The Tropical Gardener: 'Climbers' and 'Leaners' in South Florida

Dutchman’s Pipe. Courtesy of Charles Nicholls.

Here is a list of some great vines and climbing plants that members of the Equality Garden Club have recommended that grow well in their gardens.

Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristochina grandifolia). Also called the pelican flower. Contains many species. A restrictive woody invasive plant. Flowers resemble a type of smoking pipe once used in Europe.

Queen’s Wreath (Petrea Volubilis). Flowers are cascading and give the illusion of purple drooping clouds. A very aggressive climber that can reach 40 Ft. Depending on growing conditions it may have a relatively short life span. The plant can be trained as a tree or shrub. A white flower (Pabifolia) is also available.

Golden Chalice Vine (Solanda maxima). Also called the Cup of Gold Vine. Flowers are big and bold with large thick foliage. It is primarily a Spring and Summer blooming plant. It is an extremely aggressive often growing 20-45 ft.

Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotys). An incredible show-stopper with large chains of turquois claw-shaped flowers. It is best grown on a wall at least 8-10 feet high before plant can begin to climb horizontally where the dangling flowers are best viewed. It required lots of water and planted in well-drained soil.

Blue Sky Vine (Thunbergia grandiflora). This vine produces long chains of hundreds of sky blue flowers. It is primarily a summer bloomer and prolific grower (30-50 feet in one year).

Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata). A sweet blooming one inch white flowers that bloom, in masses, during the Fall season. The flowers are quite distinctive against the dark green foliage. It is the only plant included in this column that is also hardy in Delaware where I grew it in Rehoboth Beach.

Florida Trumpet Vine (Compas radicans). The elongated trumpet-like flowers are fiery orange and gold. It attracts many pollinators, including butterflies and hummingbirds.

Passion Vine (Passiflora incarnate). A native Florida vine with lavender-purple flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. There are many other species of passion vine that grow equally well in South Florida. The egg shaped fruits are edible.

Climbing Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). It is also called The Confederate Jasmine Vine. It is best grown on fences and pergolas. The flowers are star-like and white with glossy emerald leaves. A word of caution: The sticky sap may be irritating to the skin and also hard to remove.

Coral Honey Suckle (Lonicera sempervirens). A low maintenance vine with Scarlett colored flowers and evergreen foliage. It can also be grown as a ground cover when not supported or trained.

Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides). A shrub like vine with vibrant orange flowers. One of the best nectar vines, a favorite for migrating Monarch butterflies. Usually grows 10-12 feet and often grown in containers.

Chuck Nicholls is a Master Gardener who founded the Equality Garden Club in 2010 and Co-founder of the Tropical Plant Fair held annually at Richardson Park and Preserve every November. The Garden Plaza at Equality Park was dedicated in February 2023 in his and his husband’s name (Mark Turner).


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



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