Vines: Perennial Plants Grown Overhead

Who ever said that your flower gardens had to stay on the ground? With vines coming in an amazing variety of shapes and colors, you should feel free to grow up. Trellises, pergolas and decorative archways are all asking to be adorned with vines and flowers.

Chocolate vine
If you love chocolate, this vine is a must-have for your garden. Named for its chocolate-y scent, chocolate vine can be grown as a semi-evergreen perennial plant in zones four through nine. Leaves divided into groupings of five and lilac or white flowers give the vine a soft, delicate appearance. Don’t let the gentle look of this plant fool you, though, regular pruning is required to keep chocolate vine at bay, as this plant can rapidly reach up to 30 feet.

Chocolate vine prefers partial shade and is drought resistant. Planting more than one of these perennials can yield edible seed pods that taste like tapioca pudding.

Hardy passion flower
Are you looking for a vine to add to your garden that is just full of pizzazz? For something that is truly unique, check out the hardy passion flower. This vine can be grown as a perennial flower in zones six through nine, reaching a height of up to eight feet. Its unique blooms may add a tropical flair to any garden, but the hardy passion flower is surprisingly native to North America. The hardy passion flower does best with full sun exposure and moist, well-draining soil. Keep your eyes open in late summer to harvest passion fruit that can either be eaten raw or made into jam!

The gulf fritillary butterfly uses the hardy passion flower’s leaves as a nursery for laying its eggs. If your passion flower is healthy, don’t worry about removing the caterpillars because it will re-grow its leaves fast enough to counteract the damage.

Type the words “wisteria” and “Japan” into any search engine and you will find images of beautiful tunnels draped in wisteria, looking as if the sky has begun to rain purple flowers. If you want to add an impressionist touch to your garden, wisteria planted over a pergola is the route you’ll want to go.

Reaching up to 30 feet, wisteria is ideal for growing over structures. Wisteria can be grown as a perennial flower in zones four through nine and comes in shades of white, blue and lilac. Look for varieties such as Blue Moon, Aunt Dee or Clara Mack, which are bred from a North American variety of wisteria rather than the Japanese variety. They will be hardier and less likely to take over your entire garden.