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4 Beautiful Vines That Add Color to Desert Landscapes

Add height, color and visual interest to your garden with trellises, arbors or pergolas covered in eye-catching flowering vines, or make plain walls and fences disappear into the background with these colorful selections.

Snail Vine  

(Cochliasanthus caracalla or Vigna caracalla) 

• Blooms: Lavender and white; summer to fall • 15′-20’H by 8′-12’W • Well-drained loamy soils • Zones 9-11 • Full to partial sun • Medium water; low maintenance • Attracts bees, birds

Native to Central and South America and a member of the bean family, the snail vine blooms profusely throughout summer and fall but requires deadheading to promote growth. It tolerates full sun but prefers afternoon shade in the hottest part of summer, as well as regular watering.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Snail vine gets its name from the fragrant snail shell-shaped white buds that unfurl to shades of lavender and purple. The unusual form of its flowers adds visual interest to a garden—as overheard at a recent garden tour, “the flowers look like lavender tortellini.”

Lilac Vine  

(Hardenbergia violacea) 

• Blooms: Purple; winter to spring • 10′-15’H by 10′-15’W • Well-drained soil • Zones 9-11 • Full to partial sun • Low water; low maintenance • Attracts bees

Native to Australia, lilac vine is not a lilac but a member of the pea family. Its hanging strands of tiny flower clusters that can grow as long as 50 feet resemble pea blossoms. It requires plenty of support and space to climb and can be pruned in spring after blooming is over to control growth.

WHY WE LIKE IT: With its showy purple blooms that feature chartreuse centers, the evergreen lilac vine is ideal for fences, trellises, pergolas and walls—anywhere its flowering tendrils can freely climb in a similar manner to wisteria. Cultivars are available with white or pink flowers.

Snow Queen Passion Vine  

(Passiflora ‘Snow Queen’) 

• Blooms: White; summer to fall • 10′-20’H by 2′-4’W • Well-drained soil • Zones 8B-11 • Full to partial sun • Medium water; low maintenance • Attracts butterflies

Snow Queen has fragrant, pure white flowers as wide as 5 inches across, each of which stays open for several days. This fast-growing evergreen climber blooms profusely throughout summer and into fall, or even year-round under ideal conditions. It should be watered deeply to establish strong roots, but infrequently.

WHY WE LIKE IT: The dazzling white flowers of multiple award-winning hybrid ‘Snow Queen’ sharply contrast its deep-green foliage and are especially attractive to butterflies. This climber is notable for its ability to cling to walls via tendrils, leaving no damage behind.

Queen’s Wreath  

(Antigonon leptopus) 

• Blooms: Pink or white; spring-fall • 12′-40’H by 10′-15’W • Sandy soils • Zones 8-11 • Full to partial sun • Medium water; low maintenance • Attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds

Native to Mexico and also known as pink coral vine, this fast-growing deciduous vine with heart-shaped leaves and pink flower clusters blooms repeatedly from late spring through early fall. It should be watered deeply during the hottest part of summer to promote growth.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Queen’s wreath is especially suitable for intermixing with other flowering vines, such as climbing roses, for added drama and color mix. This vine tolerates reflected heat from walls and will grow on virtually any support, from trellises to trees. It’s also available in white or red.


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