Climbing vines have the advantage of being very ornamental. When on top of this, they smell good, too, they become the ideal candidate to grow in your garden or on your terrace!
Discover these “impulse” climbing plants that will spread a delicious scent everywhere while giving a decidedly ornamental touch to your garden!

  • Read our insights on caring for climbing plants.

The great covering power of climbing plants

  • They decorate old walls and hide imperfections, add joy and greenery everywhere, climbing plants and vines cover and clothe our houses.
  • The are also very useful to fill in the holes on the fence that separates your lot and your neighbor’s, or the pergola under which you love to dine.

And the appeal of fragrant climbing vines

  • They spread their delicious scent in living spaces like a terrace or a passageway.
  • Place them near a spot where you like to relax, spend time or share meals.

The most beautiful fragrant flower vines

  • Read our insights on caring for many more climbing plants.
Chalice vine
(Solandra)
Solanum potato vine, a jasmin look-alike
Star jasmine Honeysuckle
Hops Holboellia
Jasmine Wisteria

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To the front of my house in Dawlish, Devon, I have an area of trellis which I have decided to cover with scented evergreen climbers. It’s quite a long trellis and needs to provide privacy all year round. Previously, this part of my garden was dominated by a large 30-foot long leylandii hedge, that was 10 foot high and 4 foot thick. I am glad to see the back of it and now have an opportunity to grow plants that are far more colourful, scented and interesting to a wider range of wildlife.

Over the past 3 months, I have compiled a list of the most suitable climbers that will not only provide an evergreen and sweet-scented screen (a ‘sweetener’ for the neighbours), but also plenty of interest in all seasons.

Tip: Climbers are an ideal solution for that area in the garden that is limited on horizontal space. Unlike the traditional hedgerow, they are climbing plants are generally easy to maintain and will naturally cover a trellis or pagoda and stick to its shape without growing too high.

Scented evergreen climbers to try

Here are the scented evergreen climbers that are currently in my shortlist:

Clematis ‘Fragrant Oberon’

  • Size: 1.5 metres
  • Flowering: March, April, May
  • Position: Sun or semi shade
  • Hardiness: -7ºC
  • Description: Powerfully and sweetly perfumed, the pretty satin flowers of Clematis ‘Fragrant Oberon’ are lemon-white with a hint of green, and look stunning set against the dark foliage of this evergreen clematis. Due to its popularity, this plant is currently in high demand.

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine)

  • Size: Height 9m – Spread 3m
  • Flowering: June, July, August
  • Position: Sun or semi shade
  • Hardiness: Protect in winter in cold areas
  • Description: An elegant climber, bearing thousands of pure white, star-shaped flowers on twining woody stems throughout summer. The glossy, evergreen foliage of star jasmine forms the perfect backdrop for its dramatic blooms which perfume the air with a sweet and irresistible fragrance.

Lonicera Japonica ‘Darts World’ (Honeysuckle)

  • Size: up to 5 metres
  • Flowering: Spring to late summer
  • Position: Best in light shade
  • Hardiness: Fully hardy climber
  • Description: The Honeysuckle creates a stunning effect creeping and climbing wherever you plant it. Plant and train them up against a structure or similar to give an abundance of colour. This variety offers large, stunning rose pink and white fragrant flowers.

Akebia quinata chocolate vine

  • Size: Spread 2m – height 10m
  • Flowering: March to May
  • Position: Sun or partial shade
  • Hardiness: Fully hardy climber
  • Description: Unusual chocolate-maroon spicy vanilla scented flowers beneath palmate evergreen leaves.

I like to mix and match my collection of scented evergreen climbers, allowing each plant to intermingle with other varieties. However, it is worth pointing out, that some species grow more vigorously than others, so ensure you do your research and give the fast-ramblers more space than the more modest plants.

Tags:Climbing Plants, Ornamental Garden, Small garden, Sweet Scented Flowers

Anyone who has ventured into a New York City woodland in early summer has probably experienced the intoxicating scent of Japanese honeysuckle. Though there are native plants as fragrant in the evening — linden comes to mind — generally speaking, New Yorkers need only follow their noses to the ubiquitous Japanese honeysuckle to find the source. To naturalists, however, the sweet scent of honeysuckle smells like trouble.

