The best choice of a vine depends on the kind of fence it will cover. Twining vines are best for fences with gaps. Clinging vines are best for fences without gaps. You may also want to consider whether the vine will add features like fragrance or color to the fence.
Twining vines are best for open fences that have built-in vine support like chain-link fences, woven wire fences, picket fences, rail fences, and wrought-iron fences. These fences have gaps that act like trellises and can support vines with a twining habit. Vines that twine have stems or tendrils that coil around fence parts. For example, snail vine (Vigna caracalla) will twine rapidly around open fences, and it has lavender flowers with a unique spiral shape. Snail vine grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 10. Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) has cheerful orange flowers with black centers. It grows best in USDA zones 9b to 11. Both snail vine and black-eyed Susan vine are low-maintenance, vigorous growers that can cover a fence within a year.
Clinging vines are best for closed fences without built-in vine support like a typical urban wooden fence. Clinging vines have adhesive aerial rootlets or discs that attach directly to the fence's surface. For example, creeping fig (Ficus pumila) has small, dark green leaves that will cling tightly to a fence, giving a neat appearance. Creeping fig grows best in USDA zones 8 to 24. Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) is a little bushier than creeping fig or Boston ivy, and it has reddish-orange trumpet-shaped flowers that attract hummingbirds. It grows best in USDA zones 4b to 10a. Creeping fig grows more slowly than the vigorous trumpet creeper.
Some spreading vines add fragrance to your fence. Pink jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) produces highly fragrant, pale pink flowers in late winter and early spring. It grows best in USDA zones 5 to 9. Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) produces fragrant white, star-shaped flowers in summer and will bloom reliably, even in shade. It grows best in USDA zones 8 to 31. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) produces tubular flowers that have a light, sweet scent. It grows best in USDA zones 1 to 41. These three vining shrubs do not twine or attach themselves to fences. Their long, loose stems need to be trained onto a fence or trellis by hand. Star jasmine grows more slowly than the more vigorous pink jasmine and Japanese honeysuckle.
Some spreading vines add a pop of color to your fence. Blue morning glory (Ipomoea indica) is a twining vine, and it has large blue flowers that open in the morning, gradually turn purple, and close at sunset. It grows best in USDA zones 8 to 9. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is a clinging, deciduous vine, and it has large, light green leaves that will give a brilliant show of red and orange fall color. It grows best in USDA zones 1 to 24.
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Flowering Vines: Meet Some Clambering Shrubs that Appreciate Our Support.
- The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Science: Snail Vine
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Black-eyed Susan Vine
- Sunset: Ipomoea Indica
- Sunset: Ficus Pumila
- Sunset: Parthenocissus Tricuspidata
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Campsis Radicans Trumpetcreeper
- Sunset: Jasmimum Polyanthum
- Sunset: Trachelospermum Jasminoides
- Sunset: Lonicera Japonica
- Photo Credit Paul Katz/Valueline/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images