Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld


Climbing plants

Ornamental vines, scramblers and ramblers

"Climbers" are a broad class of plants that can be extremely beautiful and yet very practical. They can be used for screens and coverups where privacy is needed quickly or the space is too narrow for a conventional hedge, while stunning decorative effects can be achieved by training flowering vines over arches, pergolas, obelisks etc.

However, choice of appropriate species and subsequent management will be important to achieve the desired effect.

Some climbers are far too rampant for modern urban gardens. In fact, many serious environmental weeds are climbers, smothering native vegetation. Some climbers you read about in old books or international websites might could even be banned in your area. If in doubt, check with an appropriate authority in your region. (The Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland Editionand Brisbane City Council Weed Identification Tool websites are useful references).

Also, growing climbers directly on buildings can cause direct physical damage, provide a bridge for termites and lead to a variety of other problems, althought it may look picturesque.

Another issue is whether foliage or flowers can be achieved near the ground, or on your side of the fence, when climbers are striving towards the sunshine.

Where to buy vines


You can expect garden centres stock some climbers, although you may have to seek out specialist growers if you wish to collect rare or unusual varieties.

If you operate a nursery (including mail order and online businesses) that offers climbing plants or seeds of these species for sale to the public in Qld, please get in touch for information about advertising on this website.

Using climbers to cover ugly fences and walls

First, note that any plants touching your house structure can provide a bridge for termites and other pests, so as picturesque as plants climbing up walls or framing a verandah might be, there is a risk.

However, if you have an ugly old shed or just a fence or retaining wall that you want to hide, climbers could be an option that's attractive and cheap.

Also, vines can generally be trained to cover a fence more quickly than would be achievable with shrubs, especially with the opportunity to manually direct individual branches of the vine over a trellis in the the early stages. If thoughtfully arranged, it could be quite attractive even before there is complete coverage.

In most cases, climbers will need some kind of support like wires or wire netting to climb on. If you want something classier, stainless steel trellising systems are available which are stylish, but not visually obtrusive. If highly controlled, climbers can be trained to the pattern of the wires for various geometric effects.

The natural tendency of climbers is to grow straight upward, especially where light is mainly coming from above in the narrow spaces between houses. So, early horizontal training to first cover the fence at the bottom would be beneficial in achieving more even coverage. Recognise than maintaining foliage to ground level may always be difficult unless there is lots of reflected light.

Whether climbers or shrubs, top growth will tend to overshadow lower growth eventually, leading to defoliation and unattractive bare branches lower down. Bear this in mind when pruning. If the bottom is a little wider than the top, light interception over the whole face of the planting can be enhanced. This is the same principle that's applied to hedge pruning to get good foliage cover from top to bottom.

