Best Vines For Hot Gardens: Tips On Growing Drought Tolerant Vines

Best Vines For Hot Gardens: Tips On Growing Drought Tolerant Vines

By: Amy Grant

If you are a gardener living in a hot, arid climate, I’m sure you have researched and/or tried a number of drought-tolerant plant varieties. There are many drought-resistant vines suited for dry gardens. The following discusses some excellent vines for hot gardens.

Why Grow Drought Tolerant Climbing Plants?

Growing drought tolerant vines satisfies several criteria. The most obvious being their need for very little water; they aren’t cactus though, and do require some.

Often hand in hand with lack of water is oppressive heat. Growing drought tolerant vines creates a natural arbor of shade that is often 10 degrees F (5.5 C.) cooler than the surrounding sun-drenched landscape.

Vines that can handle drought can also be planted right up against the house, again lending a curtain of greenery while cooling the inside temperature. Vines for hot gardens also provide wind protection, thus reducing dust, sun glare and reflected heat.

Vines, in general, add an interesting vertical line in the landscape and can act as a divider, barrier or privacy screen. Many vines have gorgeous flowers that add color and aroma. All this without taking up much ground space.

Types of Vines That Can Handle Drought

There are four main types of vines:

  • Twining vines have stems that wrap around any available support.
  • Tendril climbing vines are vines that support themselves via tendrils and side shoots up anything they can grab onto. These and twining types are suited to training up baffles, fences, pipes, trellises, posts or wooden towers.
  • Self-climbing vines, which will attach themselves to rough surfaces like brick, concrete, or stone. These vines have aerial rootlets or adhesive “feet.”
  • Non-climbing shrub vines are the fourth group. They grow long branches with no means of climbing and must be tied and trained by the gardener.

List of Drought Resistant Vines

  • Arizona grape ivy – Arizona grape ivy is hardy to sunset zones 10-13. It is a slow growing deciduous vine that can be trained up walls, fences or trellises. It can become invasive and may need to be pruned to control it. It will freeze to the ground at temps below 20 degrees F. (-6 C.).
  • Bougainvillea – Bougainvillea is a showy bloomer from early summer through fall good for sunset zones 12-21, which requires very little water. It will need to be tied to a support.
  • Honeysuckle – Hardy in sunset zones 9-24, Cape honeysuckle is an evergreen shrubby vine that must be tied to supporting structures to develop a true vine habit. It is native to Africa and has vibrant orange-red tubular flowers.
  • Carolina jessamine – Carolina jessamine uses twining stems to clamber up fences, trellises or walls. It can get very top heavy and should be pruned by 1/3 each year. All parts of the plant are poisonous.
  • Cat’s claw vine – Cat’s claw vine (sunset zones 8-24) is an aggressive, rapidly growing vine that attaches itself to most any surface with claw-like tendrils. It has yellow two-inch (5 cm.), trumpet-shaped flowers in the spring and is great if you have a large vertical surface needing cover.
  • Creeping fig – Creeping fig needs a medium amount of water and is an evergreen vine useful in sunset zones 8-24 attaching itself via aerial rootlets.
  • Crossvine – Crossvine is a self-climbing vine hardy to sunset zones 4-9. An evergreen, foliage turns reddish-purple in the fall.
  • Desert snapdragon – Desert snapdragon vine climbs via tendrils and is hardy to sunset zone 12. It is a smaller herbaceous vine capable of covering about a 3 foot (1 m.) area. It is ideal in hanging baskets or small trellises or gates.
  • Grape – Grape grows rapidly, is deciduous with edible fruit, and is hardy to sunset zones 1-22.
  • Hacienda creeper – Hacienda creeper (zones 10-12) looks much akin to the Virginia creeper but with smaller leaves. It does best with some protection from the hot afternoon sun in the summer.
  • Jasmine – Primrose jasmine (zone 12) has a sprawling evergreen shrubby habit that can be trained to a trellis to show off its 1-2 inch (2.5-5 cm.) double yellow blooms. Star jasmine is hardy through zones 8-24 and a gorgeous evergreen with thick, leathery leaves and bunches of star-shaped, aromatic white flowers.
  • Lady Bank’s rose – Lady Bank’s rose is a non-climbing rose needs some shade as well during the heat of the day and is hardy to sunset zones 10-12. It can rapidly cover areas of 20 feet (6 m.) or more in a profusion of blossoms.
  • Mexican flame vine – Mexican flame vine is hardy to zone 12 and also needs very little water. Butterflies love its orange-red clusters of flowers and it is resistant to pests and diseases.
  • Silver lace vine – Silver lace vine is hardy to zones 10-12 and a deciduous twining vine with, as its name suggests, grayish foliage bearing huge masses of delicate white blooms in summer and fall.
  • Trumpet vine – Pink Trumpet vine is fast growing and easy to grow and, once established, tolerates heat, sun, wind and drought as well as light frost. Violet trumpet vine is good to zones 9 and 12-28, has interesting leaves and trumpet-shaped lavender flowers with purple veins.
  • Yucca vine – Also called yellow morning glory, this fast growing vine dies back at 32 degrees F. (0 C.) but is very drought tolerant. Use in sunset zones 12-24.
  • Wisteria – Wisteria is long living, tolerates alkaline soils and needs little water with a reward of vast swaths of lilac, white, blue or pink blossoms in early summer.