Though perceptible at any time of the day, the fragrance of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is most potent in dimming light. Its aroma permeates vast acres with a mouthwatering, heady fragrance. This evening perfume and the vine’s pale, tubular flowers are diagnostic of moth-pollinated plants, and in its native home of Japan and Korea, honeysuckle is indeed pollinated by night-flying hawk moths. Interestingly, our own native moths, as well as several species of bees and wasps, and even hummingbirds, are pollinators of this highly successful species.

A close examination of honeysuckle flowers reveals long stamens, each tipped with a powdery, pollen-covered anther. These anthers are positioned to dab pollen onto the foreheads and bodies of would-be pollinators. To lap up the sweet nectar deep in the flower’s throat, pollinators then brush into the equally elongate pistil, with its sticky-headed stigma, upon which the grains of pollen adhere.

Honeysuckle is not solely dependent upon sexual reproduction, though; the aggressive vine reproduces vegetatively as well, easily rooting where its stems contact the ground. There is little doubt these strategies are effective: Japanese honeysuckle can be found on every continent but Antarctica.

The Hardy Honeysuckle Vines

When it comes to flowering vines, we northern gardeners (zones 6 and colder) have relatively few choices. Clematis, perhaps the best flowering vine around, thankfully features high on this restricted list. Trumpet-creeper (Campsis) and Wisteria are only reliable in the warmest regions of zones 5 or 6. Our last choice are the twining honeysuckles of the genus Lonicera. While perhaps not as showy as the previous species, many do have the added bonus of fragrant flowers and several are hardy through zone 3. In addition, they are wonderful plants for attracting hummingbirds to our gardens.

There is a surprising long list of hardy twining honeysuckles although nurseries seem to concentrate on about half a dozen. All climb by twining stems and will require supports to look their best. Some people opt to let them ramble up neighbouring shrubs and trees but this can lead to future problems as the vigorous honeysuckles can literally strangle their ‘living’ supports. Other gardeners allow them to climb up utility poles as a way of softening the look of these poles but that too is a bad idea as utility companies must have access to these poles and have the right to remove any obstructing vegetation. So the best way to accommodate these vines is by trellis, arbors or fences.

Twining honeysuckles perform best if grown in full sun but they will tolerate shade, albeit with a reduction in flower production. The ideal situation is to have their heads in the sun and feet in the shade (the same idea applies to Clematis). They do not appear to be fussy about soil types but they are generally not well suited to droughty conditions. Pruning can be restricted to shortening over-vigorous shoots and to ‘shape’ them to their supports. Propagation is easy; 6-8″ cuttings taken mid-summer generally root with ease.

The twining honeysuckles hail from North America, Europe and Asia and hybrids between these distant cousins have been made with great results. First I’ll mention the American species. By far the most important species is the trumpet honeysuckle, L. sempervirens. This honeysuckle has the most showy flowers of any American species. Vines bloom over a long season with long, tubular red flowers with golden-yellow interiors. This is perhaps the best honeysuckle for attracting hummingbirds. Alas, this species, along with all the American honeysuckles, has no fragrance. This species is indeed partially evergreen in more southern climates but is wholly deciduous in the north. They are hardy to zone 3 or 4. There are many named selections of the trumpet honeysuckle including ‘Alabama Crimson’ (red), ‘Blanche Sandman’ (red), ‘Major Wheeler’ (red), Manifich (orange-red), ‘Magnifica’ (orange-red) and ‘John Clayton’ (yellow). The remaining American twining honeysuckles are far less impressive as garden ornamentals and are perhaps best used in wilder settings. However, they are still attractive to hummingbirds. These include L. ciliosa, L. dioica, L. glaucescens and L. hirsuta.

When it comes to fragrance, the European honeysuckles win hands-down! Few garden plants can rival the intoxicating, evening hour fragrance of the European woodbines. In my area, these are by far the most popular honeysuckles with many having heritage status as they have been grown in Newfoundland gardens for over 100 years. There are two main species of interest, L. periclymenum (woodbine) and L. caprifolium (Italian woodbine), both rated for zone 4 to 5. The two species appear quite similar with clusters of tubular, highly fragrant flowers whose openings are more flared than the American trumpet honeysuckle. The flowers of L. caprifolium are light pink on the outside and white to pale yellow on the inside while those of L. periclymenum are more yellow-pink on the outside with deeper golden-yellow insides. Another look-alike species is L. etrusca, a tender species (zone 7) that does feature in the hybrid L. X italica ‘Sherlite’ (aka ‘Harlequin’) which has the fragrant flowers of both parents but the added bonus of being variegated and hardier than L. etrusca (zone 4). While there are relatively few named selections of L. caprifolium, there are many selections of the long-cultivated L. periclymenum. These differ in their floral shades. Selections to look for include ‘Belgica’, ‘Belgica Select’, ‘Graham Thomas’ and ‘Serotina’.

