Houseplants brighten and cheer the indoors, bringing the outside into the home environment. Growing climbing vines indoors can be easily accomplished and there are quite a few common indoor vine plants to choose from.
How to Grow Climbing Houseplants
Because vines tend to grow voraciously and often without regard to parameters, care of indoor vines requires regular pruning, training onto a trellis or the like, and monitoring water and food needs.
Often indoor climbing plants are sold in hanging baskets so the vining arms dangle down from the pot. Light conditions vary according to the variety of plant chosen.
Common Indoor Vine Plants
There are a number of indoor climbing plants on the market. Here are some of the more common indoor vine plants:
Philodendron – One of the most common comes from the large Philodendron genus, amongst which there are 200 species with some climbing varieties and some non-climbing. Climbing varieties are usually grown in hanging pots and have aerial roots along the stem which attach themselves to any available support. They prefer indirect sunlight, periodic watering and occasional feeding.
Pothos – Often confused with philodendron is the Pothos or devil’s ivy (Scindapsus aureus). Like the Philodendron, the leaves are heart shaped, but variegated with yellow or white. This versatile plant can grow 6 inches (15 cm.) across with leaves 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm.) across. Again, this plant is most often grown in hanging baskets or it can be grown on an upright support or “totem.” Growing Pothos climbing vine indoors is an easy exercise. The plant does well in any light exposure, needs only enough water to prevent wilting and thrives with regular pruning to restrain vine length.
Swedish ivy – Swedish ivy, or creeping Charlie, has scalloped, shiny green foliage that hang down in long arms and is available as a variegated variety as well. This rapid grower tolerates low to moderate light, but truly thrives near a window. Again, usually found growing in a hanging basket, Swedish ivy can be pinched to encourage fuller growth.
Spider plant – Spider plant is another indoor climbing plant that is nigh indestructible. This specimen has variegated green and white striped leaves with long stems off which the spider shaped plantlets grow. The plantlets develop roots that can easily grow into new plants if touching soil. Pinching stems will encourage branching.
Wandering Jew – Several varieties of wandering jew are available, with the most popular a purple and silver variegated variety. Another rapid grower, a single plant can spread several feet. Remove old stems and leaves to allow for new growth and pinch the long arms to encourage thicker growth. Both wandering jew and spider plant will grow in most any light exposure, including under fluorescent lights in an office setting.
Other common indoor vine plants include:
- Mandevilla (Mandevilla splendens) and its cultivars
- Black eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata)
I also once grew a climbing jasmine successfully in a corner window encompassing every corner of a southwestern exposure in the Pacific Northwest.
Care of Indoor Vines
Much as outdoor climbers, climbing vines grown indoors will need to be clipped back on occasion to restrain their rigorous lengths. This will also encourage a bushier mien and foster more blooms. Pruning is best done in the spring before the onset of new growth. If the plants are a really rapid grower, you may need to prune again in the fall. Prune just above a node or swelling where a leaf was.
Indoor vines also need something to climb on or be planted in a hanging pot. They can be trained over doors, around windows, allowed to loll along bookcases, or trailing down a wall.
Monitor water needs carefully. Most of the above plants are pretty tolerant of too little irrigation, but the most common killer of houseplants is overwatering. Wait until the soil is totally dry before watering and allow to dry thoroughly before you water again. Plants need less water in the winter. Ideally, water the vine in the morning.
Don’t forget to fertilize, especially during the growing season. The indoor climbing vine may also need to be repotted on occasion. Go up two pot sizes and transplant in the spring to keep your indoor climbing vine healthy and vigorous.
Turn an easy-care houseplant into a dramatic climbing garden
6sqft’s series Toolbox Tutorials shares step-by-step guides for simple, affordable DIY projects. This week, plant experts teach us how to make an easy, indoor climbing garden.Have a project you’d like to share? Get in touch with us at [email protected] .