This list is not a comprehensive listing of all drought tolerant climbing plants but meant to be a starting point. There are also a number of annual vines suited to growing in dry climates such as:

  • Scarlet Runner bean
  • Hyacinth bean
  • Cup and Saucer vine
  • Sweet Peas
  • Black-eyed Susan vine
  • Ornamental gourds

This article was last updated on

Read more about Xeriscape Gardens

Vines that will tolerate little to no sun at all - Knowledgebase Question

Can you suggest a couple of options for vines that would thrive in a little to no shade location, self climbers if possible. Thanks

Here are some vines that grow well in Tucson and Phoenix, some for sun, some for shade:
The 'snail' in Snail Vine has nothing to do with its rate of growth. The ones I planted in the fall have topped an 8' fence and started back down. Full sun and apparently loving it. Also grows in full shade.

Hall's Honeysuckle: in the shade the blooms are skimpy likes sun.

Bower vines (white and pink) full.

Passiflora Lavender Lady, morning sun, afternoon shade.

Passiflora alata Ruby Glow, morning sun, afternoon shade.

Purple Hyancinth Bean, full sun.

Wisteria, full sun. So feared in the Valley. yet so wonderful.

Petrea volubulis Purple Wreath, Queen's Wreath, Sandpaper Vine. Interesting sandy texture to leaves, beautiful lilac racemes. Needs partly shady conditions in Phx, needs at least biweekly water in the summer, monthly + in winter. Twines, needs support.

Cat's Claw, Macfadyena unguis-cati Often seen in full sun situations, can handle hot walls. Has bright yellow tubular blooms, will bloom near the newer ends. Grows from underground tubers that can be difficult to eradicate. Has "feet" that attach to anything. Very drought tolerant but invasive in wet areas.

Queen's Wreath Antigonon leptopus: Fast growing with regular water, deciduous, heart shaped leaves with red or pink blooms. Can take full sun situations.

Bougainvillea spp. Not actually a vine, but can be grown as one with proper pruning. Can also be grown as bush. Variety of bloom colors ranging from red, to hot pink, to white, purple and gold. Flowers are actually tiny, encased in the showy, papery bracts. Can take hot, dry situations once established. The more water it gets, the more leaves it gets - bracts appear generously on plants kept on the dry side. Care is needed when planting as the root ball is very fragile and barely tolerates transplanting. Needs trellising, has thorns and papery bracts shed quite a bit. Most species are not frost tolerant, but will regrow when weather warms.

