Want to add some native Texas vines to your garden? You have some beautiful ones to pick from! Many of these species are native to the south eastern US in addition to Texas.
These Texas native species provide nectar for pollinators, serve as host plants for butterflies and moths, and some provide fruit for birds! They have grown in nature for thousands of years making them hardy and drought-tolerant. They are a great alternative to non native vines commonly sold at the nursery such as Star Jasmine, Chinese Wisteria, and English Ivy.
Vines make lovely additions to a native plant garden. They add vertical interest by growing them on a fence, trellis or arbor. Try out one of these:
7 Native Vines of Texas to Try in Your Yard
1. Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)
This beautiful vine is a member of the Trumpet Creeper family. It is fast growing but not as aggressive as the Trumpet Creeper vine (see #7). It is filled with clusters of orangish yellow and red flowers in the spring, just when hummingbirds are starting to migrate through Texas!
- Native to: Southeastern US (in Texas it is native to primarily East Texas)
- Bloom period: March – May
- Sun requirements: Full sun to part shade (flowers best in full sun)
- Growth habit: Fast growing, almost evergreen vine. May die back in harsh winters.
- Wildlife benefits: Nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies. FYI – deer like it too, so it is not deer resistant!
2. Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Coral Honeysuckle vine is a beautiful evergreen vine with clusters of long tubular reddish pink flowers in the spring. This slower growing climbing vine thrives in moist, rich soil.
It is a host plant to the Snowberry Clearwing Moth which looks like a mini hummingbird in flight. It also has bright red fruits called drupes that are enjoyed by birds!
Native to: Eastern U.S. (in Texas it is native to primarily East Texas)
Bloom period: March through June
Sun requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: Slower growing. Evergreen in mild winters.
Wildlife benefits: Host plant to Snowberry Clearwing Moth. Provides nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies. Birds eat the red drupes in the fall.
3. Passionvine (Passiflora incarnata)
Also called Maypop, this purple passion vine is one of butterfly gardeners’ favorite vines! It has purple blooms from late spring into late summer. Isn’t the passion flower super unique and beautiful?
There are over 550 species of passion vines with beautiful flowers in various colors. There are more Texas native Passiflora species other than Passiflora incarnata. Try to get one of these for your garden if you can!
This plant is known to spread beyond where planted by underground root suckers. As one friend says “Once you have passion vine, you always have passion vine!” The butterflies will thank you though!
Native to: Southeastern US (pockets of Central and Eastern Texas)
Bloom period: April to September
Sun requirements: Full sun / partial sun
Growth habit: Deciduous vine that dies back to the ground. Tends to grow along that ground and can be an aggressive spreader through root suckers.
Wildlife benefits: Host plant to Gulf Fritillary, Variegated Fritillary and Zebra Longwing butterflies. Edible fruits for wildlife.
4. Woolly Dutchman’s Pipevine (Aristolochia tomentosa)
Pipevine native to Texas can be difficult to find at the nursery, but it is worth seeking out if you want to attract Pipevine Swallowtails. Aristolochia tomentosa is one of the species native to Texas. It’s common name Woolly Dutchman’s Pipevine refers to the furry underside of the heart-shaped leaves.
The unique greenish-purple blooms are pipe shaped. You’ll find them on the vine in May and June.
Native to: Central / Southern U.S.
Bloom period: May-June
Sun requirements: Sun / Part Shade
Growth habit: Perennial vine that dies back to the ground in the winter.
Wildlife benefits: Host plant to the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly.
5. Pearl Milkweed Vine (Matelea reticulata)
Pearl Milkweed Vine is a neat option because it is endemic to Texas, meaning it only is native to this state. It is a cousin the Asclepias family of Milkweed plants. Like them, it also serves as a host plant for Monarch and Queen butterflies!
It is known for its unique green star-shaped flower with a pearly center. This vine is a good choice to supplement other milkweed plants in your butterfly garden!
Native to: Texas
Bloom period: April – June
Sun requirements: Part Sun / Part Shade
Growth habit: Deciduous – dies back to the ground in the winter.
Wildlife benefits: Host plant for Monarch and Queen butterflies. Also host plant to Lassaux’s Sphinx moth and Milkweed Tussock Moth.
6. Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
Carolina Jessamine is a great way to add color to your garden in early spring. It is covered in yellow flowers as early as January up through May.
This vine can commonly be found in the wild and in gardens and yards throughout the Southern United States. It is a great early spring nectar source for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Native to: Southeast U.S. (native to East Texas)
Bloom period: Jan-May
Sun requirements: Full sun
Growth habit: Evergreen
Wildlife benefits: Nectar source for pollinators. High deer resistance.
7. Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
Also called Trumpet Vine, this coral vine is very fast growing and can be an aggressive colonizer. There is a reason another common name is Hellvine! Plant it where you have some open areas that you want to fill in, and don’t mind it spreading.
That being said, it sure is a beautiful vine! It is a profuse summer bloomer that attracts hummingbirds and is host plant to the Trumpet Vine Sphinx Month.
Native to: Eastern United States (east half of Texas)
Bloom period: June – September
Sun requirements: Full sun
Growth habit: Deciduous vine with new growth on old trunks in the spring. Aggressive colonizer through root suckers. Can help with eroison.
Wildlife benefits: Host plant to Plebeian Sphinx Moth and Trumpet Vine Moth, nectar for hummingbirds
Other Vines of Texas to Consider
Here are some other native Texas vines to consider for your garden. Some are hard to find, but you may have luck with a local native plant society sale:
- Texas Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) – a native, less aggressive alternative to invasive Asian wisterias with fragrant blooms.
- Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)- aggressive grower. Can be used as a ground cover. Leaves turn red in the fall. Host plant to several moths. Warning: berries are highly toxic.
- Old Man’s Beard (Clematis drummondii) – wispy white blooms. Host to Fatal Metalmark butterfly.
- Purple Leatherflower (Clematis pitcheri) – interesting purple flowers May-September.
Non-Native Vines to Avoid
Hopefully the list above gives you lots of native vine options to choose from. When you can, choose a native vine over a vine from another part of the world.
In particular, avoid these non-native vines which are commonly sold at nurseries. They can become invasive, meaning they can escape cultivation and spread into natural areas. Here is more information on invasive plants in Texas:
- Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) – invasive throughout the Eastern US. Can grow over 80 feet. Birds disperse berries, aiding spread outside of cultivation. Plant Coral Honeysuckle instead!
- Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) – invasive throughout Eastern US. Can grow 70+ feet and smother native trees and shrubs.
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)- invasive species in at least 18 states. Plant Crossvine or Trumpet Vine instead.
- Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) – also called Confederate Jasmine. I use to have this vine with white flowers growing along the fence in my San Antonio, TX backyard. It is a pretty evergreen vine with white fragrant blooms in the spring. However, there is already plenty of it in Texas! Why not opt for a Texas native that supports more butterflies and moths instead! 😊
Where to Buy Texas Vines
It can be tricky to find native vines of Texas at the nursery. Your best bet is to skip the big-box nurseries and find a local nursery that carries native plants and is knowledgable about them. Write down the vine’s scientific (Latin) name before you go so you can make sure you’re getting the right plant.
Also, keep an eye out for plant sales by your local Texas Native Plant Society chapter. They often have a more unique selection of natives than you can find at the nursery.
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Welcome to Native Backyards! I’m Haeley from San Antonio, Texas, and I want to help you grow more natives.
I have seen firsthand how the right plants can bring your yard to life with butterflies, bees, and birds. I’ve transformed my yard with Texas natives and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you.
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