Creepers and Climbers


In the years gone by  when most of the houses in Dehra Dun were built in 2 to 4 bigas ( 1500 to 3000 Sq. meter) area there was ample space for a proper landscaped garden. In these gardens one would always find some allocated area for the climbers. Most of these houses boasted of climbing Roses and the Bougainvilleas in all theirs shades such as deep purple, red, salmon-pink, white, and the variegated varieties. 


In India we have over 300 varieties of creepers and climbers, most of these grow wild. Most of them are native of our country and few have been introduced from South America, Africa and other parts of Asia.


The growth habit and vibrant colours give a charming appearance to any wall in the garden. Climbers are very commonly used on arches, walls and to provide privacy.


It is often felt that among the various types of ornamental plants least interest is taken on climbers and only few species or varieties are found growing in a locality.

Creepers : These plants can be grown along the top of the compound wall or as a cover for walls, or at the entrance as an arch. There are varieties of creepers available like, Bignonia venusta, allamanda, passiflora (fashion flower), Jacquemontia. Even Bougainvilleas can be a good creeper. 

Climbers: These are the plants with soft stems that grow only with a support. They rely on something else for support; another plant, a wall or trellis. Different types of climbers have devised many crafty ways to hold on to whatever they grasp. Examples are Clerodendrum thomsoniae (Bleeding Heart), Cissus rhombifolia (Grape Ivy), Jasminum multipartitum (Starry Wild Jasmine), Clematis montana (Clematis) etc.

Soil type:

Creepers and climbers grow best in planting medium made as under:

·         Garden soil 2 parts

·         Farm yard manure 1 part

A mixture of this should be applied to the previously dug up plot up to a height of 5 cm.

Fertiliser requirement:

Apply IFFCO 12-32-16 (25 gm per plant) or DAP (25 gm) + MOP 10 gm) per plant ever 15 days. Application can be made weekly during the flowering season.

Water requirement:

These plants need regular watering except during the monsoons. In winter apply water as required.

Light Requirement:

Since most of these varieties are Tropical they require a good amount of sunshine. A minimum of 4-6 hours of sunlight is must for proper growth and flowering.

Even a good amateur gardener seldom knows more than a dozen climbers as information regarding a large number of these plants are not readily available.

Today with smaller house plots and smaller gardens one can still add some climbers to the garden. The recommended climbers are as under:

Suggested varieties:

Ser No

Common name

Botanical name



Garlic Vine • Manipuri: চনম লৈ Chanamlei • Bengali: লতা পাৰুল Lata parul

Botanical name: Cydista aequinoctialis    Family: Bignoniaceae (Jacaranda family)


Native to South Maerica, Garlic Vine is one of the most rewarding, flowering vines that you can grow. Interestingly enough it smells like garlic. However, it doesn't smell if the plant is left alone, only when the leaves are crushed. Flowering twice a year you will find it quite often covered with flowers. Flowers start off purple with white throat and change to a lighter shade of lavender with age. Eventually fading to almost white. You will see 3 different color of flowers at the same time on the plant. It can be grown in containers and should be trimmed after the flowers are gone. The entire plant - roots, vine and leaves, is useful. It is used to reduce fevers, treat colds, throat, and respiratory ailments.




Pink jasmine, Winter jasmine, Chinese jasmine • Hindi Gulabi chameli • Tamil:  Jaadi-malli

Botanical name: Jasminum polyanthum    Family: Oleaceae (Jasmine family)

Fast growing twining vine with glossy, compound leaves and very fragrant white flowers. Though called "Pink" it is only the buds that are pale pink. When opened the star-shaped flowers are pure white. Flowering is usually prolific, and growth is rampant. Vines reach a height of about 20 ft. Native to southeastern China, pink jasmine is a popular landscape and greenhouse plant. In warmer climates, pink jasmine can be used freely to cover walls and high fences, to grow on arbors, or train up any surface where a verdant cover is desirable. This is especially nice grown around windows, where it can provide a visual frame and where its heavenly scent can waft inside.