Ficus pumila Climbing fig - most attractive when juvenile, leaves are small and round. More mature growth has larger leaves and can pull away from wall if not pruned. Best grown on the North side of buildings, will tolerate little sun. Will cling to walls, can remove paint! Inconspicuous, rare flowers.

Mascagnia macroterpa Takes full sun or part shade loves the heat. Low water use- 1-2 times per month when growing. Needs trellising.

Yuca vine (Merremia aurea). This one has dark green leaves and huge brigh yellow flowers from late spring to fall. Sometimes it is nipped by frost in colder locations (below 25 degrees), but it comes back vigorously as soon as temperatures warm up. It grows at a moderate rate with twining stems to a mature size of about 10' x 10'.

Pink Trumpet Vine which is Podranea ricasoliana. (Sometimes this one is confused with Pandorea). I've grown this one at one home where it received western sun/reflected heat and another where it had a southern exposure and grew on a lath patio cover.

Another great choice is Lavender Orchid Vine (Mascagnia lilacina), which grows at a moderate rate with twining stems and produces purple flowers. Mature size is about 10 x 10.

Our native passion vine, Baja Passion Vine (Passiflora foetida) is perfect for our southwest landscapes. It has small but showy white and purple flowers and its gray-green leaves are very soft. This one might be a little harder to find but is worth the effort.



Annual in areas that get below 45 F, but can still reseed and come back year after year on their own perennial in warmer, more tropical climates.


6 to 12 feet, or more depending on variety.


Bloom Time:


Varieties available in purple, blue, red, white, pink and bi-colored.


Morning glory seeds are highly toxic if ingested.

Are morning glory vines invasive?

Morning glories are often mistaken for their aggressive and invasive cousin, field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), also called creeping Jenny, but they are two different species. Morning glories are from the family Ipomoea and, yes, can also be hard to handle and stubborn. They grow quite rapidly and will aggressively self-seed if not prevented by cutting back and removing seed pods, and some varieties have been declared invasive in certain areas. Field bindweed, on the other hand, sends out deep roots that make it nearly impossible to get rid of. These deep roots also allow it to overwinter in colder climates to return again and again. Field bindweed blooms in white or pink flowers and usually has smaller leaves than morning glory.

Drought-Tolerant Flowers

The best way to get the beauty of flowers in a Texas landscape with the benefit of drought tolerance is to focus on flowering perennials over annuals.

Columbine, a Texas native, has exotic, golden flowers and delicate foliage that bring a bit of sunshine to any Texas commercial property. Blackfoot daisy is extremely hardy in hot Texas summers and brings broad, white rays of petals surrounding small, yellow disks. Coreopsis has round, yellow, fuzzy flowers that bloom in late spring to summer.

19 Climbing Plants Fit For Your Trellis And Arbors

I’ve always been enchanted by flowering vines over archways, or in canopies of arbors. These trailing vines and their beautiful flowers seem to reach out to you. Take it from Spanish stones villages and cozy cottages. Aren’t they just charming?

But before you get carried away with these thoughts, check out these amazing climbing plants. I’m sure you’ll find an inspiration or two for something to boost your garden. An arbor or trellis with pretty climbing plants should be a great idea. Any of these charming plants would be ideal.

1. Clematis

Probably the most popular among gardeners, it’s got a whole lot of different variations with various colors, flower structures, and blooming seasons. Most species though bloom during fall and spring. Take on the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ for their head-turning large purple flowers.

2. Honeysuckle

Invite hummingbirds over to your garden with this flowering vine. An edible sweet nectar can be sucked in its flowers, hence the name.

Most Honeysuckles have a bonus sweet scent too.

3. Wisteria Vines

These popular ornamental plants will amp up any bare arbor or wall. With the profusion of flowers, transform your boring arbor into a place worth hanging out in.

To encourage more flowers, prune back side shoots to the base in early spring.

