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Flowering Vines for Ground Covers

Chances are that if you are growing vines they are growing up on a wall, fence or trellis. But many vines can be used as ground covers where they will suppress weeds, cover areas where bulbs are growing, and help control erosion just like any other ground cover. If the vine produces flowers, so much the better; you will provide splashes of color and perhaps even attract birds, bees, and butterflies.

The best vines for ground covers have dense foliage so they will cover the soil and create enough shade to inhibit weed growth. Here are five flowering vines that make good ground covers.

Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
A humming bird magnet trumpet creeper is a fast growing, deciduous wood vine that produces showy clusters of yellow to red tubular flowers over a long bloom season. The pinnately compound leaves are bright green and create a dense cover.

    Size: 40’
    Bloom Time: Summer to fall
    Light: Full sun; tolerates some shade with reduced flowering
    Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained
    Hardiness: Zones 6-10

Clematis (Clematis hybids)
The hybrid clamatis’ like ‘The President’ with their large-up turned flowers like the blue make stunning groundcovers, especially when they bloom. Make sure that their roots are kept cool in the shade

    Size: 6-12”
    Bloom Time: Spring followed by attractive seedheads
    Light: Full sun; some shade in hot climates desirable especially for blue cultivars and others that fade in full sun.
    Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained
    Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Silver Lace Vine (Fallapia baldschuanica)
Vigorous and fast growing, silver lace vine, produces a profusion of small creamy-white fragrant flowers over a long bloom time. The oval leaves emerge with a red tint but mature to bright green.

    Size: 15-25’
    Bloom Time: Mid-summer to fall
    Light: Full sun to part shade
    Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained but tolerates a range of soils and some drought once established.
    Hardiness: Zones 4-7

Five-Leaf Akebia (Akebia quinata)
This vigorous semi-evergreen vine features purple-brown flowers with a chocolate fragrance borne in groups of 3-5. The palmately compound leaves emerge with a purple tinge but mature to blue-green.

    Size: 20-40’
    Bloom Time: Spring
    Light: Part to full sun
    Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained
    Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Clusters of scarlet to orange-red trumpet shaped flowers are borne in late spring and continue into the summer. Hummingbirds and butterflies love them! The oval leaves are bluish green and persist in warm climates . Although the plant is vigorous it is not usually invasive like its fragrant relative.

    Size: 10-20’’
    Bloom Time:Spring through summer
    Light: Full sun
    Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained but tolerates less
    Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Vines pointerAll of these vines will grow up a structure, tree or shrub if given the chance and some will intrude into the lawn or other place where they are not wanted. Trumpet vine, akebia, and silver lace vine are particular vigorous in fertile soil and may need to be pruned back to keep them in bounds. If grown in lean soil they will be less intrusive. Clematis and trumpet honeysuckle are better behaved but, of course, do not cover the ground as quickly.

Recommended Reading:

Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space