Glow Vine, Purple funnel vine, Purple bignonia

Botanical name: Saritaea magnifica    Family: Bignoniaceae (Jacaranda family)

Glow Vine is a climbing shrub native to South America, cultivated as a garden plant in India. Oppositely arranged leaves are compound with just two leaflets which are obovate. Leaflets are rather dull in color, 3-5 inches long, 1.75-2.5 inches wide. Flowers are borne in 4-flowered cymes in leaf axils or at the end of branches. Flowers are large, with almost no stalk, showy, a narrow tube opening into rounded petals. Sepal cup is bell-shaped. Flowers are up to 2.5 inches wide, purplish-violet, mauve or light purple in color, whitish or light pink in the throat with longitudinal purple veins. Glow Vine is propagated by cutting. Flowering: September-October.


Kundo, Warakki Kundo (Manipuri), Kundamu malle (Telugu), Kunda (Hindi),

Botanical name: Jasminum nervosum  

Family: Oleaceae (Jasmine family)


Known by the name Warakki kundo, Jasminum nervosum is very popular in Manipur. In Manipur, it is considered to be a wild cousin of Jasminum multiflorum, also known as Kundo. It has very beautiful single-flowered, white blooms, which have no fragrance. It is a climbing shrub with very slender branchlets which are slightly pubescent when young. Leaves simple, ovate or lance-like ovate, 2-5.5 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, pointed at the tip and rounded at the base, with a short stalk. Flowers occur at the end of branches, either singly or in groups of three. Snow white flowers are large, with iwith 7-11 petals which are 9-13 cm long. The beauty of the flower more than makes up for lack of fragrance. In Indian mythology, Kunda is known for its whiteness. In Manipur, Kundo flowers are used in worship, and are an essential part of a marriage ceremony. The bride garlands the groom with two Kundo flower garlands. The groom then takes one of the two and garlands the bride.




Flame vine

Botanical name: Combretum coccineum     Family: Combretaceae (rangoon creeper family)

The name Combretum means climbing plant in Latin. This is a spectacular creeper providing a spring spectacle of flaming crimson, flowering splendour. Flame vin is a robust, deciduous climber, sometimes a scrambling shrub. Masses of small flowers with bright red petals and long stamens occur in panicles. The oval leaves are 13-60 mm long and 13-50 mm wide. The Combretaceae are trees, shrubs, and lianas comprising about 20 genera and 600 species.




Botanical name: Bougainvillea glabra

Family: Nactaginaceae


Bougainvillea is an evergreen vine which is just as happy spreading horizontally or hanging downwards as it is climbing upwards, it makes itself at home in almost any situation. It can be grown as a hedge, groomed as a ground cover, pruned as an espalier, trained as a tree or contained in a pot in a variety of shapes. Its trunk tends to be gnarled. Bougainvillea is ideal for bonsai. Red, violet, orange, yellow or white bracts appear on the ends of new growth. The white variety has recently been found in Bougainvillea are available in nurseries and from bonsai specialty growers

They flower most heavily in winter and early spring, but some plants put forth scattered clusters all year.

The colors are found in tones of purple, lavender, carmine, scarlet, red, pink, orange, yellow and white. Single and double flower forms are available. Double forms tend to carry their blooms near the end of the stems rather than distributing them evenly over the plant.

The colorful, papery "blooms" are not flowers; they are bracts. The true flower is white, trumpet shaped and almost unnoticeable within the bracts. Bougainvilleas are available in a variety of species, each having its unique characteristics.

However, with judicious clipping and watering, the form of the plant and quantity of bloom can be controlled. It is perhaps at its best in India at altitudes between 600 and 1200m. There are countless varieties of the `Bougainvillea ` and a host of hybrids, all of which it would be impossible to describe.

Some suggested varieties are:

  • Bougainvillea brazilinensis: 'Pink Pixie' bougainvillea.
  • Bougainvillea buttiana 'Golden Glow' - Has bright yellow bracts which fade to apricot.
  • Bougainvillea buttiana 'Louis Wathen' - orange bracts.
  • Bougainville

    abuttiana 'Mrs. Butt': - crimson bracts.