4. Yellow Bells

You’ll find this flowering plant common in the tropical areas of the world. They just love the full sun and are drought-tolerant. Yellow Bells have uniquely attractive, but quite mild fragrance that can also attract hummingbirds as well as butterflies.

5. Climbing Hydrangea

The climbing hydrangeas can grow without support by forming a mound. But growing them over arbors or in trellises would be better because of their lovely flowers and fragrant blooms. While climbing hydrangea does not normally need pruning, you can still do so to preserve and manage new shoots.

6. Climbing Roses

Some of the world’s botanical displays and flower gardens feature climbing roses in walls and arches. Bring that loveliness into your garden by growing beautiful climbing roses, like the Joseph’s Coat variety.

7. Jasmine

You’ll find all sorts of home and personal care products in jasmine scent. So why not grow and enjoy the real scent in the real flowers? Although most jasmine plants can be normally found in tropical areas, some of these fragrant flowers can also bloom in temperate zones.

8. Red Trumpet Vine

This climbing plant with dainty red flowers can also attract hummingbirds. Some birds may even nest in its dense foliage. They can grow to be massive, so don’t be modest when pruning.

9. Vine Rangoon Creeper Flowers

You can grow this climbing plant native in tropical forests in USDA Zones 9, 10, and 11. Don’t worry about them losing foliage over the winter as they’re perennials. Get fascinated with how its color changes as it matures. At onset, it will bloom white then slowly darkens to pink. As it reaches maturity, it will turn into a lovely red-colored flower.

10. Passion Fruit

This tropical flowering vine has a bonus. It bears exotic fruits that have a rich aroma and flavor. If you haven’t tried this fruit before, then it’s high time you explore it.

But if you have and loved it, then try the recipe below.

Check this Gordon Ramsey passion fruit recipe from macopoloo. You might want to try it and be inspired to grow a passion fruit vine!

11. Pink Coral Vines

They may grow to be abundant and massive, but the pink flowers (which I am partial to) can be very cute and pretty. They can transform an old fence into a rustic garden structure. Pink coral vines flourish on hot walls and when already established, this is one of the climbing plants that’s drought tolerant.

12. Gloryblower

These are flowering vines native to West Africa, but it looks like they’ve now invaded the rest of the world.

Plant them in areas that get full on morning sunshine and an afternoon shade.

Pruning should be done in order to keep its shape but do the pruning once the plant has stopped flowering.

13. Bleeding Heart Vine

Glory blower is another name for bleeding heart vines. And this is another interesting color to the climbing plant variety. It would help to note these plants may like moist soil, but they don’t like getting soaked and soggy.

14. Sweet Peas

Invite beneficial insects like bees and butterflies over to your garden with the pretty pink blooms of this flowering vine. Its name is quite fitting and I’m sure you’ll also wish to get close to it because of its sweet smell. Sweet peas thrive on areas with long, cool summers.

15. Chocolate Vine

Although the dark color of its flowers attributes to its name, it’s spicy and chocolatey scent is more responsible for its etymology. They’re fairly easy to grow and are drought tolerant. It can reach the height of 15 to 20 feet at its mature stage and normally produces gorgeous lilac flowers starting from May until June.

16. Hoya Bella

Growing the hoya can be a challenge, but the silky and dainty flowers are worth the effort. They make a good container plant. The secret in successfully growing hoya bellas is to water them regularly and make sure not to let it dry out.

17. Purple Queen’s Wreath Vine

It’s also called the sandpaper vine because of its coarse leaves. But, the flowers are a sharp contrast with their softness and delicacy. Although the vine plant is a tropical plant, it’s also a perennial that may shed its leaves in winter and grow back in spring.

18. Hops

Hops aren’t only for brewing beer, they have some health benefits too. Plus, they look really good in trellises and arbors.

If you want hops that produces cones, make sure to plant a female one. Hops vines may come in either male or female and only female hops produces cones.

