Flowering vines growing across the top of a pergola provide shade for the seating area below. Choose from perennial vines that tend to become woody and heavy after years of growth, or annual vines that require removal and replanting each spring. Twining vines, which have wrapping stems, or clinging vines, which have root-like growths, are the best choice for a pergola.
Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris) is capable of reaching 50 feet in length. A versatile plant, climbing hydrangea can grow in most soil types and in sun or shade. This slow-growing perennial vine produces 3-inch dark leaves that provide a nice background to the creamy white blooms that appear in the summer. Plant climbing hydrangea in USDA zones 5 to 8.
Wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya) is hardy as far north as USDA zone 4 and grows in full sun. The pendulous bluish-purple blooms grow from the previous year’s woody stems. Blooms will not appear until the wisteria plant is established, which may be two to three years. Wisteria grows about 8 feet each year.
Moonflower (Pomoea alba) is an annual vine that produces white flowers up to 6 inches across. As the name might suggest, the buds open at dusk. Moonflower can grow up to 10 feet long. This fast-growing twining vine can be planted from seed in early spring in a full sun to part sun location. In warmer USDA zones, like 9 through 11, moonflower may return each year like a perennial.
Black-eyed Susan Vine
Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) can quickly reach its 6 to 8-foot maximum length. Small yellow, orange or white blooms display dark centers. Black-eyed Susan grows well from spring-planted seeds. This twining vine is considered an annual though it may return in warmer climates, like southern USDA zones 9 through 11.
Clematis (Clematis armandii) produces an array of fragrant star-shaped blooms of white on the previous year’s woody stems. The vine continues to bloom for about one month. In USDA zone 8 though 10, clematis armandii is an evergreen perennial vine with 3-inch long leaves. The vine can reach a length of 20 to 30 feet.
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