    Bougainvillea buttiana 'Orange King'. Bougainvillea glabra: paper flower, lesser bougainvillea - the most common species used for bonsai. It has shiny green, slightly hairy leaves and magenta colored bracts.

    Bougainvillea glabra 'Magnifica' - rose pink bracts.

    Bougainvillea glabra 'Snow White' - white bracts.

    Bougainvillea peruviana - rosy pink bracts.

    Bougainvillea spectabilis - pink or mauve bracts.



    Yellow Doll Rose

    Botanical name: Rosa 'Yellow Doll'    Family: Rosaceae (Rose family)

    Yellow Doll Rose is a beautiful miniature climbing rose which is commonly seen in hill stations like Mussoorie. Yellow double flowers are only slightly larger than thumb size. It is a shrub which climbs, and covers itself with bunches of small yellow flowers in the blooming season. Yellow Doll Rose is a recent hybrid


    Trumpet Creeper, Trumpet vine, Cow-Itch Vine

    Botanical name: Campsis radicans      Family: Bignoniaceae (Jacaranda family)

    The trumpet creeper is a popular, fast growing, high climbing deciduous woody vine that will grow to heights up to 40 ft. The vine's aerial roots that occur along the stems that attach tightly to surfaces. Once the vine climbs to a certain height it grows horizontal branches that reach away from the support in a quest for light and space. Trumpet creeper produces pinnate compound leaves 4-12 in long that cover the vine in a dense cloak of bright green foliage. They are composed of 7-15 oval leaflets that have serrated edges and are 1-4 in long and 0.5-1.5 in wide. Showy clusters of yellow orange to red trumpet-shaped flowers first appear in summer and are produced continuously until early autumn. The tubular flower buds are 3 - 4 in long and are followed by seed capsule 4-8 in long that often hangs on the vine through the winter.  


    Rangoon Creeper, Burma creeper • Hindi: Madhu Malati • Manipuri: পারিজাত Parijat • Marathi: Vilayati chambeli • Tamil: Irangun malli • Bengali: মধুমংজরী Madhumanjari • Urdu: Ishq pechaan عسق پیچاں


    Botanical name:  Quisqualis indica      Family: Combretaceae (Rangoon creeper family)


    Rangoon creeper is the most common vine in Delhi. It is not uncommon to see the creeper rooted only in a small hole in cemented groud, but the vine thriving and climbing high. Clusters of fragrant white pendulous trumpets open white then change to pink, red and finally a deep maroon. A vigorous twining climber blooming profusely throughout summer that can reach as much as 70 feet in tropical climates. This plant needs support for growing and is very useful in covering fences, supports, and walls. The fragrant white flowers grow in pendent racemes, quickly changing to pink then red, making a spectacular show. The growth rate is generally fast, and the plant does not make heavy fertilizer demands. Rangoon creeper does like medium to bright light. Under good conditions it will be necessary to prune the plant to keep it in bounds. Rangoon creeper is found in thickets or secondary forests of the Philippines, India and Malaysia. It has since been cultivated widely in the gardens as an easy to grow plant.


    Passion fruit, Edible Passion Flower, Passion flower, Purple granadilla

    Botanical name: Passiflora edulis      Family: Passifloraceae (passion flower family)

    he passion fruit is a vigorous, climbing vine that clings by tendrils to almost any support. It can grow 15 to 20 ft. per year once established and must have strong support. It is generally short-lived (5 to 7 years). The evergreen leaves of passion fruit are alternate, deeply 3-lobed when mature and finely toothed. They are 3 to 8 inches long, deep green and glossy above, paler and dull beneath and, like the young stems and tendrils, tinged with red or purple, specially in the yellow form. A single, fragrant flower, 2 to 3 inches wide, is born at each node on the new growth. The bloom, clasped by 3 large, green, lifelike bracts, consists of 5 greenish-white sepals, 5 white petals and a fringelike corona of straight, white-tipped rays, rich purple at the base. It also has 5 stamens with large anthers, the ovary and triple-branched style forming a prominent central structure. The passion fruit is round to oval, yellow or dark purple at maturity, with a soft to firm, juicy interior filled with numerous seeds. The fruit can be grown to eat or for its juice, which is often added to other fruit juices to enhance aroma. The unique flavor is appealing, musky, guava-like and sweet/tart to tart. Passion fruit is cultivated commercially for its fruit in northwestern South America, India, the Caribbean, Brazil, southern Florida, Hawaii, Australia, East Africa, Israel and South Africa.