Some European honeysuckles include L. periclymenum, L. caprifolium and the hybrid ‘Sherlite’

From east Asia comes two important hardy twining species, L. japonica (zone 4) and L. tragophylla (zone 6). The former has white to yellow, intensely fragrant flowers which are shaped much like those of the European species, albeit arranged in smaller clusters. There are three main cultivars: ‘Halliana’ with yellowish flowers, ‘Purpurea’ with pink-flushed blooms and ‘Aureoreticulata’ whose leaves are finely veined in bright yellow! This species has one main drawback….it is exceptionally invasive. So much so, that it has become a real pest in much of the United States. The cultivar ‘Aureoreticulata’ is not as vigorous nor as great a problem. With the variety of twining honeysuckles available on the market, you could probably avoid growing L. japonica. The second species, L. tragophylla is gorgeous with large tubular bright yellow-orange blooms but alas, has no fragrance. It is also relatively tender and has a rather short blooming season compared to other twining honeysuckles. However, it does feature in a number of hybrids.

Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’, ‘Purpurea’ and ‘Aureoreticulata’

This brings me to the last group of vining honeysuckles, the hybrids. Perhaps the most popular hybrid is L. X brownii, a cross between the American species L. sempervirens and L. hirsuta. The cultivars ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ and ‘Kristin’s Gold’ are the main selections. These appear much like L. sempervirens but are a little hardier. Lonicera X heckrottii is a tri-species cross between the European species L. implexa and L. etrusca and the American L. sempervirens. The resulting plants have golden-pink, fragrant flowers that appear more like the European species but are hardy like the American. ‘Goldflame’ and ‘Pink Lemonade’ are main selections. Lonicera X tellmanniana is a cross between the rather tender Chinese species L. tragophylla and the American L. sempervirens. The resulting hybrid has the large golden blooms of L. tragophylla but increased hardiness from the American parent. Unfortunately it inherited the rather short blooming season of the L. tragophylla parent. Finally we come to the relatively new hybrid called ‘Mandarin’. This hybrid is a quadra-species cross between L. X brownii and L. X tellmanniana. This hybrid is hardy to zone 3 and has bright orange, attractively flaring flowers whose only disadvantage is their lack of fragrance. This hybrid, like L. X brownii, blooms all season.

As you can see, there are quite a number of twining honeysuckles on the market. Whether you want colourful blooms, fragrant flowers or simply want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, these honeysuckles will help fit the bill.

Evergreen Clematis

Clematis Culture

Family: Ranunculaceae

Genus: Clematis

Origin: Mainly of Chinese and Japanese origin.

Culture: Clematis can be planted anytime the ground is workable. Because they are such long-lived plants, it is essential to site and plant them appropriately. Clematis require at least 5-6 hours of full sun, or all day filtered sun. They prefer rich, loose, well drained soil. A cool root zone is essential, so use rocks, mulch or groundcover to provide shade. To support their climbing habits, always provide a shrub, tree or trellis for climbing.

Pruning:

Where flowers form determines how and when Clematis should be pruned.

Those that bloom only on growth produced the previous year should be lightly cut back as soon as they finish blooming in May or June.

Clematis that flowers in spring on last year’s growth, and again in fall on this year’s growth, should be lightly pruned in late February or March.

Clematis that blooms in early summer to fall on the current year’s growth tend to become quite leggy over time, with flowers occurring progressively higher, leaving much of the vine naked. These vines are well suited to being trained up into a tree where their growth habit works well.

Another option is to aggressively cut back summer-blooming forms in late February or March to two strong sets of buds on each stem as close to the ground as possible. This will ensure a compact vine with flowers at eye level.

*Keeping a garden journal is very helpful in remembering details from year to year.

