The best vines for your arbor depend on the purpose of your arbor. If you’re using a garden structure to highlight an architectural detail or frame a picturesque area of the yard with your arbor, choose a vine that is attractive but subtle; one like that sweet potato vine that won’t steal attention away from the area you want to highlight. If your arbor is being placed to hide an unattractive feature, such as utilities or garbage bins, the best vine to grow on it is something that remains full and billowy for most of the year. Vines like the trumpet creeper or honeysuckle are good choices.
Sweet Potato Vine
The sweet potato vine comes in a variety of colors from bright chartreuse to a deep purplish-black color like “Blackie,” ‘Ipomoea batatas.’ Ornamental sweet potato vines are grown as annuals, except in zones 10 and 11 where they are perennials. They thrive in partial to full sun and prefer warm temperatures.
The trumpet creeper grows rapidly, making it a perfect pick for covering an arbor. It is hardy in growing zones four through 10 and tolerates heat and drought. Its bright orange blossoms will attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds into your garden and provide beauty all summer long. Even when not in bloom, the trumpet creeper is a lush, evergreen plant that clings well and requires little maintenance. The trumpet creeper can become invasive. It is best grown in an area where its invasive nature is not a concern, or pot it in a large container to inhibit overgrowth.
Several varieties of honey suckle are available, such as Goldflame with its bright red flowers that attract hummingbirds or Japanese honeysuckle with whitish-yellow flowers and light fragrance. All types of honeysuckle vines are well suited to growing on an arbor; be sure to select a vine and not a honeysuckle shrub or groundcover. Honeysuckle remains evergreen in zones four through 10 and grows quickly.