    Ragi • Marathi: Ragi • Assamese: Paniphigag-taraw, Bagasora, Kempu-ribui • Tamil: Kevaru

    Botanical name: Caesalpinia cucullata    Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)

    Ragi is a large climbing shrub, with branches carrying curved prickles on corky tubercles (small knoblike structures). Leaves are 2-pinnate - rachis to 30 cm long, pinnae 2-5. Flowers fragrant, in terminal and axillary racemes 20-40cm. Yellow flowers appear like hoods with long stamens with red anthers, coming out. The species name cucullatum means hooded. Ragi is found a bit rarely in evergreen forests at higher elevations of the Sahyadri hills. It is much more abundant in north-east India.


    Climbing Begonia, Rex Begonia Vine, Painted Cissus • Manipuri: কোংগঙৌযেন লবা Kongngouyen laba • Nepalese: Jogi lahara

    Botanical name: Cissus javana    Family: Vitaceae (Grape family)

    Climbing Begonia is not really a Begonia, but is a vine having large, decorated, Begonia-like leaves. It is a weak perennial climber with a woody base. Stems are prominently red and hairless, and trendrils are forked. Leaves are ovate-lanceshaped, with a heart-shaped base and a pointed tip, and margins finely toothed or bristly. Leaves are usually mottled with aluminium white above, and are purple on the underside. Flowers are tiny, yellowish, on red sepals cup and stalks, in small compound umbels, opposite to the leaves. Berry is black to reddish-purple. Climbing Begonia is found in NE India up to altitudes of 1200 m. In Western countries, Climbing Begonia is used as an ornamental plant. Flowering: July-November.


    Climbing Skullcap  Nepalese: Chaarpaate

    Botanical name: Scutellaria scandens    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)

    Climbing Skullcap is a tall perennial herbaceous plant, with long climbing 4-angled branches. This climbing plant produces lax spikes of pale yellow or whitish flowers with purple upper lips. The flower spikes are about 8-10 cm long. The flowers are 2-2.5 cm long, the upper lip hooded with margins in-curved. The notched lower lip is broader than long. Ovate-lancelike leaves, 2.5-8 cm long, are coarsely toothed, stalked and sometimes purple on the lower surface. Climbing Skullcap is found in shrubberies in the Himalayas, at altitudes of 1200-2400 m. Flowering: March-May.


    Climbing Oleander, Rose Allamanda

    Botanical name: Strophanthus gratus     Family: Apocynaceae (oleander family)

    Climbing Oleander is an evergreen, clambering vine or rambling shrub, to 25 feet or more from West Africa. It has shiny leathery olive green, oblong to elliptical leaves, up to 6 inches long. Flowers in spring with clusters of showy, rose-scented, white or tinged with pink flowers with a darker throat, up to 2 inches in diameter, tube up to 1.6 inches long, lobes with crisped margins. Flower shape has some resemblance to Oleander flowers and also to Allamanda, hence the two common names. Dry fruit, up to 15 inches long, containing glabrous seeds.


    White Coral Vine, Coral vine, Honolulu creeper, Mexican creeper • Tamil: Kodi rose • Bengali: Anantalata

    Botanical name: Antigonon leptopus 'Alba'    Family: Polygonaceae (Knotweed family)

    This is the rare white variety of the normally pink coral vine. Coral Vine, is a native of Mexico. It is a fast growing, evergreen vine, climbing with tendrils that will reach 40 feet. Leaves are dark green heart-shaped to arrowhead-shaped to 5 inches long. Probably the heart shaped leaves and the delicate flowers led to its Mexican name cadena de amor or "chain of love". It produces edible tubers. The actual flowers are tiny but the sepals are larger and provide the brilliant colors that range from white to rose-pink to deep coral flowered varieties