Fertilizing: When growth begins in spring apply a balanced fertilizer. Later when actively growing, a general purpose liquid fertilizer (such as 5-10-10) works well. Once the flower buds are well formed, stop fertilizing until after flowering to prolong the bloom time. To help plants settle down for winter, discontinue fertilizing in mid-August.

Watering: Water your new Clematis freely and often in the first year. After the first year soak the roots well once a week during dry weather.

Planting: Dig a hole about 18 inches deep and wide. Mix 1/3 compost, rotted manure, and /or pumice in to the back-fill to loosen heavy soil. Be sure to remove the stake which is usually stapled to the pot. Place the clematis in the hole about 2 inches below the soil line, being very careful not to damage the brittle stems. Back-fill with amended soil to the base of the plant stem.

Leave the final filling of the hole until later in the season to avoid rotting out the crown. Securely attach the stems to a support to prevent damage throughout the growing season. Note that may varieties of clematis are excellent subjects for large containers, as long as the roots stay cool.

Fragrant Climbing Plants

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on May 1, 2009. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)

Climbing plants are one of the best types of plants to have in the garden. Climbing vegetable plants allow those with limited space to grow fresh produce on a patio or even a balcony. For the ornamental grower, vines are one of the easiest ways to separate garden spaces. A fast-growing vine will cover an arbor or trellis in once season.

When strategically placed, vine-covered structures can help to create garden rooms. What better way to create a private secret garden than with fragrant flowering vines? A few vines which will accomplish this are listed below along with basic characteristics of each.

Vines for Covering Outdoor Structures


Wisteria frutescens by Dave’s
Garden member ‘Nyssa416’


Solandra maxima by Dave’s
Garden member ‘sa_haiad’


Stephanotis floribunda by
Dave’s Garden member
‘blackthumbX2’


Beaumontia grandiflora by
Dave’s Garden member
‘rjuddharrison’


Jasminum polyanthum by
Dave’s Garden member ‘Ulrich’

American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) *All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested. This species is less aggressive than Asian varieties, but wisteria is invasive in many areas. Keep plant in check with pruning. Height: 8 to 20 feet. Grow in full sun to partial shade in zones 6a to 9b. Blooms are blue-violet or violet-lavender in mid-spring. Vine is evergreen.

Armand clematis (Clematis armandii) Height: 10 to 40 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 6a to 9b. Blooms are white or near-white from winter to mid spring.

Australian waxflower (Hoya australis) *Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested. Height: 15 to 20 feet. Grow in full sun to partial shade in zones 10b to 11. Blooms are white to near-white or cream to tan. Blooms appear in late summer through early fall. Vine is evergreen.

Variegated confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Variegatum’)*All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested. Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction. Height: 15 to 40 feet. Grow in full sun to partial shade in zones 8a to 11. Blooms white-near white from mid-spring to early summer. Vine is evergreen.

Cup of gold vine (Solandra maxima) *All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested Height: 30 to 40 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 8b to 11. Blooms are yellow-orange to bright yellow from late winter to early spring and then again from mid fall to late winter. Vine is evergreen.

Madagascar jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda) Height: 12 to 15 feet. Grow in full sun to partial shade in zones 10a – 11. Blooms are bright white and appear from mid-summer to early fall.

Madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia) *Plant is said to be invasive and difficult to eradicate in some areas; use caution when planting. Height: 12 to 20 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 10a to 11. Blooms are white to near-white from late summer to mid-fall. Vine is evergreen.

Nepal trumpet flower (Beaumontia grandiflora) Height: 12 to over 40 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 10a to 11. Blooms are white to near white from late spring to early summer. Vine is evergreen.

Rangoon creeper (Quisqualis indica) *May be invasive. Plant has spines. Height: over 40 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 10a to 11. Blooms are red and pink to near white from late spring to mid fall. Vine is evergreen.

Winter jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) Height: 12 to 15 feet. Grow in full sun in zones 9a to 10b. Blooms are white to near white appearing throughout the year. Vine is evergreen.

For a real treat, plant fragrant vines near a bedroom window or sleeping porch, and near pathways leading to your home. The sweet scents will be carried on the breeze into sleeping and sitting areas of your home. When planted over or along pathways leading to your home, the fragrance welcomes guests in a way they will not soon forget.

