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Friday - August 07, 2009

From: Decatur, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Vines for shade in North-Central Georgia
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe


I am looking for something to hide a 6' wood fence that will grow in almost full shade. I have an area approx 2 feet wide to plant in. Since the fence and planting areas are stepped -- about 8 feet for each section, it may be neat to plant a different complimentary plant in each section. I would love them to be evergreen and flowering..but am open to suggestions. What do you recommend? Also, when I bought the house, there was star jasmine planted in small (1 foot tall) pots alongside a shaded garage wall with a trellis behind them. They are not doing well. Do you think they need more sun, a larger pot (or to be put in the ground), or a different plant? Thank you!!


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center works to conserve, propagate and educate the public about our native plants, so our answer suggests natives that can thrive in your area. If your planting site is in full shade, it limits the range of options, and species that bloom in shade are always harder to find. There are six suggestions below. The first five grow in shade; the sixth, Bignonia capreolata (crossvine), requires part sun. If some parts of your fence are better situated for light, that may work for you. Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) doesn't flower but has pretty fall color.  Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet)  isn't noted for its flower but bloom-like orange fruits persist through the fall into winter. Please note that there is a very invasive non-native variety that should not be confused with our native bittersweet. Likewise, non-native wisterias are much more invasive than Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria). Of all the vines listed, only Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) is evergreen (usually), but as noted above, it requires more light.

You may find it useful to contact your local experts...  Georgia Native Plant Society Newsletter will link you to people in your area. Their advice can be really useful! Here is a link to an article about vines for Georgia:

Native Vines article from Georgia Native Plant Society

One note – some of the feedback online (and my own experiences down here in Texas) suggests that not only do some of these vines do well in your locale; they may do SO well that you will need to keep them in check. In designing your beds, you may want to keep this in mind and design them such that escape by running roots is limited.

Concerning your Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), which is not native and not really in our scope of expertise, here are a couple of suggestions. Carefully remove one from the pot to see if there's an obvious problem such as soggy or compacted soil, evidence of pests or disease, or so many roots that it clearly needs potting on into a larger container. The soil in pots becomes compacted over time, and harder to keep evenly watered, so periodic repotting is often a good idea. More sun won't hurt, and long-term, it would probably be easier to care for them if they were planted in the ground.

Search the Native Plants database any time for more information on our native species. Our database is always growing and adding new information. The search tools allow you to narrow searches by state, by plant type, and for various growing conditions. There are also recommended plant lists by state.

Decumaria barbara (woodvamp)

Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria):

Apios americana (groundnut)

Clematis virginiana(devil's darning needles)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet)

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine)


Decumaria barbara

Wisteria frutescens


Bignonia capreolata

Celastrus scandens

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Apios americana

Clematis virginiana

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