17 Drought Tolerant Climbing Vines For Dry Climate Gardens

Thinking of adding some vines to your garden this season, but need to make sure they are suitable for drier climates? There are quite a few vines that are surprisingly drought tolerant and can grow in even the most arid environments. In this article, we look at our favorite drought tolerant climbing vines, with names and pictures of each!

drought tolerant vines

If you live in a particularly dry climate, such as the arid portions of the western United States, a lush, green desert paradise may seem unattainable. However, by xeriscaping using drought-resistant plants, you save water while creating a gorgeous environment surrounding your home or in your garden.

So, if you live in a dry climate, and have decided it’s time to add some climbing vines to your garden, there are plenty of drought tolerant vines that can thrive in drier climates. But, where do you start?

We’ve selected some of our favorite vines and climbing plants for dry climates. In the following article you’ll learn about each drought resistant vine, what hardiness zones they thrive in, as well as names and pictures of each. Let’s jump in!

Arizona Grape Ivy

Cissus trifoliata
Arizona Grape Ivy care includes standard practices, such as watering, fertilizing, and pruning.
Scientific Name: Cissus trifoliata
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: 15-30’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Shade
  • Plant Zone: 6-11

This rapidly growing plant prefers full sun but will continue to climb upwards toward the light even in partial shade. Arizona grape ivy, sometimes known as possum grapevine, grows on any surrounding building and is considered invasive in some areas.

The vine has three-lobed, rubbery leaves that are approximately 4″ long and produce flower clusters that are 2″ in diameter. Flowers grow into green and then black grape-like fruits.

The nectar attracts bees and butterflies, while the fruit attracts birds.

Gray-green leaves retain their leaves all year in warmer areas. However, in cooler climates, the deciduous leaves of the vine fall off.

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Thunbergia alata
Black-Eyed Susan Vine should be watered moderately. They are quite hardy, and drought resistant.
Scientific Name: Thunbergia alata
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Geographic Origin: Africa
  • Plant Size: 8’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 10-11

In hotter areas, this perennial vine needs protection from constant direct sunlight. They may grow to 8′ tall in indoor pots as annuals in colder areas. Use a trellis or tie fresh growth onto a thread to train the vine to grow upward.

Black-eyed susan vines may be grown from seed inside and transplanted to outdoor flower gardens in the spring. In the summer, its green foliage twines around itself or vertical structures and produces vivid yellow and orange flowers with black centers.

While drought-tolerant, they may wilt if the soil becomes too dry.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea
In summer, bougainvilleas require frequent, fairly plentiful, but not excessive watering.
Scientific Name: Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Brazil
  • Plant Size: 6-10’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 9-11

From early summer until fall, this tropical plant native to Brazil exhibits beautiful pink and orange bracts, or modified leaves, instead of flowers. It can be trained as a vine, or grown as a flowering shrub.

Although Bougainvillea requires support and pruning to stimulate vertical growth, this warmer-weather plant is incredibly forgiving and simple to cultivate.

Train your bougainvillea over a scaffold or trellis in late winter to early spring to establish the shape you want the mature plant to have. Young plants should be clipped from the ground up to foster thicker growth.

Trim the tips directly after a bud node to stimulate new branch development at the cut junction after the plant has developed into the desired form.

Bougainvillea is drought resistant and requires well-drained soil that has been allowed to dry fully before being watered again.

Cat’s Claw Vine

Macfadyena unguis-cati
Cat’s Claw Vine produces bright yellow funnel-shaped flowers that replace seed pods.
Scientific Name: Macfadyena unguis-cati
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Mexico, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean
  • Plant Size: 6-10’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 8-12

This aggressive vine uses three prongs to attach itself to practically any surface, similar to Crossvine’s claw-like tendrils. Once adhered, it swiftly spreads to cover any vertical surface.

Because of its rapid growth, the dark foliage creates a superb ground cover. This flowering vine blooms in the spring with huge yellow trumpet-shaped flowers.

Cat’s claw vine develops in three ways: by spreading its claws on the ground, by rising beneath the ground from a tuber system, and by winged seeds that fly to new areas to sprout.

