The Q&A Archives: Vines that will tolerate little to no sun at all

Question: Can you suggest a couple of options for vines that would thrive in a little to no shade location, self climbers if possible. Thanks

Answer: The title of your question reads no sun at all but the body of your message says no shade so I'm a little confused!

Here are some vines that grow well in Tucson and Phoenix, some for sun, some for shade:
The 'snail' in Snail Vine has nothing to do with its rate of growth. The ones I planted in the fall have topped an 8' fence and started back down. Full sun and apparently loving it. Also grows in full shade.

Hall's Honeysuckle: in the shade the blooms are skimpy; likes sun.

Bower vines (white and pink) full.

Passiflora Lavender Lady, morning sun, afternoon shade.

Passiflora alata Ruby Glow, morning sun, afternoon shade.

Purple Hyancinth Bean, full sun.

Wisteria, full sun. So feared in the Valley...yet so wonderful.

Mexican Flame Vine - WOW!

Petrea volubulis Purple Wreath, Queen's Wreath, Sandpaper Vine. Interesting sandy texture to leaves, beautiful lilac racemes. Needs partly shady conditions in Phx, needs at least biweekly water in the summer, monthly + in winter. Twines, needs support.

Cat's Claw, Macfadyena unguis-cati Often seen in full sun situations, can handle hot walls. Has bright yellow tubular blooms, will bloom near the newer ends. Grows from underground tubers that can be difficult to eradicate. Has "feet" that attach to anything. Very drought tolerant but invasive in wet areas.

Queen's Wreath Antigonon leptopus: Fast growing with regular water, deciduous, heart shaped leaves with red or pink blooms. Can take full sun situations.

Bougainvillea spp. Not actually a vine, but can be grown as one with proper pruning. Can also be grown as bush. Variety of bloom colors ranging from red, to hot pink, to white, purple and gold. Flowers are actually tiny, encased in the showy, papery bracts. Can take hot, dry situations once established. The more water it gets, the more leaves it gets - bracts appear generously on plants kept on the dry side. Care is needed when planting as the root ball is very fragile and barely tolerates transplanting. Needs trellising, has thorns and papery bracts shed quite a bit. Most species are not frost tolerant, but will regrow when weather warms.

Ficus pumila Climbing fig - most attractive when juvenile, leaves are small and round. More mature growth has larger leaves and can pull away from wall if not pruned. Best grown on the North side of buildings, will tolerate little sun. Will cling to walls, can remove paint! Inconspicuous, rare flowers.

Mascagnia macroterpa Takes full sun or part shade; loves the heat. Low water use- 1-2 times per month when growing. Needs trellising.

Yuca vine (Merremia aurea). This one has dark green leaves and huge brigh yellow flowers from late spring to fall. Sometimes it is nipped by frost in colder locations (below 25 degrees), but it comes back vigorously as soon as temperatures warm up. It grows at a moderate rate with twining stems to a mature size of about 10' x 10'.

Pink Trumpet Vine which is Podranea ricasoliana. (Sometimes this one is confused with Pandorea). I've grown this one at one home where it received western sun/reflected heat and another where it had a southern exposure and grew on a lath patio cover.

Another great choice is Lavender Orchid Vine (Mascagnia lilacina), which grows at a moderate rate with twining stems and produces purple flowers. Mature size is about 10 x 10.

Our native passion vine, Baja Passion Vine (Passiflora foetida) is perfect for our southwest landscapes. It has small but showy white and purple flowers and its gray-green leaves are very soft. This one might be a little harder to find but is worth the effort.

Best wishes with your new vines!

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