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Vines for Shade

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Tall trees and buildings can create shade. Planting a shady location requires plants adapted to growing without direct sunlight and tolerant of shade.

Shade-tolerant vines can be used on the north side of buildings; they can also be grown on arbors, trellises, and fences under tall trees.

Many shade-tolerant vines are native to woodland regions where they have adapted to growing under the canopy of trees. These vines will do best in dappled shade, but most can grow in a full day of shade.

Choosing Vines for Shade

When choosing a vine for a shady location, answer the following: (1) will the vine grow and thrive in your region, growing zone? (2) what height and spread does the vine have? (3) will the vine self adhere to a trellis or surface–does it have tendrils or holdfasts, or will it require tying in place? (4) is the vine evergreen or deciduous; if it’s deciduous when will it lose its foliage? (5) does the vine flower?

Climbing hydrangea

Vines for Shade

A-I Common NameBotanical NameZones
Clematis, Large-FloweredClematis x hybrida3-9
Clematis, Sweet AutumnClematis ternifolia4-9
Cross, VineBignonia capreolata6-9
Honeysuckle, GoldflameLonicera x heckrotti4-9
Hydrangea, ClimbingHydrangea petiolaris4-7
Ivy, EnglishHedera helix5-9
Madagascar jasmine, Stephanotis floribunda
Madagascar jasmine, Stephanotis floribunda
Common NameBotanical NameZones
Jasmine MadagascarStephanotis floribunda 10-11
Jasmine, StarTrachelospermum jasminoides8-10
Silver Lace VinePolygonum aubertii4-9
Trumpet VineCampsis radicans4-9
Virginia CreeperParthenocissus quinquefolia4-9

Also of interest:

Shrubs and Trees that Withstand Shade

Annuals and Perennials for Shade

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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