Climbing plants Gardening Groundcovers

A Fast and Easy Green Carpet!

English ivy (Hedera helix) used as a ground cover. Source:

Almost any climbing plant (vine) will make an excellent groundcover plant if you place it where there is nothing it can climb or cling to (tree, arbor, trellis, wall, etc.). And climbers cover a lot of space very quickly, much faster than more typical groundcover plants, meaning you need to buy fewer plants. For example, a single Virginia creeper plant can easily cover 100 square feet (10 m2) in only 2 years!

If climbers grown as creepers start to go too far, just trim their extremities… and this is doubly beneficial in that it will encourage them to fill in faster.

Here are few climbing plants you might want to consider for use as groundcovers:

Plants for Cold Climates

  1. Akebia (Akebia spp.)
  2. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)
  3. Clematis (Clematis spp.)
  4. Climbing honeysuckle (Loniceraspp.)
  5. Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris)
  6. Climbing or rambling rose (Rosa spp.)
  7. Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia spp.)
  8. English ivy (Hedera helix)
  9. Everlasting pea (Lathyrus latifolius)
  10. Grapevine (Vitis spp.)
  11. Trumpetcreeper (Campsis spp.)
  12. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
  13. Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)

Plants for Moderate to Tropical Climates*

Morning glories (here Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’) make wonderful, fast-growing groundcovers. Source:
  1. Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata)
  2. Blue pea (Clitoria terneata)
  3. Blue trumpet vine (Thunbergia grandiflora)
  4. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.)
  5. Clerodendrum (Clerodendrum spp.)
  6. Coral vine (Antigonon leptopus)
  7. Hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus, formerly Dolichos lablab)
  8. Jasmine (Jasminum spp.)
  9. Mandevilla or dipladenia (Mandevilla spp.)
  10. Morning glory (Ipomoea spp.)
  11. Passion flower (Passiflora spp.)
  12. Rangoon creeper (Quisqualis spp.)
  13. Scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus)
  14. Star jasmine (Trachelospermum spp.)
*Many of these plants can be used as annual groundcovers in colder climates.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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