if partial shade is what you have, give it a try. Well-drained soil rich with organic matter will give star jasmine the very best start.
After planting, add mulch, but keep it away from the stems. As the vine grows, gently weave the stems through the supports of a fence, arbor or trellis. If needed, tie stems to the support with plant ties. After flowering, pinch the tips of the stems. This promotes more branches and flowers.
Star jasmine is hardy to zone 8, with means it can handle an average minimum temperature of 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Learn more about hardiness zones.
- Choose a location that has a natural trellis, near a fence or post, or look for an arbor or trellis. Vines naturally grow vertically and need a structure for support, resulting in more blooms.
- Remove weeds, rocks, twigs and grass from your planting spot.
- Dig a hole twice as wide as, and a bit deeper than, the plant’s container.
- Mix some compost into the garden bed and add amendments if needed. If planting in a container, use a potting soil mixture with moisture control.
- Fill the hole in your garden bed with water and let it soak in. Fill your container with potting soil.
- Take the vine out of its pot and gently loosen the roots. Set the vine into the garden bed hole or container no deeper than it was already growing.
- Replace the soil and firm it down.
- Water the plant.
- Mulch around the plant, but keep mulch from resting against the stem.
Tip: To promote strong blooming, fertilize vines growing outdoors in spring and fall using a balanced organic or time-release fertilizer. Vines grown in pots benefit from monthly feeding with a liquid plant food.
Vines are the answer to almost any garden problem. If you’re looking to screen an unattractive view, try one of these flowering favorites. Need to fill a space with flowers and foliage in a hurry? Many are fast growers in hot weather. Learn more about these garden problem solvers.