8 Plants That Can Be Trained As Vines, Shrubs, or Trees

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
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These plants are perfect for the garden due to their versatility, as they can be trained as Vines, Shrubs, or Trees.

The botanical realm is quite pliable like that. Take, for instance, these plants—complete shapeshifters! From spicing up a dull entrance in a standard pot to emerging as behemoths in your backyard, here are plants that can be trained as vines, shrubs, or trees!


Plants That Can Be Trained As Vines, Shrubs, or Trees

1. Bougainvillea

Plants That Can Be Trained As Vines, Shrubs, or Trees 1

Botanical Name: Bougainvillea

With stunning bracts in red, purple, orange, and white, Bougainvillea is the chameleon of the plant world! It looks just as magical in pots, as a canopy over a wall or fence, as a climber covering a pergola, and a very mature one standing alone as a small tree.

Producing flowers that can last over six weeks, these plants prefer being root-bound. They settle happily in containers for years before they need to be repotted. They can also be grown easily as bonsai in moderately deep containers. Check out this article for more plants that grow well as bonsai.

2. Hydrangea

Plants That Can Be Trained As Vines, Shrubs, or Trees 2

Botanical Name: Hydrangea 

Hydrangeas come in vast varieties that easily take the form of shrubs, vines, or trees. While panicled hydrangea is a deciduous shrub that can grow into a tree, climbing hydrangea is a vine that can climb walls and structures up to 80 feet tall!

Hydrangeas are easy to grow, highly adaptable, and thrive in well-draining, moist soil and dappled sun. Don’t miss checking out these pretty ways to grow hydrangeas!

3. Wisteria

Beautiful Flowering Wisteria Tree

Botanical Name: Wisteria

The mighty Wisteria is next on our list of plants that can be trained as vines, shrubs, or trees! Native to Asia and North America, it is widely found in other regions due to its easy-to-grow attitude and fragrant, crowded lilac racemes.

You can turn your vine into a small tree by pruning and staking it so its spring blooms are at eye level. Go with the American Wisterias, which are less aggressive and easy to tame.

If you love hardy vines, check out these that grow well in poor soil!

4. Cape Honeysuckle

Cape Honeysuckle vine

Botanical Name: Tecomaria capensis

This rambling, broad-leafed evergreen shrub produces fiery orange and crimson blooms. It grows aggressively as a vine, so prune and tame it regularly. However, once it matures and its stems turn woody, it can be trained as a shrub as well. It thrives in full sun and prefers moist but well-draining soil, and in warmer climes, it can bloom all year round.

The nectar from its blooms attracts hummingbirds, honey bees, and butterflies to your garden. If you are a fan of pretty pollinators, check out these climbers that attract butterflies.

5. Rose

Orange roses in pots on a patio
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Botanical Name: Rosa spp.

Eye-catching blooms and soothing scents come to mind when you think about roses, but these have much more to offer. Roses are most popular as flowering shrubs, but some climb, and some can even be trained to look like miniature trees. Climbing roses can also be maintained as shrubs.

All of them need at least six hours of full sun and well-drained soil to grow. Also, don’t forget to check out this article on how to grow roses vertically.

6. Jasmine

jasmine vine in garden

Botanical Name:  Jasminum

Next, we come to the most fragrant flower, Jasmine. It grows as a tree, shrub, and climber, reaching up to eight meters tall. If you love scented plants, this one tops the list, as its white or pale pink flowers have a rich, sweet, fruity fragrance.

Use well-draining soil mixed with perlite or sand to ensure proper drainage and moisture retention.

7. Fuchsia

Fuchsia vines

Botanical Name: Fuchsia

Beautiful, delicate fuchsias come in a myriad of varieties and colors. Their multi-colored blossoms daintily dangle from baskets and can grow as mall shrubs. Varieties like the Giant Trailing fuchsia produce enormous blooms in stunning colors, while some, like Scarlet fuchsia, grow as a bush reaching up to 5-10 feet.

Although fuchsias are considered shade plants, give them enough light for the best blooms. Choose a location outdoors where the plants receive direct morning sun or filtered sun all day.

8. Viburnum

White flowered tree standing in a garden

Botanical Name: Viburnum

Lastly, we come to the energetic Viburnums! A most popular ornamental flower, this one is indispensable to this list of plants that train well as vines, shrubs, or trees!

These bloom from early spring and have attractive foliage by fall. Their shallow root system makes them sensitive to drought, but regular watering will fix this issue.

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