Skip to Main navigation Skip to Left navigation Skip to Main content Skip to Footer

University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Garden > SULIS > Maintenance > Sustainable Herbaceous Plant Maintenance > Vines

Print Icon Email Icon Share Icon


Vines Vines are herbaceous or woody plants that "climb" by using other structures and other plants for support, attaching by using specialized plant parts. Their stems are often naturally weak and flexible and therefore cannot support their lengthy stems. However, this flexibility allows gardeners and landscape professionals to easily train a vine to grow in a specific manner, creating unique displays and natural structures in the landscape. Vines may be grown as living screens, on a trellis to provide height in a landscape or to soften a hardscape feature such as the corner of a building. Vines: Growing a Living Screen provides a list of woody and herbaceous vines plants that are suitable for Midwestern gardens and landscapes. The list includes common and botanical names, notable plant characteristics, the climbing mechanism (tendril, twining, etc.), growth rate and light requirements. This webpage also includes six "climbing" rose cultivars.

Ray Rothenberger of the University of Missouri-Columbia has a very good webpage that discusses selection of vines. Selecting Landscape Plants: Ornamental Vines covers primarily woody vines, but it has a good explanation and drawings of how vines cling and climb that applies to some herbaceous vines as well.

Many vines, especially herbaceous annuals such as cardinal climber (Ipomoea x multifida), black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata), and sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus), are grown for their flowers. Visit the site Plants for Butterflies for vines that attract butterflies in their juvenile (caterpillar) and adult forms.

For more on proper plant selection based on site and plant characteristics, see Plant Elements of Design plant selection database.

Click on any of the following headings and link to chapters that explain care and maintenance of herbaceous plants.

Dividing Plants
Dividing Rhizomes
Starting Plants from Seed
Collecting and Saving Seed
Self-Sowing Plants
Propagation by Vegetative Cuttings
Transplanting Seedlings, Cuttings and Divided Plants

Staking, Supporting and Training Plants
Methods of Supporting Plants
Materials & Structures
Training to Improve Plant Health (FUTURE)
Training Plants for Ornamental Purposes (FUTURE)

Cutting Back Plants
Pruning for Plant Form
Pruning to Prevent Disease (FUTURE)
Deadheading and Pinching Back (FUTURE)

Mulching & Watering
Why Use Mulch?
Application of Mulch
Mulching for Weed Control
Mulching for Winter Protection
Mulching for Moisture Control
Organic Mulches
Synthetic Mulches
Watering Your Landscape
How to Determine the Frequency and Rate of Watering
Water Quality and its Effect on Plants

Nutrition, Fertilizers, and Compost
The Basics of Plant Nutrition and Fertilizers
Soils (FUTURE)
Compost (FUTURE)
Fertilizer: the Do's and Don'ts
Organic Fertilizers (FUTURE)
Inorganic Fertilizers (FUTURE)
Salt Tolerant Plants

Weed Management
Weed Identification and Lifecycles
Cultural Management Methods for Weed Control
Pruning for Weed Control (FUTURE)
Understanding Labels (FUTURE)
Alternatives to Chemical Herbicides (FUTURE)

Diseases and Insects
Integrated Pest Management (FUTURE)


Clemson University Cooperative Extension, "Clematis".

Gardening and Landscaping, "Structures", DIY Network,,

International Clematis Society,

Iowa Association of Naturalists, Iowa's Shrubs and Vines, publication #IAN-307.

North Carolina State University, "Training / Pruning Vines", Erv Evans. 2000. http://www.ces/

Purdue University Cooperative Extension, online publication, "Annual and Perennial Vines", HO-21, authored by John Wott, adapted by B. Rosie Lerner and Michael N. Dana. Revised April 1997.

University of Missouri-Columbia Extension, "Selecting Landscape Plant: Ornamental Vines", G6840, Ray R. Rothenberger. 1999.

Texas A&M University Cooperative Extension, "Plants for Butterflies".

The Forest Shop,

University of Minnesota Extension, "Vines: Growing a Living Screen", H101C, Yard & Garden Brief, Jill MacKenzie. Reviewed February 1999.

University of Rhode Island, "Growing Clematis", Greenshare, Jane C. Martin, 2001.

University of Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech and Virginia State Universities, "Pruning Vines", The Virginia Gardener Newsletter, Diane Relf. March 31, 1998.

  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy