Close this search box.

Vines rising—10 great options for Bay Area landscapes

Vines rising for Bay Area landscapes | Pacific Nurseries
Fortunately, this winter has delivered generous amounts of much-needed rain to our drought-stressed Bay Area.

As a result according to state parks officials, both you and your customers will be rewarded with a blossoming spring season—especially with many attractive Vines rising to the occasion.

For challenging landscape areas, vines rise to the rescue

Vines provide many unique features and benefits when thoughtfully integrated into a Bay Area landscape. Some of these include:
  • Ideal for vertical locations
  • Softens structures + hardscapes
  • Transforms challenging areas
  • Provides shade + cooling
  • Creates living screen
  • Reduces erosion
  • Inhibits weed growth
What’s more, flowering vines attract essential pollinators and beneficial insects that can improve landscape health and foster sustainable ecosystems. Some vine plants even produce edible fruits or vegetables.

Vines also enable distinctive landscape designs by providing added height and dimension to a garden. By covering walls, fences, or unsightly structural elements that need masking or softening with foliage, they provide green options that traditional trees or shrubs just can’t match.

And when vines are strategically placed with appropriate functional structural supports, they cool areas that receive a lot of direct sun with shade or dappled light. With a thoughtful planting plan and regular care, the right vine can be a perfect solution for a Bay Area landscape that needs to climb out of the ordinary.
How vines rise in Bay Area landscapes | Pacific Nurseries
Some of the effective methods that enable vines to climb + thrive in Bay Area landscapes | Pacific Nurseries

Vines rising with assistance in many forms

The very long stem structure of a vine makes it different from other plants. This attribute has two functions.
Step 1 for Estimate | Pacific Nurseries
First, vines can use other plants, rocks in the landscape, or other natural or man-made supports for growth. This reliance on external support minimizes energy use in plant tissue and enables the vine to reach sunlight with minimal effort.
Step 2 for Estimate | Pacific Nurseries
Second, the distinctive vine form enables these plants to populate or inhabit large landscape areas quickly—even vertical areas that require climbing to reach.
Vines have a variety of amazing mechanisms to climb both vertically and horizontally. Some of these evolved and effective methods include:


Some vines, including Thunbergia alata | Black-eyed Susan Vine,  climb with thin, flexible stems—called tendrils that wrap around objects for support. They function to not only assist the plant in climbing, but they can also photosynthesize, making them doubly valuable to the plant. Tendrils act as intelligent fingertips that reach out to areas surrounding the vine until they encounter a solid object. And through the process of thigmotropism, the tendrils contract and coil when they touch the object. Once the tendril coils and grabs onto the object, it can adjust the amount of tension required to support the vine as it climbs.

Aerial Roots

Vine plants, such as Hydrangea petiolaris | Climbing Hydrangea, have adventitious, clinging, aerial roots that grow out of the stem and attach to just about any porous surface including wood, brick, stone, and even some metal surfaces. These incredibly efficient roots allow the plant to often climb to significant heights as the roots strengthen and thicken with growth.


Vine plants, such as Rosa ‘Cécile Brunner‘ | Sweetheart Rose, have stiff protruding thorns on their stems that help a vine cling to a support element as it grows. The hooked or thorn-covered stems eventually turn into hooked branches. The result is these connecting and attachment devices help the vine rise vertically as it reaches for the sunlight.


With twining, a vine climbs by shoots or bones protruding from the stem and grows in a helix form around a support structure. This flexible vine shoot integrates rough stems or downward-pointing bristles—called bines—that serve as grips. As twining curls around a supportive structural element that guides the growth direction of the vine, it gradually strengthens and tightens to hold the vine in place. Clematis lasiantha | Pipestem Clematis and Lonicera hispidula | CA Honeysuckle are good examples of vines that use this climbing method.
Understanding the natural climbing method of the vine that you are considering will ensure that you are providing an appropriate support structure or surface to enable the vine to successfully climb and thrive.
Climb out of a ordinary landscape with vines rising | Pacific Nurseries
In the right location, with appropriate support, and regular care, a vine can become a landscape focal point with seasonal beauty.

Vines rising without care can end up in a tangled mess

As a general rule, vines prefer to reach for the sun and want their roots to be cool or moist.

However, vine plants can be challenging if they’re planted in an inappropriate location without adequate support. And if they’re not properly cared for, things can go south in a hurry.

