Shade loving climbing plants

Updated July 19, 2017

When used correctly, vines are attractive, as well as functional. Use shade-loving vines on the darker side of an unsightly structure and underneath trees. Allow the vines to climb fences or trellises, to create privacy or windbreaks for more delicate plants. These vines can transform undesired posts and poles into attractive landscape features.


The evergreen clematis climbs to a height of 6 metres (20 feet). The lustrous foliage has a leathery texture. Clusters of fragrant, white or pink flowers bloom in late winter at the ends of plant stems. Clematis prefers partial shade. In areas with moderate temperatures, it needs a little more sun, and in hotter conditions, it requires more shade. The year-round foliage conceals unsightly views and provides shelter for birds.Clematis tolerates a wide range of soil and moisture conditions, and is hardy in the UK's temperate climate.


Ivy grows 6 to 24 metres (20 to 80 feet) tall, with a spread of up to 15 metres (50 feet). This aggressive, fast-growing evergreen is often used to cover unsightly views. Ivy grows in two stages. Young plants climb and spread producing dense green foliage that covers anything in its path. In the adult stage, the plant does not climb or spread, but produces clusters of pale green flowers followed by black berries. Cuttings from adult plants produce a shrub that does not climb. Ivy grows well in full to partial shade and tolerates most any soil, but prefers loamy soils.

Japanese honeysuckle

This fast-growing, deciduous vine reaches a height of up to 9 metres (30 feet), and boasts shiny green foliage that turns to bronze or purple in autumn. The fragrant flowers start out white then fade to yellow. They are followed by black fruit, about 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) in diameter. The vines are showy in early summer, when in full bloom. Japanese honeysuckle grows in most soils in partial shade, and is hardy in the UK.

Virginia creeper

Virginia creeper is an attractive deciduous vine that grows quickly to cover almost anything. Clusters of green flowers bloom in spring. Although the flowers are not particularly attractive, they are followed by clusters of black berries that attract birds. The foliage is attractive, turning red in autumn. These vines grow well in shade or part shade. They tolerate most soils, as well as occasional drought.

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About the Author

Jackie Carroll has been a freelance writer since 1995. Her home-and-garden and nature articles have appeared in "Birds & Blooms" and "Alamance Today." She holds a Bachelor of Science in medical technology from the University of North Carolina.