Home Butterflies Native Vines of the Southeast

Native of the

Some Native of the Southeast are hardy while others are tough yet tender and offer a minimal growing range.

The Southeast region stretches from sub tropical to eastern Texas and north to Kentucky and .

They deal with heat and humidity much of the year while the risk of cold and snow looms any given winter.

You are fortunate, however, to have large and diverse group of native trees, shrubs, vining and other plants.

of the Southeast offer a wealth of food and cover for wildlife, and can crate a dramatic flush of color in season. They also work well in the southeast landscape and many of the opulent homes and estates.

But why native?

Northern cardinals, robins, Cedar waxwings and other birds dine on their preferred native fruits. Native create nesting sites as well as host plants for many of your butterflies like Pipevine swallowtails and well as other species.

They offer canopies and cool spots for the weary gardener to rest.

Check out the nice array of native of the Southeast.

Apois tuberosa or americana:

Common : Ground Nut

Zone: 3 to 9

Plant Type: Vining

Native Range: Eastern 2/3 of the United States and Ontario and Quebec,

Height: 15 to 20 feet

Spread: 4 to 6 feet

Time: Late / Mid

Color: lavender/Maroon in rare occasions purple.

: to Partial

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Medium

Tubers or ground nuts are edible.

The Ground Nut is an aboriginal plant to the United States and it’s remnants have been found in archaeological digs of Native American campsites in southern that go back 9,000 years.

The plant is a climber that develops pinkish-lavender and maroon flowers which form in clusters that are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.

are fragrant.

This plant may be considered a protected species check before digging or gathering seeds.

Suitable for growing in containers.

Aristolochia tomentosa

Common : Dutchman’s pipe

Zone: 5 to 8

Plant Type: Vine

Family: Aristolochiaceae

Native Range: Southeastern and south-central United States. Expanded plantings into Wisconsin, Michigan, and much of the region have expanded the range of the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly.

Height: 20 to 30 feet

Spread: 5 to 10 feet

Time: —

Color: Greenish yellow

: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium


Showy flowers attract butterflies. Host plant to Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers rich, moist soils. Intolerant of dry soils. If needed, cut back in late winter to control growth. Grows well from seed.

This species of Dutchman’s pipe is a woody, deciduous, twining that typically occurs along streams and in moist woods. It is typically seen in the wild climbing trees or shrubs and can rapidly grow to 20-30′ tall. Features large, heart-shaped, densely-overlapping leaves (4-8″ long) which can quickly cover an arbor or trellis with deep green foliage.

Commonly called Dutchman’s pipe because the unusual, 2″ long, yellowish-green, curved-trumpet flowers (each flaring at the calyx mouth to form three brownish-purple lobes) superficially resemble Dutch smoking pipes. Although the flowers make interesting conversation pieces, they are usually hidden by the dense foliage and are somewhat inconspicuous. give way to ribbed, tubular seed capsules (to 3″ long) which mature to a grayish-brown in September.

The leaves, young stems and flowers of this native are hairy (tomentose as the species name suggests). Very similar to A. macrophylla which is native to eastern , except A. macrophylla is basically glabrous (smooth). Aristolochia is a larval plant for the pipe vine swallowtail butterfly.

No serious insect or disease problems.

Can provide dense cover for sun porches, verandas, pillars, posts, trellises, arbors, fences or walls. Has been popularly used for many years to screen front porches. good selection for a butterfly garden.

Bignonia capreolata:

Common : cross vine

Zone: 5 to 9

Plant Type: Vining

Family: Bignoniaceae

Native Range: portion of the northeast and well established into the deep south. Possible to grow in some northern regions., into southern Ontario with winter protection.

Height: 35 to 50 feet

Spread: 6 to 9 feet

Time: —

Color: Orange-red

: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Medium

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade, but best flower production occurs in sun. Prune after flowering if needed. Above ground stems are not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where they may die to the ground in severe winters (roots are usually hardy therein and will sprout new growth the following spring). colder areas, it is best to plant this native vine in a protected location and apply a winter mulch. Established plants may send up root suckers which should be removed if spread is not desired.

vine is a vigorous, semi-evergreen, woody native vine which climbs by tendrils. It is grown primarily for its orange-red, trumpet-shaped spring flowers and for its ability to rapidly cover structures with attractive foliage.

the wild, it typically grows 35-50′ (less frequently to 70′) and is often found climbing up the trunks of tall trees or sprawling along the ground. cultivation, it usually grows shorter. Foliage remains evergreen in the , but turns reddish-purple in fall with subsequent leaf drop in the coldest areas of its range.

