The Q&A Archives: Vines that grow in the shade

Question: We are trying to grow a vine over a trellis in a mostly shady corner. Are there any vines that thrive in the shade?

Answer: There are a few: Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subspecies petiolaris): This is an attractive deciduous vine with lace-cap like clusters of large white flowers in midsummer. Roots produced on stems will attach the plant to supports.

It can be slow to establish, but will grow 25 feet tall or more if it has a good wall or trellis to climb. It can, of course, be pruned to keep it smaller. It's a lovely climbing vine for shade, but will grow in sun too.

Five-leaf akebia (Akebia quinata): This is a fast-growing deciduous climbing vine for shade that will also do well in the sun. Has attractive glossy leaves and small purple flowers in mid-spring. It makes a terrific screen and will grow 30 to 40 feet if allowed to ramble.

Variegated porcelain vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata 'Elegans'): Hardy to zone 5, this vine has attractive green leaves that are variegated white and pink. Produces an abundance of porcelain-blue berries; the warmer the summer, the more fruit.

Or, Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), an evergreen vine often grown as a groundcover, will march right up a trellis in a shady spot.

Hope one of these works in your garden.

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