Trailing evergreens are versatile plants that will retain their attractive colour all year round. Trailing plants make effective ground covers on a difficult-to-plant area or a steep slope, or can be planted where the green foliage can cascade freely over a rock wall. Once established, most trailing evergreens require minimal maintenance.
With their attractive foliage and colourful flowers, blooming vines trail over a wall or cascade over the sides of a container. Evergreen honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is a spring-blooming trailing evergreen vine that produces 2.4 m (8 foot) vines with reddish orange or yellow flowers, depending on the variety. Appropriate for growing in sun or partial shade, evergreen honeysuckle is suitable for all regions of the UK. Autumn-flowering jessamine (Gelsemium rankinii) hardy in the UK, is a good choice for warm climates, producing luxurious yellow flowers in spring and autumn.
Foliage vines are prized for their attractive leaves. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is a woody trailing evergreen vine appropriate for planting in shady areas, including dense shade under tall trees. In autumn, the glossy foliage turns a bright reddish orange. Boston ivy, hardy in mainland Britain, is considered an invasive plant in some areas. Algerian Ivy (Hedera canariensis) is a lush vine that can grow to length of 15 m (50 feet) at maturity. Like most ivies, Algerian ivy prefers partial shade.
Sunny vines are plants that prefer at least six hours of sunlight per day. Fiveleaf akebia (Akebia quinata) is a fast-growing vine with leaves consisting of 5 narrow leaflets growing from a single point. The fiveleaf akebia vine, which reaches heights of up to 9 m (30 feet) at maturity, produces tiny, lightly scented purple blooms for much of the growing season. A tough plant that prefers sunshine but tolerates light shade, fiveleaf akebia grows throughout the UK. Mexican daisy (Erigeron) is a drought-tolerant, sun-loving trailing evergreen with small, daisy-like blooms that appear on the vines for much of the year. A versatile plant that works well in containers or cascading over walls, Mexican daisy is hardy in mainland Britain, away from the West coast.
While few vines tolerate total shade, many attractive vines thrive in partial sun with at least four hours of sunlight per day. Climbing Fig (Ficus repens) is a vigorous vine that eventually stretches out to lengths of 15 m (50 feet). A clinging vine, the heart-shaped foliage of the climbing fig holds tightly to rock walls and other hard surfaces. Climbing fig appreciates moist but well-drained soil and partial shade. Evergreen smilax (Smilax lanceolata), which does best in partial shade, forms a lush privacy screen when trained to climb up a trellis. Evergreen smilax and climbing fig are is appropriate for appropriate for Ireland and the Gulf Stream-affected areas of Great Britain.
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- University of Missouri Extension: Gardening in the shade
- Washington State University Extension: Trailing Pacific blackberry
- Oregon State University Extension: Plant in spring for summer and fall colour
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Vines
- West Virginia University Extension: Common periwinkle
- Learn2Grow: Akebia quinata