Fragrant, trumpet-shaped, orange-red flowers (to 2″ long) appear in spring. are followed by greenish, pod-like seed capsules (to 7″ long) which mature in late summer and persist into fall. A cross section of stem reveals a marking resembling the Greek cross, hence the common name.

There are plenty of native vines to look into, just remember to look at hardiness zones first.

Campsis radicans:

Common : trumpet creeper

Zone: 4 to 9

Native Vines of the Southeast image 1

Plant Type: Vining

Family: Bignoniaceae

Native Range: Southeastern United States and beyond as it is naturalized throughout the Great Lakes.

Height: 25 to 40 feet

Spread: 5 to 20 feet

Color: Orange, scarlet

Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium


A fast growing native vine with flowers that attract hummingbirds. naturalize and take over if not kept in check.

Easily grown in most soils. in lean to average soils with regular moisture in full sun. Foliage grows well in shade, but plants need good sun for best flowering

The problem with trumpet vine is usually not how to grow it but how to restrain it. This native vine blooms on new growth, so early spring pruning will not affect the flowering. must be grown on sturdy structures because mature plants produce considerable weight. This is an extremely aggressive plant which suckers profusely from underground runners and freely self-seeds.

Celastrus scandens:

Common : American bittersweet

Zone: 3 to 8

Plant Type: Vining

Family: Celastraceae

Native Range:

Height: 15 to 20 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Time: —

Color: Greenish-white to yellow

: Full sun

: Full sun

Water: Medium


Not to be confused with the invasive Oriental Bittersweet (C. orbiculatus ).

Attracts birds and other wildlife.

Fall and winter interest.

Easily grown in most soils.

in lean to average soils with regular moisture in full sun. soils help restrain growth. grow in part shade, but needs full sun for best flowering and subsequent fruit display. Prune in late winter to early spring. Mature vines require little pruning other than removal of dead or excess growth.

These native vines are primarily dioecious (separate male and female plants), although some have a few perfect flowers. Female plants need a male pollinator to produce the attractive fruit that is the signature of this vine.

Unfortunately, some nurseries do not sell the vines as male or female (as is commonly done with hollies). Generally one male plant is needed for 6-9 female plants. Female plants may be vegetatively propagated to create more female plants.

American bittersweet is a deciduous twining woody native vine that is best known for its showy red berries that brighten up fall and winter landscapes. This species is native to central and eastern .

Fruits split open in fall to reveal scarlet fleshy berry-like seeds (arils). Fruits are poisonous if ingested, but are considered to be quite tasty by many birds.

A native vine for woodland gardens, naturalized areas. Provides quick cover for fences, arbors, trellises, posts, walls or other structures in the landscape. Also may be grown along the ground to camouflage rock piles or old tree stumps.

Clematis virginiana:

Common : woodbine

Zone: 3 to 9

Plant Type: Vine

Family: Ranunculaceae

Native Range: Eastern

Height: 12 to 20 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Time: — October


: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium to wet


Plant will naturalize. Showy fragrant white flowers in late summer through early fall.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. This species will thrive and bloom in considerable shade. Blooms on current year’s growth. be pruned back hard (to 8-12″ from the ground) to strong leaf buds in fall after flowering or in late winter to early spring.

A native vine that needs adequate supply of nutrients during the growing season to support rush of growth. Can spread aggressively by self-seeding and suckering.

Woodbine is a fall-blooming native vine that is somewhat similar in flower to the introduced species autumn clematis (C. terniflora), but lacks the tough, leathery leaves of the latter.

It is native to eastern , where it typically occurs in moist low woodland areas and thickets bordering streams, ponds and fence rows.

A vigorous, deciduous, twining native vine with a rampant growth habit. If given support, it will climb rapidly with the aid of tendrilous leaf petioles to 20′. Without support, it will sprawl along the ground as a dense, tangled ground cover. Features sweetly aromatic, 1.25″ diameter, pure white flowers (each with 4 narrow petal-like sepals) in axillary panicles from late to October in a profuse bloom which typically covers the foliage.

Other native vine species of Clematis is C. occidentalis or purple clematis, western blue virgin’s-bower.

the eastern U.S., purple clematis is listed as Endangered in Illinois, , and Rhode Island of Special Concern in Massachusetts, Maine, and Wisconsin and Presumed Extirpated in Ohio.