19. Grapevine

This is one climbing plant worthy of both your arbor and your palate. Growing it is fairly easy too. Just make sure to do regular pruning if you want to let it produce quality fruit yields and to keep it healthy.

Learn how to build a grape arbor in this practical garden season guide.

Learn how to train the vine of a climbing plant in this video from Howcast:

Finally decided to add a climbing plant in your beautiful garden? With this extensive selection, I’m sure growing climbing plants will soon make it to your gardening activity list!

Got enchanted with these flowering vines? Which of them are you planning to plant first in your garden? Type in your thoughts by posting them in the comments section below!

Check out some metal arbor ideas here for a climbing plant to cling to.

Plants that Tolerate Drought

There are many drought tolerant plants available for your particular climate. For plants that smell good and look even better, check with your local garden center to find out which of these treasures grow best in your area.

Plus, you can raise many of them from seeds if you start them indoors and if you have the time. Overall, many of them will thrive and bloom for years to come.

Portulaca Grandiflora or Rose Moss


Rose moss blooms all summer long until the first frost. Its red, orange and yellow flowers love hot sunshine so much they don’t open on rainy days. And this annual from South America doesn’t need much water or care to thrive. It even self-seeds.

Gardeners appreciate Portulaca grandiflora for being one of the most beautiful ground cover plants, perfect for covering rock walls and alongside pathways. Each plant grows up to eight inches tall and about a foot wide.

Pelargonium Odoratissimum or Apple Geranium


Most varieties of geranium grow well in hot weather with infrequent watering. This makes the Apple Geranium ideal for hanging basket flowers. It’s also why flower shops recommend them as gifts. They can live for decades and it’s easy to start new plants from their cuttings.

The Apple Geranium, or Pelargonium odoratissimum, one of the most drought-tolerant plants, is a fragrant type of flowering plant with small star-shaped blooms with purple, pink, or white petals. It flowers throughout spring and summer. At that time it needs moderate watering, but almost none at all during the winter.

An added bonus of geraniums is that they repel insects like mosquitoes, gnats, and other annoying creatures. Put a few plants in strategic locations outside to keep the pests away.

Trumpet Vine or Campsis Radicans


If you’re battling erosion on a hillside, plant trumpet vine there. It also looks excellent decorating a fence. But keep it away from the siding on a house because it’s runners will cause damage.

If cut regularly, it is also one of the most beautiful hanging plants for baskets. Trumpet vines are hardy plants that spread aggressively and live for decades. And although they die back each winter, they’re quick to spring back to life in the spring.

Campsis radicans is a fast climber that grows well in poor soil and full sunlight. When it blooms in springtime, it produces yellow, orange, and red flowers. And the blossoms attract hummingbirds, too.

Wild Lilac or Ceanothus


Remember how Americans dumped British tea overboard in Boston Harbor? During the American Revolution, there wasn’t much black tea to go around. But people improvised with the leaves of the wild lilac plant.

Ceanothus shrubs are very drought tolerant plants except for their first summer. They can live up to twenty-five years, but their seeds are viable for more than a hundred years. And their fragrant blooms last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the variety.



Common jasmine, or jasmine officinale, is the national flower of Pakistan and is one of the popular low growing shrubs. This Asian plant smells best at twilight. The fragrance can be quite overpowering and people either love it or hate it.

Jasmine oil appears in perfumes, candies, and alcohols. The oil is also reported to be an aphrodisiac that also relieves depression and stress.

Jasmine is a vining shrub that loves to climb trees, fences, or anything else it grows near. The bush begins to bloom in the springtime and continues to produce flowers into the fall.

It prefers full sunlight or partial shade and well-drained soil. If grown as one of the shade plants, the flowers may not be as prolific.

Verbena Bonariensis or Argentinian Vervain


Vervain’s purple flowers appear throughout the summer into autumn. It’s a native of South America that prefers well-drained soil and bright sunlight.