Bold botanical wallpapers are all the rage. But with a little sunlight and some patience, apartment dwellers can create a graphic pattern that literally climbs the walls (or ceiling!). The humble pothos (Epipremnum aureum), a staple of office and mall decor thanks to its easy-care nature, is the ideal trailing specimen to train indoors. It grows quickly, it thrives in indirect light, and its heart-shaped leaves aren’t accompanied by clinging parts that could damage surfaces (and bite into your deposit refund). Read on for instructions on creating and maintaining your own climbing garden from some of Instagram’s top plant lovers.
Courtesy Jamie Song
Jamie Song, the indoor plant enthusiast behind the enviable @jamies_jungle Instagram account, guides his neon variety of pothos into an elegant vase shape behind the sofa in his southeast London flat. He supports the wax-smooth tendrils with clear, adhesive-backed hooks by Command —intended for mounting holiday lights—because they’re subtle and removable.
Song’s apartment, a converted power station built in 1902, features a grand original skylight. But a pothos will settle for a standard window nearby. “Some direct sun is good, but not all-day direct sun,” he says. “Water when the soil has dried,” he adds. He uses a self-watering pot to minimize that chore.
Courtesy of Anni Koskimies
If you want a wall-swallowing pothos, prepare to invest a couple of years. But money is a different matter. A potted pothos from a hardware store or nursery will set you back only about $15 to $30, depending on the size.
If you have patience in spades, you can grow a pothos for free by starting with a snipped stem. “Almost all my [pothos plants] are grown from cuttings of my older plants,” says Anni Koskimies, creator of the ironically named Instagram account @nomoreplants. “Before taking the cutting, I make sure there are a few leaves and a root node [a fingerlike projection on the stem].” Next, she removes the leaf closest to the cut end and suspends the stem in a glass of water, which stimulates white roots to form. When they’re an inch long, she plants the cutting in all-purpose potting soil.
Courtesy of Anni Koskimies
Koskimies, a student at Lahti Institute of Design in Finland, likes to take a pothos vertical by tying the stems to thin wooden stakes, available at hardware and art supply stores. For more organic climbing compositions, she lays branches on brass picture hangers hung with double-sided tape instead of nails to preserve her walls.
Courtesy of Mike Vorrasi for Wallpaper Projects
On this side of the pond, a pothos of epic proportions grows in Brooklyn. “[My plant has] been with me for seven years, and it was only about 36 inches tall when it came home. Now the longest branch expands more than 50 feet,” says David Jimenez, co-founder of Wallpaper Projects.
He initially trained his specimen, a “rescue” from the street in Chinatown, to undulate overhead by resting its branches on loops of red string tied to his sprinkler pipes. The plant rapidly outgrew those confines, so “I hung a system of strings that expands over almost the whole ceiling at the apartment, and that gives me the freedom to keep going for a lot more years, I hope,” he says.
“The tendrils get rearranged every six months or so as we start bumping into them, or they get in the way of us watching TV,” Jimenez continues. He plucks off any dry leaves once a week, and he feeds once a year with an all-natural fertilizer called Houseplants Alive!, available from the website Gardens Alive!
Courtesy Jamie Song
“David is a plant whisperer,” says Amanda Dandeneau, his partner in business and life. But the truth is, you don’t need special abilities or even a greenish thumb to grow a monster pothos. Here’s everything you need to know to maintain and train one:
Light: Low to bright indirect sun
Water: Soak thoroughly when the soil feels dry a finger’s length down.
Medium: All-purpose potting soil
Feeding: Fertilize once a year at minimum to maintain the soil’s natural balance and texture
Training: A pothos won’t climb on its own, so use a removable support system to guide its tendrils along a wall or ceiling. Command hooks, metal picture hangers, and string work well.
Another vine grown for shade is the Virginia creeper. It is a vigorous climber and can be trained up a structure or on a wall. Unlike ivy, it clings to the wall with tiny adhesive disks and doesn’t damage the mortar. It keeps the side of the house where it’s grown cool in the summer and warmer in the winter when the leaves fall. The inconspicuous greenish-white flowers appear in spring. The blue-black berries are poisonous to humans, but birds love them. Virginia creeper has large leaves that are separated into five leaflets, which distinguishes them from poison ivy, which only has three. It’s the host plant for a variety of butterflies and moths, including the Virginia creeper sphinx moth. The plant isn’t fussy about soil and does best in full to part sun.