Clematis crispa: (leatherflower) KY., TN., VA., and southern IL., and all of south

Clematis pitcheri: (leather flower, purple clematis) parts of KY., TN., IN. and IL. and much of the lower Midwest

Decumaria barbara:

Family: Hydrangeaceae

Common name: Climbing hydrangea, Woodvamp:

Water Use: Medium

Requirement: Part

Soil Moisture: Moist

Duration: Perennial

Habit: Vining

Leaf Retention: Deciduous

Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Size Notes: Climber

Leaf Color: Dark, glossy green. Fall color is white and green.

Flower Size: 2 to 4 inches across


Time: — Oct

Notes: Blooms on new wood. only bloom when climbing, not when trailing on the ground. held 1 to 2 feet from climbing surface.

Native Vines of the Southeast image 2

Fruit Length: 1/4 inch

Fruit Color: tan

Common name: Climbing hydrangea, Woodvamp:

A native vine to most of the southeast, but can be found beyond native habitat. A woody vine to 30 ft., attaching by rootlets, with smooth, shiny, round to oval, deciduous leaves and fragrant flowers in flat-topped terminal clusters. Individual flowers are small and pale white with numerous stamens, held 1 to 2 feet from climbing surface. The subsequent fruiting capsules are urn-shaped.

Unlike some forest vines, it maintains full leaf coverage from shady ground to sunny canopy, with glossy, dark green foliage providing an airy backdrop to the ethereal white blooms. Though it can be used as both a trailing groundcover and a climber, it will only bloom when climbing, and then only on new wood.

Great for moist Southeastern gardens with seasonal flooding. Climbing hydrangea can be used as a ground cover, a high climber on trees, or a cover for ledges rock outcrops, though it will only bloom when climbing. It is well-suited to moist situations.

Gelsemium sempervirens:

Common : yellow jasmine

Zone: 7 to 10

Plant Type: Vining

Family: Loganiaceae

Native Range: United States, Mexico, Guatemala

Height: 12 to 20 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Time: February —

Color: Yellow

: Full sun

Water: Medium


Showy fragrant flowers.

General Culture:

It is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best flowering and growth occur in full sun. grow as a twining, vining plant, or if unsupported as a bushy ground cover. It should be sited in a protected location insulated from winter winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

and foliage are poisonous if ingested.

False jasmine (also false jasmine) is an evergreen vining native from to west to Texas and Central . It is typically found in open woods, thickets and along roads. , fragrant, funnel-shaped, yellow flowers (to 1.5″ long) appear either solitary or in clusters (cymes) in late winter to early spring (February — depending on location). often serve as a demonstrative signal that winter is coming to an end. False jasmine grows on wiry reddish-brown stems to 20′ long.

As a bushy ground cover, this native vine grows to 3′ tall and will sprawl somewhat indefinitely by runners. Shiny, lanceolate, light green leaves (to 1-3″ long) are evergreen, but may develop yellow to purple hues in winter. Plants are semi-evergreen toward the northern limits of their growing range. The name of this vine is varyingly spelled as jasmine or jessamine. jasmine was named the official flower of in 1924.

No serious insect or disease problems.

Grow this native vine on a trellis, arbor, pergola, fence or wall. porch cover. Formal ground cover. Informal ground cover for slopes or banks where it can sprawl and naturalize. Containers for patios where it can sprawl over the sides. Climb into smaller trees where early flowering is especially noticeable.

Lonicera sempervirens

Common : trumpet honeysuckle

Zone: 4 to 9

Plant Type: Vine

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Native Range: Eastern and central United States

Height: 10 to 20 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Time: —

Color: /orange with yellow inside

: Full sun



A native climber with attractive flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators, showy fruits offer food for birds

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates shade, but the profuseness of flowering is inversely proportional to the amount of shade. Adapts to a wide range of soils. Prefers moist, loamy soils. Blooms primarily on previous year’s stems, so prune to shape after flowering.

Trumpet honeysuckle is a vigorous, deciduous, twining native vine which typically grows 10-15′ (less frequently to 20′) and is one of the showiest of the native vining honeysuckles. Large, non-fragrant, narrow, trumpet-shaped flowers are scarlet to orangish red on the outside and yellowish inside.

appear in late spring at stem ends in whorled clusters. give way to small red berries which mature in fall and are attractive to birds.