Happy Gardening

Sources:

Plant characteristics and care tips are a condensed version of what is found in Dave’s Garden PlantFiles. Please visit PlantFiles for more information and great member photographs.

Photos:

Photo at top right is rangoon creeper (Quisquarlis indica) by Dave’s Garden member, ‘sa_haiad.’

All other photos are by Dave’s Garden members and are credited above.

5 Fragrant climbers we love

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Last updated on 22 October 2019

Climbers add essential height to a garden. Here are five of our favourites

RELATED TO FRAGRANT CLIMBERS: Six unusual flowering climbers

1. Solanum jasminoides

The blue or white potato vine, Solanum jasminoides (not to be confused with the alien invasive S. seaforthianum) has small clusters of fragrant dainty light-blue or white flowers in spring to late autumn. In colder areas the plant is semi-deciduous. In late winter, either prune hard to a length of 50 cm to 1m, or just take off dead twigs and leaves, depending on what’s needed. The plant is water wise and quite hardy when planted in a protected area.

POSITION: Full sun.
PLANT: Any time of the year in free-draining soil. Prepare the soil with compost and feed with 3:1:5 fertiliser.
SIZE: 6–8m high and 2–3m wide.
WATER NEEDS: Light to medium watering (1–2 times a week).
FLOWERING SEASON: From spring to late autumn.
FROST TOLERANCE: Light frost.

READ MORE: The ultimate winter gardening guide

2. Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus)

The fragrant sweet pea is a much-loved annual climber with lovely flowers from spring to early summer. Although there’s a perennial sweet pea, it unfortunately doesn’t have a scent. Pick the flowers regularly to promote further flowering and spray for pests like red spider mite, if necessary.

POSITION: Full sun.
PLANT: Sow seeds or plant seedlings from spring to winter. Sweet peas need well-dug soil that has been enriched with compost and kraal manure. Feed every two weeks with organic food like Seagro or Neutrog Seamungus.
SIZE: 2–3m high and 50cm wide.
WATER NEEDS: Regular watering.
FLOWERING SEASON: From spring to early summer.
FROST TOLERANCE: Light to moderate frost.

3. Climbing roses

You can choose from the many fragrant climbing or rambling roses like ‘Nahéma’, ‘Blossom Time’ and ‘Wedding Garland’. Roses bloom in flushes, the first of which is usually in October or November.

MORE ROSES: Growing roses in containers

POSITION: Full sun.
PLANT: Prepare a 1m x 1m planting hole and add organic material such as compost and peanut shells to improve drainage. Feed with Vigorosa according to instructions on the pack.
SIZE: 2–3m high and 50–100cm wide; some ramblers can spread up to 20m.
WATER NEEDS: Regular watering.
FLOWERING SEASON: From spring to autumn. Some heritage climbers and ramblers only flower in spring, so make sure you buy the right ones.
FROST TOLERANCE: Moderate to severe frost.

4. Wisteria

With its heavily perfumed racemes of pea-like flowers, wisteria is the most romantic of the fragrant climbers. The most common has lilac flowers but some garden centres stock new hybrids with white, pale-pink, mauve and pale-blue flowers. There’s also a hybrid that flowers in early summer as well as one with longer racemes. Wisteria is deciduous, bearing the flowers on the pretty twisted bare wood in spring.

READ MORE: Planting purple in the garden

POSITION: Full sun.
PLANT: Prepare the planting holes with compost and bonemeal. Plant in spring or autumn.
SPREAD: 9–15m high or wide. Prune the long shoots on the main stems after flowering in the summer (December), to 5–6 leaves, and again in the winter (July) to 2–3 buds.
WATER NEEDS: Regular watering, especially before flowering.
FROST TOLERANCE: Can take severe frost.

5. Jasminum multipartitum

While many associate spring with Chinese jasmine (J. polyanthum) there’re a number of indigenous jasmines that are just as fragrant and pretty although they’re not frost hardy. Starry jasmine (J. multipartitum) and South African jasmine (J. angulare) flower on and off through the year.

POSITION: Full sun and semi-shade.
PLANT: Prepare the planting holes with compost and bonemeal. Plant in spring or autumn.
SPREAD: 2–5m high or wide. Neaten it by pruning the shoots in winter.
WATER NEEDS: Regular watering.
FLOWERING SEASON: Throughout the year.
FROST TOLERANCE: Is not frost tolerant.

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