Earth Day Special: Best Climbers for Wildlife

We love vines for all the garden problems they help to solve (covering things up, blocking things out) but climbing vines (whether those that cling by aerial rootlets, or those that need the support of a trellis or other structure) are also a welcome sight for wildlife passing through. Many vines are little food factories (pollen, nectar, fruits) while others provide cover for nesting birds (especially the space between a wall and a trellis), and resting places for pollinators. Some take space; others can be grown in containers. Might as well have a wonderful plant that does double duty, making both you and wildlife happy!

Princess Diana Clematis

About: Dainty, abundant blooms blanket the garden first in mid- to late summer, then return for an encore in fall. Zone: 5 – 9

Attracts: Hoverflies, moths, butterflies, beetles and solitary bees; Nesting for birds

Amethyst Falls American Wisteria

About: Native, much less rampant than Asian Wisterias and much more likely to bloom at an early age. Zone: 5 – 9

Attracts:  Bumblebees; Butterfly larval host for Horace’s Dusky Wing and Silver-spotted Skipper

White Bower Vine

About: Consummate night-garden vine, with its big, white trumpet flowers. Grow over windows or around doorways. Zone: 9 – 11

Attracts: Provides cover and nesting for small birds; pollen for butterflies, night moths

Green Showers Boston Ivy

About: Self-clinging, vigorous, deciduous vine with extra large green leaves that turn rich burgundy in fall. Zone: 4 – 9

Attracts: Bees (love the tiny flowers), birds (thrushes, waxwings, starlings, blackbirds), butterflies, hoverflies

Pink Parfait® Mandevilla

About: Twining evergreen vine displays unusual, double, trumpet-like, vibrant pink flowers; perfect for patio gardens in humid climates. Zone: 10 – 11

Attracts: Hummingbirds. Hummingbirds. Hummingbirds.

Crimson Passion Flower

What: Great for shade arbors, where it can snake up posts of wood, concrete or classical stone columns and hang  gracefully. Zone: 10 – 11

Attracts: Butterflies (Gulf Frittilaries and Zebra Longwing); Fruits provide food for songbirds.

Trumpet Honeysuckle

What: Native to eastern/southeastern U.S. Alternative to Japanese honeysuckle in places where that species can be invasive. Zone: 4 – 9

Attracts: Hummingbirds, butterflies, moths

William Baffin Climbing Rose

About: All sorts of wildlife is attracted to easy access of pollen in open flowered roses such as this. Pretty, fragrant, cold tolerant. Zone: 3 – 10

Attracts: Native bees, solitary bees, butterflies

Sweet Autumn Clematis

About: Fluffy clouds of fragrant, creamy white flowers, even in partial shade. Keep in check by pruning in spring before growth begins.Zone: 4 – 9

Attracts: Native bees, butterflies, dragonflies

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