Level Up With Vines That Shine

Level Up With Vines That Shine

Not enough ground for your gardening goals? Go vertical with vines! These charismatic climbers will soften your garden's sight lines while adding an air of intrigue.

Whether you live in a massive home or petite cottage, sometimes there’s just not enough room to garden. What do you do when there isn’t enough space to fully express your green thumb? That’s easy. Go vertical!

Vines are a delightful way to green up your outdoor area and create your own secret garden. Here are some of my favorite vines.

Creeping Cucumber

You may have some difficulty finding this dainty vine in a nursery. Similar in appearance to English ivy, creeping cucumber have curly tendrils that grab onto anything and everything. They also grow a small, quarter-sized fruit that looks like, well, the world’s smallest cucumber. I wouldn't recommend eating it as the fruit is quite bitter. This plant is a gentle grower and makes a nice accent draping around your yard or patio.


Forever and always I will love passionflower. As a child I’d walk home from school and pass a home with a wall of its unruly vines. Not once did I fail to stop and smell the fragrant blooms. And the strange squiggly tendrils were such a delight, I loved to poke the antennas and get golden pollen on my finger. Now they evoke a sense of nostalgia for me. Passionflower is easy to grow in areas with dappled shade, a delight for those discouraged by a shaded yard or porch.

Encourage it to grow bushier by occasionally pinching off leaves to boost branching. Water when dry, but otherwise let them go wild in the ground or in a pot. In the winter, cut back to the roots. For more information about passionflower, check out this article.

Trumpet Creeper

Want a plant that will make your garden look so secretive people will want to flock to your yard for selfies? Say no more. Trumpet creeper is the plant for you. Aptly nicknamed hellvine, it’s a wild, unmanageable plant that “will grow out of your ears,” according to one of my colleagues. Being a fan of that look (and given that my plants are forever contained in pots), I accepted that challenge and I adore the hummingbird-friendly pink and yellow blooms trumpet creeper sports. However, this may not be the plant for you as this voracious vine will require regular pruning in the growing season. But it is a native so it requires minimal water.


Well-behaved with long tangerine blooms, crossvine has all the benefits of trumpet creeper without the hassle. Also, crossvine is semi-evergreen so if you use it for privacy along a fence line, it will somewhat maintain that function throughout the cooler months. Follow growing instructions for trumpet creeper, but reduce the maintenance stress by half.

Of course, your Fairy Godmother SAWS is here to help you transform your meager backyard into the enchanted landscape of your dreams with the WaterSaver Landscape Coupon and WaterSaver Patioscape Coupon. If you have irrigation system, remember to schedule a free consultation before you begin any project — you may be eligible for an irrigation design rebate.

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Sarah Gorton

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Sarah Gorton

Sarah Gorton is an intern with SAWS Conservation department. She is passionate about bats, having worked in wildlife rehabilitation, volunteering at Bracken Bat Cave and researching bats with acoustic monitors. Sarah has the greenest porch at her apartment complex and is slowly expanding her potted native plant jungle to the nearby sidewalks. Sarah is on a mission to enhance her native plant knowledge through Master Naturalist and Texas Native Plant Society certification courses. She can often be found hiking with her small dogs in large national parks to increase her collection of Junior Park Ranger badges.