Oval, bluish-green leaves on this native vine are glaucous beneath. This native vine is evergreen in the warm winter climates of the deep , hence the species name of sempervirens (meaning «evergreen» in Latin). Although probably not indigenous to many parts trumpet honeysuckle has escaped cultivation and naturalized in some areas.

No serious insect or disease problems.

grown on trellises, fences, arbors or pergolas.

Lonicera dioica (limber or wild honeysuckle) is a more wild form of native vine honeysuckle that is used for larger habitats.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Common : creeper

Zone: 3 to 9

Plant Type: Vining

Family: Vitaceae

Native Range: Eastern United States to Mexico

Height: 30 to 50 feet

Spread: 5 to 10 feet

Time: —

Color: Greenish white

: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Medium

Fruit attracts birds, foliage has attractive fall color and fall color and the showy fruit lasts into winter.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade and a wide range of soil and environmental conditions.

This native is a deciduous, woody fast climber, that is found in open areas in ravines, rich woods and valleys. A vigorous tendril-climber that needs no support and typically grows 30-50′. Adheres to flat surfaces (e.g., brick, stone or wood walls) via adhesive disks at the tendril ends. Compound-palmate leaves (usually 5 leaflets, with each leaflet to 6″ long) emerge purplish in spring, mature to dull green in summer and change to purple to crimson-red in autumn.

Fall color can be quite attractiveon this native vine. Clusters of small, greenish-white flowers appear in the upper leaf axils in late spring to early summer, but are generally hidden by the foliage. give way to dark blue to black berries which are attractive to birds. Closely related to and once included in the genus Ampelopsis.

No serious problems. Mildews, leaf spots, canker and wilt are occasional problems. Also susceptible to a number of insect pests including beetles, scale and leaf hoppers. Once attached to the side of a building or home, it becomes difficult to remove and will damage painted surfaces and leave residues.

A host plant for -spotted (Epargyreus clarus) butterfly.

Passiflora incarnata

Common : wild passion flower ‘Maypop’

Zone: 5 to 9

Plant Type: Vine

Family: Passifloraceae

Native Range: and Eastern United States to Indiana and Illinois

Height: 10 to 15 feet

Spread: 3 to 6 feet

Native Vines of the Southeast image 3

Color: with purple crown

: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Medium

Very attractive flowers attract butterflies. This native is a host plant for Passionvine swallowtail butterflies.

Fruits are edible

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of drought. Roots appreciate a loose mulch. Although this species is the hardiest of the native passion flowers, it is not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 and may not survive extremely cold winters (I have grown this in Michigan with winter protection).

It is best to plant in a protected area and can be easily grown from seed.

Passion flower is a rapid-growing native with tendril-climbing abilities. A woody plant in warm winter climates and herbaceous (dies to the ground) in cold winter climates. A native of the Southeastern U.S. including and upto Indiana and Illinois, where it typically occurs in sandy soils, low moist woods and open areas. Features three-lobed, dark green leaves and showy, 2.5″ diameter, fringed flowers having white petals and sepals and a central crown of pinkish-purple filaments.

No serious insect or disease problems for this native vining plant. Roots can spread aggressively.

be used on trellises, arbors, walls or fences. The unique flower and edible fruit make this vine an extremely interesting plant for the garden.

Schisandra glabra (Bay -Vine or Climbing ):

S. glabra (syn. S. coccinea) can be found in the United States from Louisiana north to Arkansas and Kentucky, south to Tennessee, east to and finally, south to . is listed as endangered in (listed as S. coccinea) and Kentucky. , and Tennessee, it is listed as threatened.

Invasive non-native species, such as Lonicera japonica, Japanese honeysuckle and urban sprawl are concerns for this native plant.

A wonderful plant for the home gardener, Bay star-vine brings beautiful greenery to shady spots of the garden.

It is often confused with Decumaria barbara (Climbing hydrangea), a common Vining plant in the Southeastern U.S.

b>Zone hardy : 7 to 9

The Schisandra is a deciduous woody vining specialist that is easily rooted from heel cuttings. A heel cutting should be at least two years old.

Collect cuttings in fall by pulling a stem down and away from the main stem or by using a sharp knife to cut the piece from main stem. Either process should bring a little of the main stem tissue with the cutting. This can then be placed in your choice of rooting medium and treated as you would any other cuttings.


Common : prairie rose

Zone: 5 to 8

Plant Type: Deciduous shrub

Family: Rosaceae

Native Range: Eastern and central

Height: 6 to 12 feet

Spread: 8 to 10 feet


Color: Pink fading to whitish

: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium to wet

Maintenance: Medium

These Natives of the Southeast,they are attractive, fragrant flowers attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Attractive fruits are food for birds and mammals.

