Climbing Vine


What kind of vine would you suggest to be planted adjacent to a pergola but near a 30 year old curly willow? I have tried the following: climbing hydrangea, trumpet vine, Halls honeysuckle but all have died. The location is north west of the curly willow but in shade. My shade plants such as Boneset and Ligualaria seem to do well in this location. Thanks


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.  From the information that you have provided it seems you have a shady, relatively moist site for your vine.  Both Trumpet Vine and Halls Honeysuckle may have grown better with more sun. Climbing Hydrangea typically grows well in shady sites and is one vine you may want to try again as it has both lovely foliage and showy flowers.  Many flowering vines prefer some sun so may not be suitable for the location in your garden. Whichever vine you choose, keep it watered well until established.

Here is a list of a few suggestions for your site.

Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’ or Japanese Hydrangea Vine.

This is not a true hydrangea, but has blooms that are similar to Lacecap Hydrangea and heart shaped leaves. It grows well in part to full shade.  The vine is slow growing and may take some time to establish. It will eventually grow up to 20-30 feet clinging by aerial roots.

Aristolochia macrophylla or Dutchman’s pipe

This deciduous, woody vine is native to eastern North America typically growing in rich moist woods.  The glossy, deep green, large, heart-shaped leaves can quickly cover a trellis or pergola.  The unusual flowers are often hidden by the dense foliage.

Ampelopsis brevipedunculata ‘Elegans’ or Variegated porcelain vine
This vine is vigorous, growing by tendrils and is similar in habit to wild grape vines.  It will grow 15-25 feet and is well-suited to growing on structures. The vine adapts well to most soils other than ones that are too wet or poorly drained.  The leaves have 3 lobes that are variegated with white and there are greenish flowers that are not particularly showy appearing in July.  In fall there are oval pale lilac-blue fruits that are attractive to birds.  In your shady spot, the flower and fruit production may be somewhat limited. This vine can become invasive.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia or Virginia creeper

Although this vine does not flower it is a hardy North American native plant suitable for a trellis with very attractive red fall foliage.  The blue-black fruit attracts birds.  The vine does well in shade and fairly moist soil.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia var. engelmannii or Engelman’s ivy

Another form of Virginia Creeper that has smaller leaves, but similar characteristics to the one immediately above.


You may also want to consult this list of vines from Landscape Ontario.