The Best Annual Vines for Your Garden
This fast-growing vine produces colorful blooms in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white. Some varieties offer extra appeal with bicolored flowers or white-variegated foliage. As its name implies, the flowers are only open in the morning. The vine climbs to 15 feet or more and grows best in a sunny spot. Note: In some gardens, morning glory can self-seed profusely. Also, while the plant is easy to start from seed, it can take four months or more to bloom. It's helpful to start it early in short-season areas.
Another fast-growing climber, cardinal vine produces colorful blooms in shades of red, pink, or white. It also has handsome feathery foliage. Like its relative, the morning glory, its flowers close in the afternoon. The vine can easily climb to 15 feet or more and grows best in a sunny spot. Note: While cardinal vine is easy to start from seed, they can take four months or more to bloom. It's helpful to start it early in short-season areas.
Cypress vine produces colorful blooms in shades of red, pink, or white. It has handsome foliage that is much more finely cut than that of the cardinal vine. Like a morning glory, the flowers close in the afternoon hours. Cypress vine climbs to 15 feet or more and grows best in a sunny spot. Note: Cypress vine is also easy to start from seed, and can take four months or more to bloom. It's helpful to start it early in short-season areas.
Yet another member of the morning glory tribe, moonflower bears fragrant white flowers that open at night. While treated as an annual in most areas, it will grow as a perennial in frost-free climates. Moonflower climbs 15 feet or more and grows best in full sun. Note: This vine is commonly confused with another plant called moonflower. That plant (Datura meteloides) is not a vine, though it produces similar flowers.
Spanish flag is one of the most colorful annual vines. The blooms appear in clusters; each flower starts red and fades to creamy white as it ages, so the plant always has a multicolor effect. The large lobed leaves are also attractive. Spanish flag grows 12 feet or more and prefers full sun. Note: In frost-free climates, Spanish flag can be grown as a perennial and flower much of the year. It's also sometimes called Mina lobata.
Hyacinth bean offers fragrant, lavender-colored flowers all summer. These blooms become stunning burgundy-purple seedpods. (The seeds are easy to collect and store over winter.) The foliage is great as well. It's usually tinged with purple. The vine can climb to 15 feet or more and grows best in a sunny spot. Note: In frost-free areas, hyacinth bean is a reliable perennial vine.
Nasturtium offers colorful flowers in jewel-tone shades of red, orange, yellow, apricot, and cream. The blooms are also edible, making a great addition to salads or being used as a garnish. The plant can climb 6 feet or more and grows best in full sun. Note: In rich soil, nasturtium may put on all leafy growth at the expense of blooms.
Scarlet Runner Bean
A great vine to grow with children because of its quick growth and large seeds, scarlet runner bean produces red-orange flowers throughout the summer. It attracts hummingbirds and bears edible beans. It can climb 10 feet or more and grows best in full sun. Note: Grow it on stalks of corn to make a tepee for children to hide out in.
Providing one of the springtime's best scents, sweet pea blooms profusely in the cooler months. Not all varieties are fragrant, but they are all lovely. Look for sweet pea selections in almost every color -- from white to nearly black. The vines can grow 6 feet or more and grow best in a sunny or partially sunny spot. Note: Sweet peas usually fizzle out once hot weather arrives. To help keep them looking good longer, plant them in a spot shaded from the hot afternoon sun.
Black-Eyed Susan Vine
One of the cheeriest annual climbers, black-eyed Susan vine produces many yellow, orange, white, or apricot blooms though the summer. The plant's moniker comes from the chocolate-purple dot at the center of the flower. Black-eyed Susan vine can grow 6 feet or more and grows best in full sun. Note: In frost-free areas, black-eyed Susan vine grows as a perennial. Also, some newer varieties aren't accented with a dark center.
Cup and Saucer Vine
A charming and underused choice, cup and saucer vine produces creamy-white flowers that mature to lavender purple. The blooms are fragrant and appear throughout the summer and fall. It can climb 12 feet or more tall and prefers a sunny spot. Note: In frost-free areas, cup and saucer vine is an evergreen perennial that can climb 40 feet or more.