It is a popular natural pest control plant as it fights the fungus gnat larvae. While it requires pruning, it’s usually resistant to diseases and pests. Furthermore, it attracts pollinating insects like bees and butterflies.

You’re likely to see Vervain planted in cottage gardens and along borders. It self-seeds, which can turn it into an invasive plant if the flowers aren’t pinched off or dead-headed.

Aloe Vera – Drought Resistant Plants


No article about drought-resistant plants would be complete without aloe. But did you know that aloe comes in different varieties besides the medicinal houseplants that clean the air? For example, aloe arborescens, or candelabra aloe, reaches ten feet in height. It also sprouts bright red flowers.

Meanwhile, variegated tiger aloe is an attractive addition to outdoor flower beds. And both carmine and sunset aloe are red, not green. Best of all, many varieties have health benefits like aloe vera.

Fountain Grass or Pennisetum Setaceum


The ultimate plant for dry conditions may be fountain grass. It doesn’t require watering to thrive. This dense green and purple grass grows in clumps that reach five feet tall. And its tips feather out into pinkish plumes before it produces seeds.

Should you irrigate Pennisetum setaceum, its colors deepen, and its foliage shines. Besides placing it besides water features or along fences, it also performs well in containers. This is one of the best hard to kill plants.

Felicia Amelloides or Blue Daisy


Blue daisies, specifically the Santa Anita Variegated variety, are annual shrubs that bloom throughout the summer. If you pinch back young shoots, they branch out into bushes. And Felicia isn’t picky about soil as long as it’s well-drained and it has plenty of light.

These fast-growing plants make a lovely blue carpet in beds. Or they grow well in containers, too. Their maximum height is just ten inches, perfect for the ground cover.



It’s ironic that Drosanthemum is part of the ice plant family since it’s a native of southern Africa where one would not anticipate cold weather. It is one of the most tolerant and resistant plants around. But this is a flower that needs cool weather in the winter to be at its best blooming in the summer.

Keep thedrosanthemum well-drained sandy soil with bright sunshine. Although it needs more water while it’s flowering, it won’t need much moisture at all in the winter. If you provide the minimum care it needs, drosanthemum will live for years.

Catmint or Nepeta


Catmint belongs to the mint family and is closely related to that feline favorite, catnip. But catmint is an aromatic ornamental plant that’s irresistible to butterflies and bees, not just cats. It flowers from early summer until the beginning of autumn.

If you can give Nepeta at least a half-day of sunshine, it will reward you with lots of elegant little blue blossoms. It can thrive in almost any kind of soil and with very little water.



Of course, succulent plants are simple to nurture in drought conditions. Echeveria is a family of succulents with fleshy rosette leaves.

Some are a bright green while others have reddish tips. Some reach up to a foot in width, but most are smaller in diameter. And they can propagate from a single leaf.

Let the soil dry out between waterings to avoid root rot. And if you grow Echeveria in containers, use cactus potting soil for best results.

Colorful Drought Resistant Plants: Lavender


Our final pick for plants that flourish in dry conditions is lavender. These aromatic evergreen shrubs grow in the fields of France as well as parking lot planters in southern California. Plus, it is one of the best mosquito repelling plants and can serve as a border or hedge or accent a container garden.

If you cultivate lavender, you’ll enjoy benefits beyond its beauty. First, its scent repels predatory insects. Second, its flowers are a tasty complement to mint in teas. And third, it’s a natural air freshener even when it’s dried.

We’re fans of drought resistant plants like lavender, geraniums, fountain grass, and aloe. Not everyone realizes how easy it is to care for them.

As you saw, there are many hardy flowers, bushes, and vines that provide striking accents for beds, walkways, and walls. Some prosper in poor soil, too.


If you liked our article today, please share it. We hoped we brightened up your day by showing you brilliant possibilities for your garden. Please pass the good news around to your friends, too.