Unfortunately, if permitted to grow unchecked, this vine may swiftly overwhelm and destroy trees. The only method to get rid of a cat’s claw vine is to dig out tubers and take it down from trees when it’s still young and not too entrenched.

Creeping Fig

Ficus pumila
Excess moisture in the soil leads to rotting of the root system, and drying out of the soil leads to the death of the Creeping Fig plant.
Scientific Name: Ficus pumila
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: United States
  • Plant Size: 10’
  • Sun Exposure: Full or Part Shade
  • Plant Zone: 8-11

This drought-resistant vine, often known as fig ivy or creeping ficus, prefers bright, indirect light. In warmer climates, prune mature woody vines climbing along walls or ground cover. Cutting back old vines promotes leaf development and thinner vines.

In cooler climates, keep creeping figs in well-drained containers all year long. They can be trained into topiaries if they’re given a pole to climb onto. It grows best in moist, but not wet soil and should not be fertilized during the dormant fall and winter.

Although this plant is easy to grow both indoors and outdoors, keep in mind that once it has fastened itself to a surface, it can be difficult to remove or relocate. Because this vine can cause damage to the surfaces it adheres to, plan ahead of time when planting outside for long-term growth in that location.

Crossvine

Bignonia capreolata
Crossvine is a perennial vine that climbs walls the best – up to 50 feet.
Scientific Name: Bignonia capreolata
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: United States
  • Plant Size: 50’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 6-9

Crossvine’s claw-tipped tendrils grasp onto walls as it grows to a gigantic 50′ in height. This evergreen vine produces orange trumpet-shaped blooms in spring, frequently as early as April in warm areas.

The narrow leaves of the vine remain green all year in warmer areas; in cooler climates, the foliage turns dark maroon over the winter.

During the growing season, hummingbirds feed on the nectar of these blooms for up to four weeks. Grow crossvine in sunny spots with well-drained soil to keep the blossoms cascading. Expect fewer flowers to grow if the plant is transplanted to a partially shaded location.

Plant these vines 10-15′ apart to allow for new growth. If old wood has to be cut, do it after blooming to keep the plant healthy.

Desert Snapdragon

Maurandya antirrhiniflora
Desert Snapdragon needs rejuvenation and pruning, which promotes a new wave of flowering.
Scientific Name: Maurandya antirrhiniflora
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Southwestern United States
  • Plant Size: 8’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 7-11

This subtropical vine, often known as hummingbird vine, enjoys heat and flowers in late summer. Pink or purple flowers with white throats make a dramatic display during bloom season, making them ideal for tiny spaces or containers.

Although this vine is not as aggressive as some of the others on our list, it still requires the assistance of a trellis as it grows to roughly 8′ in height.

This vine will cling to any accessible support, such as fences or fixed strings. Trim the vine to promote the thicker development of cascading stems.

These generally drought-tolerant vines soak up the light for leaf growth. Additional water is essential to extend the lifespan of desert snapdragon blooms.

Hacienda Creeper

Parthenocissus
Hacienda Creeper is an unpretentious decorative winter-hardy deciduous plant.
Scientific Name: Parthenocissus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Mexico
  • Plant Size: 16-25’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Shade
  • Plant Zone: 8-11

The Hacienda creeper, discovered in Mexico, is more cold-hardy than its Virginia creeper cousin.

Similar to the Virginia creeper, the Hacienda creeper features smaller, bright green leaves that turn deep red to purple in the fall. With their beautiful crimson blush in the spring, new leaves generate seasonal intrigue.

This drought-tolerant plant prefers moist but well-drained soil. Although it does not thrive in temperatures below the low 20s, it can withstand moderate frost.

Avoid growing hacienda creepers with western exposure to protect their huge 2″ leaves from scorching in direct sunlight. This ornamental plant is evergreen; it favors moist, organic soil but even thrives in arid, shadow gardens in the desert.

Honeysuckle

Lonicera
Honeysuckle is a heat-tolerant plant known for its sweet scent and delicate tubular flowers.
Scientific Name: Lonicera
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Africa
  • Plant Size: 6-10’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 5-9

Honeysuckle varieties include vines, shrubs, and bushes. Their foliage is deciduous in cooler climates. In warmer, dry climates, their evergreen leaves remain on the vine all year long.