Genus - link indicates a dedicated pageNotes, Other links - includes assorted links to other websites if no dedicated page on this site
Five-leafed Akebia Akebia quinata
Akebia quinata (Houtt.) Dcne. Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group. USA
Coral Vine (Antigonon leptopus) Texas A&M University
Antigonon leptopus Coral Vine Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Coral Vine Antigonon leptopus. Flowers of India
White Coral Vine Flowers of India
Antigonon leptopus,Coral Vine The Florez Nursery blog
Antigonon leptopus (discusses weedy tendancies) Save Our Waterways Now. Brisbane
BeaumontiaNight time fragrance for your Miami-Dade garden Notes on Beaumontia grandiflora. Univ.Florida (PDF)
Cissus antarctica Water vine. Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network
Cissus hypoglauca Five-leaved water vine. Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network
Cissus opaca Small-leaved water vine. Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network
Cissus sterculiifolia Long-leaved water vine. Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network
ClitoriaClitoria ternatea Ecocrop database, FAO
Dalechampia dioscoreifolia Bowtie Vine. Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Dalechampia aristolochiaefolia - Silk Crepe Flower "My Dry Tropics Garden" blog, Qld
TRI-OLOGY, Vol. 37, No. 2 includes information on Dalechampia aristolochiaefolia
Hyacinth Bean Vine Dolichos lablab. Parker County Master Gardener Association, Texas (PDF)
Dolichos lablab Weed risk assessments for Hawaii and Pacific Islands
Carolina Jessamine Gelsemium sempervirens UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology, University of Florida
Gelsemium sempervirens Landscape Plant Propagation Information, University of Florida
Gelsemium sempervirens Missouri Botanical Garden
Carolina Jessamine Gelsemium sempervirens. Texas A&M University
Gelsemium sempervirens (PDF) at the Australian Weeds and Livestock website, NSW (discusses toxicity of weeds and other plants to animals)
Ipomoea (Ornamental) 
ManettiaBrazilian Firecracker Vine Manettia cordifolia Butterfly Rainforest Plant List, Florida Museum of Natural History
Mucuna novoguineensis Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Plant Profiles, University of Hawai`i at Manoa (PDF)
PararistolochiaSee Butterflies and Butterfly Gardening
Passion flower Royal Horticultural Society
Passionflower vines yield exotic blooms Mississippi State University, USA
Passiflora coccinea, Red Passion Flower Landscape Plant Fact Sheets, University of Florida USA (PDF)
Container Production of Passionflower A number of research articles can be downloaded from this page. University of Kentucky
Passion Vine - An Attractive Exotic Perennial Hendry County Extension Service, Univ Florida
see also Fruit
Passiflora coccinea Passiflora coccinea
Passiflora coccinea
Pink Trumpet Vine Podranea ricasoliana Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Pseudocalymmasee Mansoa
Chalice-Vine Solandra maxima, S. grandiflora, S. guttata (includes a guide for differentiating between these species) Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
The Genus Solandra in Florida Reproduction of a 1956 article from the Florida State Horticultural Society
Chalice vine (Solandra maxima) Queensland Poisons Information Centre
Night time fragrance for your Miami-Dade garden Notes on Solandra species. Univ.Florida (PDF)
StigmaphyllonPlant Novelties: Stigmaphyllon Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, California
Strongylodon macrobotrys Jade Vine. Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Strongylodon macrobotrys (jade vine) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K.
Strongylodon macrobotrys Harold L. Lyon Arboretum Plant Profiles, University of Hawai`i at Manoa (PDF)
Jade Vine Strongylodon macrobotrys at A Digital Botanic Garden (blog, UK)
Jade vine Strongylodon macrobotrys includes an illustration of a seed pod. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K.
Strophanthus preussii "Botany Photo of the Day", University of British Columbia Botanical Garden
Strophanthus speciosus "Botany Photo of the Day", University of British Columbia Botanical Garden
Strophanthus gratus (Climbing Oleander, Rose Allamanda) Flowers of India
Tecomanthe 'Roaring Meg' At "Grow Me Instead"
Tecomanthe sp. Roaring Meg (L.J.Brass 20326) The Taxonomy Research & Information Network

General Information

Please note - these links are for general information and ideas. Some of the species referred to in links might not be appropriate for Queensland.
Many Reasons to Plant Vines University of Florida
Vertical Gardening Overview of use of vertical space in the garden. Washington State University Clark County Extension
Vining Plants General landscape ideas. University of Illinois
Tendrils Short illustrated article in Florida State Horticultural Society Newsletter, May 2011 (PDF)
Vines - Nature's Wall Hangings Hendry County Extension Service, Univ Florida
Climbers: training and pruning on planting Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Climbers: renovating overgrown plants Royal Horticultural Society, UK
What are the implications of being a climbing plant from Veld & Flora, Botanical Society of South Africa
Growing Climbers How one gardener incorporated Hibbertia and Hardenbergia into the garden on wire tomato frames. (ASAGP)
Climbers out of control Department of Agriculture Western Australia
Climbers: taking cuttings Royal Horticultural Society, UK

Older News

Vine identification in Moreton region

Weedy vines can be very damaging to native bushland. Moreton Bay Regional Council has released a new booklet to help residents identify and control pest species. Eighteen local vine species are also featured, including the Richmond Birdwing Vine (food source for caterpillars of the vulnerable Richmond Birdwing butterfly.) "Vines of the Moreton Bay Region" can be downloaded from or collected from customer service centres, libraries, and environmental centres in the region. (December 2008)

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