Some of the challenges to avoid with rising vines include:
Invasive growth
Vine plants, such as Calystegia macrostegia | CA Morning Glory, can become invasive if they are not kept in check. They can quickly overwhelm nearby plants and trees with rapid growth. The result is adjacent plants are smothered and prevented from receiving adequate sunlight and nutrients. With a regular care and maintenance program, you can avoid a vine becoming a tangled eyesore.
Damage to structures
Vines that are unmaintained can cause damage to buildings, fences, and other structures. This can include damage to roofs, gutters, or downspouts. So if your goal is to have a vine climb a structure, make sure that the structure is well-designed and solid enough to support the future growth and weight of a mature vine.
Pests + disease
Like many other plants, vines are susceptible to pests and diseases. When a vine becomes diseased, they weaken and expose the vine to further damage. A consistent pruning and feeding schedule can do a lot to avoid this outcome.
To ensure that a vine plant is a positive addition to a Bay Area landscape, it’s essential to choose the right vine that is compatible with the landscape conditions and location where it will be grown.

10 great vines for Bay Area landscapes

Some of the talented Landscape Pros that we work with at Pacific Nurseries have helped us select a great group of vine plants—including CA natives—for Bay Area landscapes. Consider adding them to your planting plans.

Hardenbergia violacea

Common name | Purple Coral Pea
Hardenbergia violacea | Pacific Nurseries
Hardenbergia violacea | Pacific Nurseries
Pervasive throughout Australia and well-adapted to the Bay Area, Hardenbergia violacea is a handsome evergreen vine that climbs by twining stems to 12-16′. It features egg-shaped to narrow lance-shaped leaves. It flowers from late winter through early spring with beautiful, Wisteria-like, purple blossoms. This hardy plant performs best in full sun or light shade in hotter, inland Bay Area locations. It even does well in heavy clay soil if it drains. Once established, this very handsome vine requires little water. Regular pruning and care can also reinvigorate older plants.

Aristolochia californica

CA Native—Common name | California Dutchman’s Pipe
Aristolochia californica | Pacific Nurseries
Aristolochia californica | Pacific Nurseries
Aristolochia californica is a native to Northern California and our Bay Area region. As a deciduous vine that grows from rhizomes to a length that can reach over 20′, it provides a number of important benefits to our Bay Area ecosystem. For example, red-spotted caterpillars eat the vine’s leaves and also inhabit the flowers as they undergo metamorphosis. This plant also produces a toxin that when eaten, prevents caterpillars from being eaten by other predators. What’s more, the larvae of the Northern California Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly | Battus philenor hirsuta rely on this local plant as their only food source. This handsome native vine features large, green to pale brown curving pipe-shaped flowers, with purple veins and a yellow to red lining. New green heart-shaped leaves appear after it blooms January through April. As the vine matures, the twining trunk can become quite thick and gnarly. It does best in moderately fertile, well-drained soils and prefers full sun to part shade conditions. With regular water and pruning, this vine can be a dramatic addition to a Bay Area landscape.

Lonicera hispidula

CA Native—Common name | California Honeysuckle
Lonicera hispidula vines rising | Pacific Nurseries
Lonicera hispidula | Pacific Nurseries

As a California native plant, Lonicera hispidula is a hardy twining climber that can reach up to 20′ tall. Valued for its’ ability to cover unsightly walls and vertical structures, this vine features profuse, tubular, and intensely fragrant flowers which appear in early summer. Grown at the end of stems, these abundant flowers also attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. This Lonicera prefers to have its’ roots in shade with flowering tops in full sun or very light shade. It does best in acidic, dry to moist, and well-drained soil. As a deer-resistant CA native, it’s an excellent choice for covering walls, fences, trellises, and pergolas in Bay Area landscapes.

“Lonicera hispidula in a garden creates an “air show” of hummingbirds and pollinators drawn to the juicy clusters of sun-glowing, red berries. We love planting this CA native honeysuckle as a WIN-WIN because you’ve done a good deed for both the local ecology and for your client.”
Sarah Madeline Stuckey Coates | Stuckeyscapes, LLC

Thunbergia alata

Common name | Black-eyed Susan Vine
Thunbergia alata | Pacific Nurseries
Thunbergia alata | Pacific Nurseries
Originating from South Africa, Thunbergia alata is a very attractive evergreen vine that climbs on just about anything that will support it. The twining stems will reach 6-8′ and are covered with triangular-shaped leaves. Showy bright orange flowers appear almost year-round but are most prominent in summer through fall. Thunbergia is a fast grower and light pruning encourages more blossoms to flourish. This beautiful vine can densely cover a vertical area with a contrasting field of green foliage and cheerfully bright flowers. It performs best in full sun and will tolerate some shade. It likes regular watering and rich, moist soil.

Pandorea jasminoides ‘Rosea’

Common name | Pink Bower Vine
Pandorea jasminoides 'Rosea' | Pacific Nurseries
Pandorea jasminoides 'Rosea' | Pacific Nurseries
Native to Australia, Pandorea jasminoides ‘Rosea’ is an evergreen vine that reaches to 20-30′ tall with the right support. It features shiny oval leaflets and funnel-shaped, attractive pink flowers that bloom from summer through fall. It grows well in shade, flowers best in full sun, and prefers regular watering. And with regular pruning and care on a trellis or fence, this hard-working vine can retain a tidy appearance throughout the year. Pandorea jasminoides ‘Rosea’ is an excellent choice for Bay Area gardens.