Tolerant to all soil types, these plants perform as well in the ground as they do in containers or hanging baskets. To maintain an abundance of yellow to brilliant vining white blooms, start the growing season using 10-10-10 plant food. Thick foliage at the top of the plant tends to shade the lower half of the plant as it grows.

Shaded vines lose their leaves and develop woody stems. Thin down the top half of the vine during the dormant fall or winter seasons to preserve the entire plant full of beautiful, green leaves.

The honeysuckle vine makes a superb ground cover that helps to reduce erosion on banks and other waterways. This vine, which can endure vigorous pruning, returns every spring without fail.

Jasmine

Jasminum mesnyi
For more lush flowering, Jasmine should be planted in a sunny place with moist soil.
Scientific Name: Jasminum mesnyi
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: China
  • Plant Size: 6-10’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 9-10

Primrose Jasmine, also known as Chinese Jasmine, is a widely renowned variety of Jasmine for its aromatic characteristics. As an evergreen shrub, it can grow up to 10′ tall, but it can also be trained to arch around trellises or walls.

This climbing plant thrives in organic, well-drained soil or sand. Although they are nearly disease-free, they are susceptible to spider mites and may require the use of horticultural oil if infested.

Because roots develop wherever the stems touch the ground, Primrose Jasmine makes a superb ground cover. Plant near water banks to prevent erosion.

Vine training should begin when the plant is still young. To retain the plant’s growth pattern, use plant ties or thread the stems through a trellis to convert it from a shrub to a climbing vine. The vine can handle some light pruning after the flowers have bloomed.

Mexican Flame Vine

Senecio confusus
Mexican Flame Vine is a very fast-growing plant, resistant to drought, and rarely affected by any pests.
Scientific Name: Senecio confusus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Mexico
  • Plant Size: 6-10’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun
  • Plant Zone: 8-9

Mexican Flame vines may reach a height of 20 feet and have 4″ leaves. Bright orange blossoms soak up the light as they climb trellises or tumble down garden walls.

During the summer, trimming the vine increases bloom development. Although trimming your Mexican Flame vine is not required, flowers will only develop near the top of the vine with the newest growth.

This vine prefers well-drained, organic soil and plenty of sunlight. However, even in poor soil or on rocky terrain, this hardy vine thrives. Reduce fertilizing that goes straight to the foliage instead of the blossoms to encourage those fiery flowers’ growth.

Butterflies and hummingbirds are drawn to the nectar and its brilliant orange hue.

Silver Lace Vine

Polygonum aubertii
There is no need to constantly trim the Silver Lace Vine. This should be done only if it has grown excessively.
Scientific Name: Polygonum aubertii
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Russia, China, Western Asia
  • Plant Size: 25-35’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun
  • Plant Zone: 4-8

This drought-tolerant climbing vine grows up to 12 feet per season. The Silver Lace Vine, also known as the fleece vine, has petite, white blossoms that cluster like snow between vines lined with 1.5-4″ heart-shaped light green leaves.

The reddish-green vine blooms throughout the summer and early fall.

Before any new growth forms on this fast-growing vine, it must be severely pruned in early spring. Without cutting it back to size and removing deadwood, it may become invasive.

To keep the plant from overtaking your yard, confine it to an arbor or fence and cut back on fertilizer during the summer growing season.

Silver lace vine doesn’t require much maintenance after the initial trimming during the spring. It isn’t particular about soil and can re-grow from stem fragments, making it incredibly tough to eradicate.

Scarlet Runner Bean

Phaseolus coccineus
Scarlet Runner Bean grows well in fertile, light, well-drained soils.
Scientific Name: Phaseolus coccineus
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Geographic Origin: Mexico and Central America
  • Plant Size: 20’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-11

The Scarlet Runner Beans are enormous climbing vines that grow up to 20 feet every season. In areas where the ground does not freeze, these runners are perennial.

Scarlet Runners are unique among bean species in that they climb clockwise.

Fire bean, also known as a mammoth, red giant, and scarlet emperor, has dark, green foliage and clusters of vining red blossoms from the middle of summer to the end of fall.