Plant trellis for pots - Hoya backstory
A couple months ago I bought a beautiful Wax plant, Hoya pubicalyx 'Splash' from a local nursery. This plant is crazy vigorous and much more upward-vining than any other Hoya I’ve experienced. If you leave it next to something tall and narrow, it will reach out and try to wrap itself around in no time.
This Hoya wax plant came in a standard plastic nursery liner pot with plastic hanger, and sorry but that just won’t do. Plus, the leaves down at the ends of its tendrils are really small and spread out, which is an indicator that it would be happier climbing than hanging.
So it’s high time to get it transplanted and repotted into a permanent home.
Based on the rate its’ been growing, this means I need a fairly tall trellis. (I’ve already rooted cuttings from it for a friend, and you certainly can’t tell it’s missing any foliage.)
My new Hoya pubicalyx ‘Splash’ in a short, plastic nursery hanger and pot.
Just say NO to unattractive plastic nursery hangers that detract from your decor. :)
10 scented climbers to grow
Discover 10 deliciously scented climbers that are perfect for a pergola, trellis or arch.
Every garden should have a scented climber or two – not only do they give a heady perfume, but they take up very little room and add height and interest to walls, pergolas, trellis and arches.
Grow them around an outdoor seating area, or next to paths, where you take in their aroma as you stroll past them. Or grow them up a wall, where their scent can waft into your house.
Many climbers are more scented in the evening – discover plants for evening scent.
Here are some of the best scented climbers you can grow.
The scent of honeysuckle on a midsummer evening makes it a choice climber to grow in the garden. In the wild it scrambles through hedgerows, so is suited to growing in partial shade. The plants are ideal for training up a wall or trellis, and can also be grown up a tree or with a climbing rose.
Annual sweet peas are the perfect scented climbers, providing a quick burst of colour and scent in the garden. They also make great cut flowers – just a few are needed to fill a room with their sweet fragrance. Sweet peas are ideal for growing up an obelisk or trellis, and work well growing with runner beans.
Trachelospermum jasminoides is a woody, evergreen climber with dark green leaves, and summer flowers with an intense, sweet fragrance. Half hardy, it’s best grown against a sunny wall to protect it from severe frosts.
Clematis montana is a vigorous climber, so is ideal for covering unsightly walls and fences. It can also be trained up pergolas and trellis. It flowers from late spring to early summer, providing an early dose of fragrance, which is similar to the scent of almonds.
Also known as the chocolate vine, Akebia quinata has maroon-chocolate flowers bearing an exotic, spicy fragrance with a hint of vanilla. It’s best grown against a sunny wall to protect the flowers from late frosts. In very warm summers, the plants may produce large sausage-shaped fruit.
Jasmine produces delicately fragrant flowers from mid-summer to early autumn. A vigorous climber, it’s best grown over a shed, porch, arbour or other outbuilding. It grows well with climbing roses, honeysuckle or clematis, but also looks good on its own.
Clematis armandii has long, lance-shaped leaves that will quickly cover a wall or fence and is a welcome sight in early spring. Plant it near a doorway or open window to enjoy the evening scent, and give it plenty of room to spread out. It’s best grown against a sheltered wall away from cold winds.
Many climbing roses are wonderfully scented. ‘Albertine’ is a popular rambling rose with a strong fragrance. The reddish-salmon buds open to pink, almost double flowers. It’s a vigorous grower. Discover our top roses for scent.
Clematis x triternata ‘Rubromarginata’
Clematis x triternata ‘Rubromarginata’ is a vigorous clematis that produces clouds of almond-scented white flowers with red edges from mid-summer to early autumn. It is the most heavily scented clematis, and grows well in dry shade.
Wisteria floribunda ‘Multijuga’ is less vigorous than Chinese wisteria, and is therefore less likely to cause problems when grown on buildings. The flowers open against a background of young foliage, with pendant clusters of scented pea-like, lilac-purple blooms in spring.