Steven Gunther
Dotted with rosy peach blooms a black-eyed Susan vine climbs over the archway of Pam Brady and Jeff Higgin's home in San Juan Capistrano CA.

Nine great summer bloomers

Sharon Cohoon  – February 17, 2005

In a hurry for summer color? Chances are your nursery has a morning glory or black-eyed Susan vine already growing in a container. Just pop it into the ground or a large pot and watch it race to the sky. You’ll have a tower of flowers in no time.

Containerized summer vines are a growing trend, thanks to innovative wholesale growers like Log House Plants in Cottage Grove, Oregon. The firm was one of the first to supply nurseries with starter plants, giving gardeners a faster option than sowing seeds. The vines listed below are the most widely available. Look for them in 4-inch, 1-gallon, and even 5-gallon sizes.

Give your plant a sunny location, moderate water, and some type of support. If transplanting into the ground, plant near an existing arbor, pergola, or fence or make a tepee of bamboo poles. If you prefer to start annuals from seed, sow directly in the ground after the danger of frost has passed.

 Summer bloomers

Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata). Dark-throated tubular flowers in shades of orange, peach, pink, yellow, or white. Reaches 10 feet tall.



Thomas J. Story
Bow tie vine

Bow tie vine (Dalechampia dioscoreifolia; also sold as Costa Rican butterfly vine). Showy purple bracts enclose tiny yellow flowers. Needs adequate warmth for abundant bloom. Tolerates light shade. To 16–25 feet.

Canary creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum). Feathery, bright yellow blooms. Prefers light shade. To 15 feet.

Climbing snapdragon (Asarina scandens). Tubular flowers in shades of purple, rose, or white. Great choice for containers. To 4–8 feet.

Cup-and-saucer vine (Cobaea scandens). Large, bell-shaped flowers in rosy purple or white. Vigorous growth; to 25 feet.

Hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab). Purple flowers shaped like sweet pea blossoms are followed by magenta pods. To 10 feet.

Morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor). Cheery, bell-shaped flowers in blue, pink, red, white, and many variations. To 8–15 feet.

Scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus). Scarlet flowers are followed by edible bean pods. To 15 feet.

Spanish flag (Ipomoea lobata). Tubular flowers open red and fade to orange and cream. To 15 feet.