Among the large number of evergreen vines, here are a few of the best for shade structures:
Bougainvillea species and varieties (Bougainvillea; Hardy in Zone 10), once established, are fast growing to 15 to 25 feet. Bougainvillea desires supports that are sturdy and tying, despite its hooked spines and twining stems. Its blooms that are “ ” are actually bracts, appearing over the whole plant spring through fall. Varieties range between scarlet and magenta to orange yellow and white. Leaves are 2 to 3 inches in length, and compact. Prune heavily in springtime, thinning the vine and removing canes from the foundation. The roots are very fussy, so disturb them as little as possible. Great drainage and the sunniest, most popular place in the garden are required.
It climbs by tendrils but gains from tying onto a sturdy support. Masses of very aromatic, creamy, 2-inch flowers appear in spring. The plumelike seed constructions are ornamental in late summer. They create an attractive feel. Plant in light shade or in full sunlight with roots in shade. Evergreen clematis is especially appealing on pergolas, fence tops, arbors, and eaves.
Distictis buccinatoria, previously called Bignonia cherere (Blood Red Trumpet Vine), grows slowly in the beginning, then quickly to 30 feet. It climbs by tendrils that form strong disks, which are occasionally damaging to wood. Strong support is needed by it. The 4-inch trumpet flowers, marked with gold inside and at the base, flower in large clusters from May to November. Flowers open brick red, fading to purplish red. The leaves grow to 3 inches long, and are dark green and compact. Plant in full sunlight or partial shade. Prune in spring to remove weak stalks and stop matting.
It climbs by twining, and wants support that is tough. Masses of buttery yellow, fragrant tubular blooms, 1 1/2 inches long, start blossom for 2 to 4 months. and last in the spring, early late winter or The dense, attractive, shiny green leaves grow to 3 inches long. Prune to thin the vine only after blooming. Every part of the plant is extremely toxic to eat but safe to touch.
Hedera helix (English Ivy; Hardy to Zone 6) grows somewhat or immediately to 50 feet or higher. It climbs by roots that attach securely to rock, concrete, or wood. The dark green leaves are lobed, 2 to 4 inches long. Compact woody mats are formed by the vine. Because it can damage wood and is an aggressive grower, out into the garden as well as onto constructions, it isn’t a choice plant for shade structures. Its hardiness is its primary value. Plant in partial shade or shade, or sun in areas that are cool. Prune vigorously at any time. Many varieties are available.
It may reap the benefits of tying or weaving through constructions, and climbs by twining. Dense clusters of deep-rose buds open white and very fra¬grant in the springtime and summer, or occasionally through the year in warmest zones. The leaves split into five to seven leaflets, are attractive year-round. Plant in moderate shade to full sunlight. Thin and shape yearly, after flowering. Many other species of blooming jasmine are available regionally.
Lonicera hildebrandiana (Burmese Honeysuckle; Hardy to Zone 9) is fast growing to 20 feet or more. It’s slightly twining, but does best tied or woven onto a strong support. The exceptionally aromatic 7-inch tubular flowers open white, aging throughout summer, to gold or bronze. The 6-inch, polished leaves that are dark are beautiful year-round. Plant in sun, or partial shade in hottest places. Thin and form after blooming. Many other species of honeysuckle are regionally available, some fairly hardy.
Passiflora caerulea (Bluecrown Passionflower; Hardy to Zone 8 ) is semievergreen in colder places. It grows to 20 or 30 feet, attaching itself by tendrils. It does best on a lattice that is robust. Its fascinatingly complicated 3 to 4-inch flowers bloom in white, pinkish, or bluish purple throughout the summer. Leaves are five-lobed, blue-green above and gray-green below. Plant in full sun. It forms a heavy mat if not pruned severely and often. Many tropical species that is less hardy are available in warmest regions.
Rosa banksiae (Lady Banks’ Rose; Hardy to Zone 8 ) has evergreen, practically thornless branches that grow rapidly to 20 to 30 feet, requiring stalwart support and some tying. In coldest winters leaves are dropped by it. Its modest blossoms that are double blossom in big clusters from spring into summer. Both a yellow and a white type are available. The white form (’Alba Plena’) is aromatic. The glossy, dark-green leaflets develop to 2 inches. Plant in light color or full sun.
Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine, Confederate Jasmine; Hardy to Zone 9) grows slowly in the beginning, to 10 to 20 feet. It climbs by twining, and needs tying or weaving to your supporting structure. The small white flowers blossom in fragrant clusters in the late spring and summer. The waxy, dark green, 2 to 3-inch leaves are exceedingly attractive. Star jasmine requires full sun anywhere. Little pruning is needed, but prune to shape in fall. In popular regions, plant in some shade.