Trachelospermum jasminoides

Common name | Star Jasmine
Trachelospermum jasminoides | Pacific Nurseries
Trachelospermum jasminoides | Pacific Nurseries
Originating from Asia, Trachelospermum jasminoides is an evergreen woody vine that can grow to +/-10′ high. It features oval, approximately 3″ long leaves growing opposite one another on the stem. The leaves appear dark green in summer and turn bronze in the cooler winter season. In summer, fragrant white flowers open out into five petal-like lobes and emit an aromatic treat with an exotic and delightful scent. This hardy plant is common in landscapes as a climbing vine or ground cover. It will accommodate full sun, partial shade, and even full shade. It prefers well-drained soil, moderate water, and regular pruning to promote growth.
“I love using Trachelospermum jasminoides along a fence in a partly shady spot with its shiny evergreen foliage and brilliant, white, contrasting flowers. And when it blooms in spring, the garden is infused with the sweet smell of Jasmine perfume!”
Kristen Rudger | Kristen Rudger Landscape Design

Wisteria sinensis

Common name | Chinese wisteria
Wisteria sinensis | Pacific Nurseries
Wisteria sinensis | Pacific Nurseries
This dramatically showy Wisteria sinensis vine originates from China and can climb 20-30′ and spread just as wide. It features multi-pointed leaflets that appear in spring while budding out. The show-stopper feature of this vine is the 1′ or longer clusters of beautiful, fragrant, lilac-purple flowers that appear in spring. Clusters of these amazing flowers hang below the foliage canopy to create a stunning focal point in just about any landscape. Wisteria will grow in full sun to partial shade and it requires only occasional watering once established. However, this beauty performs best in well-drained, fertile soil.

Clematis armandii

Common name | Evergreen Clematis
Clematis armandii | Pacific Nurseries
Clematis armandii | Pacific Nurseries
As a flowering and climbing plant native to China, Clematis armandii is loved in Bay Area landscapes for its showy and fragrant flowers. It can reach to 15′ with dark green lance-shaped leaves that create an attractive contrasting texture to the fragrant 2.5″ white flowers that appear in spring. This beautiful vine attracts bees, butterflies, and other pollinators too. And with the right support or in the right location, it’s a great option for creating a green screen or covering fences quickly. Avoid planting Clematis armandii in salty soil or in salty marine air. It does best in full sun with well-draining soil and has modest water needs.

Rosa ‘Cécile Brunner’

Common name | Sweetheart Rose
Rosa 'Cécile Brunner' vines rising | Pacific Nurseries
Rosa 'Cécile Brunner' | Pacific Nurseries
As one of the most popular roses available in the Bay Area, Rosa ‘Cécile Brunner’ is a light pink polyantha climbing rose. It can grow as tall as 25′ with proper support. In spring, lightly fragrant, pink, pom-pom-like flowers appear in mass as the vine blooms profusely. The pink blossom color fades from the outside with age, resulting in pale pink edges with yellow undertones and a deeper pink center. This vigorously growing vine features smooth, green leaves and is very disease resistant. It also tolerates some shade, poor soil, and is quite hardy in winter. It prefers full sun with moderate water. This very popular vine plant was originally bred in France and was the winner of the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 1994.

Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

Common name | Climbing Hydrangea
Hydrangea anomala petiolaris | Pacific Nurseries
Hydrangea anomala petiolaris | Pacific Nurseries
Hydrangea anomala petiolaris is a native of Asia with a vigorous, woody climbing habit. It reaches to 30-50′ in height and 5-6′ in width. Small aerial roots on the stems enable this vine to climb freely but additional support may be required as the vine matures and increases in weight. It features deciduous, ovate, leaves with a heart-shaped base, and a coarsely serrated margin. Small white flowers appear in mid-summer. It performs best with morning sun and afternoon shade. It can also tolerate dense shade and is appropriate for north-facing areas with little or no sun. For this plant to look its best, plant it in rich, moist, well-drained soil.

Ready to plant a vine in your project?

If you would like to discuss your project requirements or learn more about vines, contact any of our Customer Service experts by clicking on the PHONE icon below their name to call. Or click on the ENVELOPE icon below their name to send an email directly to them.

If that’s all too complicated, just reach out at 650.755.2330.
Plant Availability List | Pacific Nurseries
Learn what’s available for sale right now at our Colma Growing Grounds | Pacific Nurseries
You can also check out our Plant Availability List. This comprehensive list is updated weekly and it will tell you plant sizes, quantities, and details about what’s available for sale right now at our Colma location.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, let us know and we’ll do all that we can to get you all the plants that you want, when you need them.

To place a Plant Order or if you need a Plant Material Estimate, just click the button below to use our convenient ONLINE ESTIMATE | ORDER FORM.

More for Bay Area Landscape Pros