Annual climbing plants: Characteristics and species

What are annual climbing plants?

Nasturtium. A flower that has also been used for medicinal and food properties.

They are those climbing plants that, usually, when they are grown, last only one season. However, many of the so-called annual plants are actually perennial plants or can live more than a year in their place of origin or when they are grown in warm climates.

Main annual climbing plants

Among the main annual climbers we can mention the following:


There are approximately 87 species of the genus Tropaeolum, originating from the warm regions of South America and Mexico.

Some are annual; others are twining climbing perennials. They stand out for the beauty of their flowers. They must be cultivated in the sun or in semi-shade and need a humid and well-drained soil, among them garden nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), canarybird flower (Tropaeolum peregrinum), flame flower (Tropaeolum speciosum), mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) or Chilean nasturtium (Tropaeolum tricolor).



There are approximately 150 species of Lathyrus genus. Most of them come from the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, although there are some species native to the Andes.

It is a genus closely related to pea (Pisum sativum). In fact, some species are edible plants. They are used in gardening because many of them are climbing plants by means of tendrils and because of their showy mauve, blue, white or pale yellow flowers.

They must be grown in the sun in fertile, well-drained soil. Supports will be provided for them to climb.

Among all the Lathyrus, sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) stands out, which was one of the main species that Gregory Mendel used in his studies of his genetic work to compose Mendel’s Laws.

It is not surprising that today we have in gardening so many varieties of this species (Lathyrus odoratus “Carnival”, Lathyrus odoratus “Katherine”, Lathyrus odoratus “Lucy”, Lathyrus odoratus “Hampton Court”, etc). Other very known species we can mention: Lord Anson’s pea (Lathyrus nervosus) or perennial peavine (Lathyrus latifolius).


Thunbergia vogeliana
Thunbergia vogeliana

There are approximately 100 species of the genus Thunbergia, from Africa and Asia.

Among these we have many that are twining climbers. Most form individual trumpet-shaped flowers. They need a drained and fertile soil and a sunny exposure, except in the middle of summer that they prefer some shade.

Among all of them the following stand out: black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata); Bengal clockvine (Thunbergia grandiflora), (Thunbergia coccinea), orange clockvine (Thunbergia gregorii), dwarf thubergia (Thunbergia natalensis), Thunbergia togoensis etc.

Morning glories:

We have approximately 300 species of the genus Ipomoea. They come from tropical and warm temperate zones. Many of them are twining climbers, with very short-lived infundibuliform flowers, although they are continually producing new flowers. They prefer warm, coastal climates and a sunny exposure. Many of them are considered invasive plants. Common morning-glory (Ipomoea purpurea), (Ipomoea purga), (Ipomoea quamoclit), blue morning glory (Ipomoea indica), fire vine (Ipomoea lobata), moon flower (Ipomoea alba), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas). They are grown as annuals in cold climates.

Ipomoea acuminata is a perennial plant that can be grown as an annual in cold places. It has become naturalized and has become a veritable invasive plant for farm fields and gardens in many hot places.

Ipomoea acuminata
Ipomoea acuminata


Asarinas are plants belonging to the genus Maurandya, previously known as Asarina. They are species that have the ability to climb, using their twining stems. In their place of origin, they are perennials that produce tubular flowers throughout the entire season, but, when they grown in colder climates, they should be done as annuals.

They need to be grown in full sun or with lots of light, on humid soils, although not flooded. There are two species of this genus, both native to Mexico and Central America.

Asarina (Asarina erubescens = Maurandya erubescens):

It can be about 3 m tall. It stands out for its pinkish flowers that can measure up to 7 cm in length and appear in summer and autumn. It prefers to be grown in bright or full sun and requires a warm, frost-free climate.

It needs abundant watering in spring and summer, although it should be watered little when winter arrives. It can be propagated by seed or cuttings in spring. It needs a spring pruning that encourages the birth of new stems and gives it a better appearance.

Angels trumpet (Asarina barclayana = Maurandya barclayana):

It reaches a height of up to 4.5 m. It produces tubular flowers that can be white, purple or pink, with the lighter background.

In cold climates it can be grown indoors in a pot and then taken outside when the good weather arrives. In this case it is better to place it next to a sheltered wall.

punto rojo More information on plant characteristics and types

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

15 July, 2021

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