The Q&A Archives: Vines for Southern California

Question: I need to specify a perennial evergreen vine for Palm Springs, CA which will be in full shade. Would like it to reach 20-30ft tall, mostly a foilage effect, flower not important. Please send all plants which meet these criteria.
Thank you

Answer: Here are a few suggestions for you:

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine) - The most widely grown evergreen vine in the southeastern U. S. and extremely popular in nursery trade. Native to the southeast (Virginia to Guatamala) and the state flower of South Carolina. Entire simple leaves with bright yellow fragrant flowers in early spring. Climbs by twining stems. The double-flowered form, 'Pride of Augusta', is the most popular.

Akebia quinata 'Shirobana' (White-Flowered Chocolate Vine)- The species is a vigorous deciduous vine with 5-leaflet compound foliage, purple flowers and fruit. Climbs by twining stems. This Japanese cultivar has white fragrant flowers and white fruit, and is more evergreen to semi-evergreen in zones 8-9 than the other species and cultivars. Blooms early in spring with very showy ornamental flowers.

Bignonia capreolata (Cross Vine) - Native throughout the southeastern U. S. and introduced to Europe in 1653. Has 2-leaflet compound foliage with yellowish orange tubular flowers with darker orange-red exterior. Climbs by twining leaf tendrils and will cling to wood surfaces.

Clematis armandii (Armand's Clematis) - Native to central and west China and introduced to the U.S. in 1900. Has 3-leaflet compound foliage with fragrant creamy-white flowers in early spring. There are pink ('Apple Blossom' and 'Hendersoni Rubra') and white ('Snowdrift') cultivars. Climbs by twining growth and a vigorous and spectacular plant when well-established.

Lonicera sempervirens (Evergreen Honeysuckle) - Native throughout the southeastern U. S. and introduced to Europe as an ornamental as early as 1656. Spring flowering with orange-scarlet flowers. Climbs by twining stems. Several useful forms exist including a botanical form, L. sempervirens f. sulphurea which is yellow flowered and 'Cedar Lane'which is a showy coral red selection.

Millettia reticulata (Evergreen Wisteria) - Native to China and grown commercially in southern California. The compound foliage superficially resembles wisteria with thicker texture, darker green color and rounded leaflet tips. Purple flowers are borne sporadically through the summer.

Hope one of these suggestions is just the right plant!

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