Scarlet beans are edible and grow in pods, turning from pink to purple with black spots as they develop. They may be cultivated in your garden alongside other seasonal veggies.

Although they may be trained over trellises or arbors, support is not required because they will reach for anything such as trees, branches, or even wrap around themselves.

Sweet Peas

Lathyrus odoratus
Sweet Peas are annual garden flowers with a pleasantly fragrant aroma.
Scientific Name: Lathyrus odoratus
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Geographic Origin: Mediterranean
  • Plant Size: 8”–8’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 2-11

Heirloom Sweet Peas grow large, fragrant vining bloom clusters in shades of purple and lilac. Newer varieties have been bred to shift colors as they mature. They vary in shades of pink, mauve, blue, and aquamarine.

Easy to care for Sweet peas grow as bushes (8”–3’ tall) or climbing vines (6–8’ tall). Sweet peas naturally develop as bushes up to 2.5 ft tall when grown unsupported in well-drained soil.

These vines grow significantly larger if they are given arbors or trellises to climb on.

Because they do not thrive in high humidity and demand air movement, they should not be planted in confined locations or along a wall. Encourage flowering by clipping off dead heads and reducing liquid fertilizer, which primarily energizes foliage rather than blossoms.

Sweet peas attract bees and butterflies, whereas deer mainly ignore them.

Trumpet Vine

Campsis radicans
Caring for the Trumpet Vine includes watering, loosening the soil and removing weeds around the plant.
Scientific Name: Campsis radicans
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Eastern Madagascar
  • Plant Size: 25-35’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

Red, orange, and yellow blooms cluster on the woody vines of the Trumpet Vine. Waxy, trumpet-shaped flowers reach up to 3 ½” long. This aggressive grower, also called Hellvine or Devil’s Shoestring, utilizes aerial rootlets to absorb water and nutrients from the air.

These above-ground roots anchor onto nearby structures like trees and arbors to allow for upward growth and stability.

Because the dark green foliage grows so densely and sprouts new suckers quickly, Trumpet Vine can be used for erosion control. Mow down suckers or plant near concrete to keep overgrowth in check.

Trumpet Vine grows best in well-drained soils, sandy loam, or clay. Full sun boosts flower production.

Wisteria

Wisteria frutescens
Wisteria – in summer and spring, it is recommended to keep the soil moist.
Scientific Name: Wisteria frutescens
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: The Southeastern United States
  • Plant Size: 25-30’’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 5-9

Blue and purple blooms cascade down the woody, deciduous vines of American Wisteria. The fragrant 1″ blooms grow in clusters 6-9″ long. This fast-growing vine with dark green leaves, which is commonly found along the Gulf Coast, requires frequent trimming to both encourage flowering and keep growth in check.

This massive vine may swiftly overpower and damage any structure it adheres to. Train the vine away from your house and over sturdy arbors or trellises. Its Chinese counterpart is regarded as invasive.

Wisteria grows in the shade, but the full sun keeps the plant healthy and generates more blossom production. Wisteria nectar attracts butterflies and is deer resistant. Mature wisterias are actually quite drought tolerant, and can endure a little neglect.

Yuca Vine

Merremia aurea
Yuca Vine is a drought-tolerant vine native to Mexico and parts of California.
Scientific Name: Merremia aurea
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Mexico
  • Plant Size: 1-2’
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Part Sun
  • Plant Zone: 4-11

Although their bright blossoms resemble yellow morning glories, the yuca vine is not a true morning glory plant. This vine is not related to the ornamental yucca or the edible cassava yuca. The large yuca vine seeds are poisonous if ingested.

They thrive both in the ground and in containers, as they only reach about 2’ tall. If temperatures dip below 32 degrees F, make sure to bring containers inside.

The nectar of yuca vine blooms attracts bumblebees and butterflies.

Final Thoughts

Gardeners in dry climates can beautify entryways or containers with climbing vines. After reviewing 17 climbing vines head to your local nursery and choose a drought-tolerant that’s just right for your dry climate landscape. Any of these vines will be the perfect addition to a dry climate garden or any xeriscape landscape design.

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