General Culture:

grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. flowering and disease resistance generally occur in full sun, however. Water deeply and regularly (mornings are best). Avoid overhead watering. air circulation promotes vigorous and healthy growth and helps control foliar diseases. mulch helps retain moisture and keep roots cool.

Remove and destroy diseased leaves from plants (as practicable), and clean up and destroy dead leaves from the ground around the plants both during the growing season and as part of a thorough clean-up during winter (dormant season). Prune in late winter to early spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Prairie rose is a spreading, native plant (to 4′ tall) or climber (to 15′ tall with support) which typically occurs in moist soils along streams, in prairie thickets, along roads, fencerows, and in clearings throughout the State.

Features deep pink, single (5-petaled) flowers (to 2.5″ across) which bloom in late spring to early summer. Mild fragrance. No repeat bloom. Shiny, dark green foliage turns variable but attractive shades of deep red, purple in late autumn. Red hips in early autumn


Roses are susceptible to a large number of diseases, the most common of which are black spot, powdery mildew, rust and rose rosette. Although good cultural practices are the first line of defense in disease control, regular preventative fungicide applications throughout the growing season are often required in humid climates.

This species rose has better natural disease resistance than most of the hybrid roses. Potential insect problems include aphids, beetles, borers, scale, thrips, rose midges, leafhoppers and spider mites.

Vitis riparia:

V. labrusca (fox grape)

V. aestivalis (summer grape)

Vitis riparia, also commonly known as River Bank Grape or Grape, is a native of , climbing or trailing, this vining plant is widely distributed from Quebec to Texas, and Montana to . It is long-lived and capable of reaching into the upper canopy of the tallest trees. It produces dark fruit that are appealing to both birds and people, and has been used extensively in commercial viticulture as grafted rootstock and in hybrid grape breeding programs.

Mature plants have loose, fissured bark, and may attain several inches in diameter. Leaves are alternate, often with opposite tendrils or inflorescences, coarsely toothed, 5-25 cm (2-10in) long and 5-20 cm (2-8in) broad, sometimes with sparse hairs on the underside of veins.

The inflorescence is paniculate 4-15 cm (1.5-6 in) long and loose, and the flowers are small, fragrant, dioecious, and white or greenish in color. V. riparia blooms in or and produces a small 6-15 mm blue-black berry (grape) with a bloom, seeded, juicy, edible, vinous in flavor, lacking the «foxy» characteristics of Vitis labrusca, but usually quite sour and herbaceous. V. riparia has a wide range and may deviate considerably in detail from the above general description.

berries, perfect flowers, large clusters, large berries, and sweet fruit are among the known variations. However, some observers consider such variations as evidence of natural hybridization with other species of grapes.

V. riparia has the largest geographical range of any of the American Vitis species. It is present across nearly the entire eastern half of , excepting the far south and the most western portions of the great plains. Variants of the species have been observed as far north as Riding Mountain National in Manitoba, and as far west as Montana, Nebraska, and Dakota.

Other native vining plants of the southeast. for the wildlife habitats would be Smilax spp: or common name of Greenbrier.

Several species of Smilax (Greenbrier) are native to the Northeast and Great Lakes region, but may be considered Natives of the Southeast as well. Not a particularly attractive plant, Greenbriers offer food and protection for several species of birds and animals.

or Herbaceous and many are endangered species. These native vines need male and female flowers to pollinate.

There are 20 native species in north of Mexico.

They are climbing flowering plants, many of which are woody and/or thorny.

Common names include catbriers, greenbriers, prickly-ivys and smilaxes. Occasionally, the non-woody species such as the Smooth Herbaceous Greenbrier (S. herbacea) is called «carrion flowers» for the unpleasing oder they emit.

Native Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) is another under used native of the Southeast that grows throughout much of the region.

Not as aggressive as the introduced Asian cousin.

Unlike Chinese wisteria, American wisteria may bloom sporadically through the summer if conditions are favorable.

American wisteria is a host plant for several species of butterflies, including the long-tailed skipper, for example. Native bees frequent the flowers.

Several Native of the Southeast also grace the wet, swampy regions of and other parts of the deep south. However, most are not suitable for the home garden.

Native of the Southeast and other Regions

Trees of the Southeast

Shrubs of the Southeast

of the Southeast

Grasses of the Southeast

Feeding Birds

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