The Q&A Archives: Need showy vine for west facing sun exposure fence...

Question: I am interested in planting a nice green flowering vine on the west facing fence in our back yard and would like to get it right the first time. We live in Chandler, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix) which is usually 5 to 6 degrees cooler that the downtown Phoenix temperature. This means though that we still reach the hot temperatures in the summer and we have a few hard freezes (down to about 28 degrees) several times in the winter. I have no problem covering frost tender plants on those cold occasions, but the real problem to me is finding something that will survive the blast of direct sun on a west facing wall in the Arizona summer.

I am interested in a Mandevilla or a Snail Vine, but would like your advice or alternate recommendations.

I look forward to your response!

Many thanks,


PS- I think that I'm in hardiness zone 9b?

Answer: Yes, a west wall is a demanding locale. The toughest vine for that spot is cat's claw. It blooms with yellow trumpet-shaped flowers in spring. It clings to the wall with tenacious little 3-pronged "claws" on its own, although it you wanted to later remove it, it can be difficult, and it "wears" on stucco over time. Yellow orchid vine (Mascagnia macroptera) is native to Mexico and takes full sun, minimal water and temperatures to 22 degrees. It blooms with yellow clusters of flowers from late spring to early summer. Yuca vine (Merremia aurea) is native to Baja and also takes full sun, minimal water and temps to 25. It has large morning glory-like yellow flowers from summer to fall. It is deciduous, dying back in winter, but regrows in spring. Both of these have twining tendrils that need something to grasp onto. I like my pink trumpet vine (Podranea ricasoliana), which is evergreen year around, and grows vigorously with strong, long whips of foliage. It needs something sturdy to support it along a wall, but it provides a very green lush appearance with minimal water. (All of these minimal waters mean once the plant is established, about a year after planting.) I like both the mandevilla and snail vine, but west walls are a bit much for them, in my opinion. They are also both heavier water users than these others. Of the two, snail vine would be better. I hope this info helps!

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