Vines lend vertical greenery to indoor spaces through climbing stems and trailing tendrils. Their natural ascending growth habits allow cultivating lush living walls, plant screens, and hanging displays even in tight quarters. Certain vines stand out for adaptability to indoor cultivation and conditions.
By selecting vines suited to indoor life, urban and apartment gardeners can maximize vertical space for growth. Vining plants conceal boring walls and fixtures while purifying the air. When artfully arranged, climbing and trailing plants can transform cramped surroundings through “living art.”
- Select vining houseplants suited to your specific indoor light levels and growing conditions.
- Provide strong support structures for vines to climb or adhere to, like trellises, tension rods, or moss poles.
- Use trailing indoor plants creatively to optimize vertical space, especially in confined areas.
- Locate vining plants strategically as living screens, wall accents, and to conceal unsightly fixtures.
- Prune back and train vines gently to direct growth and promote full, bushy plants.
- Match care regimens to each vine variety’s needs, including fertilizer, water, and propagation.
- Take advantage of vining plants’ natural climbing habits to create artistic living installations even in tight spaces.
Benefits of Indoor Vining Plants
Vines offer unique advantages for gardening in confined indoor environments:
1. Use vertical real estate
Vining houseplants are advantageous because they allow you to fully utilize vertical space by letting plants grow up walls, trellises, and other surfaces. Instead of only being able to garden at ground level, vertical vines expand your planting area to include underutilized walls, hanging rods, and upward paths. This optimizes often wasted vertical real estate within a room for increased greenery without taking up valuable floorspace or horizontal surfaces needed for other functions.
2. Function as living art
The trailing and winding growth habits of vining houseplants create ever-changing organic patterns as they spread across the surfaces they climb. Their naturally beautiful spreading forms and shapes transform plain walls and trellises into decorative living works of art. The way the vines grow and travel across the vertical areas they are provided becomes a constantly evolving artistic display.
3. Direct and define space
Strategically directing vining houseplants along certain directed paths allows you to delineate and screen off specific areas, designating individual spaces within a larger open concept room. Customizing where vines are guided helps define functional zones for sitting, working, or lounging within a big multipurpose room. Vines can create living barriers that separate an office niche from a reading nook for example.
4. Increase privacy
Fast-growing vining houseplants can be used as living curtains trailing across walls, windows, doors, and room dividers to naturally filter lines of sight and increase privacy levels. Lush green curtains of vining foliage allow you to dictate visibility and seclusion within different parts of a room or throughout the home according to your needs. Vines provide moveable, customizable privacy.
5. Improve air quality
Large-leaved vining houseplants purify indoor air in two ways: they increase oxygen levels while absorbing common air pollutants like VOCs emitted from paints, fabrics, and furniture. Their abundant foliage and rapid growth helps cleanse the air while creating healthier indoor breathing environments. Vines are natural air fresheners.
6. Enhance ambience
Actively growing vining plants lend indoor spaces a profoundly more natural, peaceful, comforting ambience. The presence of vine-covered walls and hanging foliage makes rooms feel more relaxed, meditative, and surrounded by nature which provides mental benefits. Vines create a soothing, biophilic haven.
With strategic placement, vines allow you to exploit vertical gardening possibilities even in the most limited interiors.
Best Indoor Vining Houseplants
Certain vines outperform others when grown indoors. Consider growing these top varieties:
With its versatility to thrive in low to bright indirect light conditions, the lush tropical foliage of easygoing Philodendron makes it a nearly failsafe indoor vine. It grows vigorously with little care required and comes in a diverse range of leaf shapes, sizes, and colorations. Cultivars like ‘Brazil,’ ‘Silver,’ and ‘Micans’ add unique dramatic accents with their showy variegated leaves in shades of lime, silver, and deep green that will cascade gracefully.
Offering a carefree vine that can handle neglect, pothos is prized for its durability and bold variegated leaves. The golden pothos and its white-flecked cousin marble queen feature eyecatching yellow and white patterns that seem to glow against the deep green foliage. Unfussy pothos will thrive in a hanging basket or spread amply from a shelf, showcasing the curved, heart-shaped leaves on arching stems.
3. Arrowhead Vines
Also called goosefoot vines, the tropical Syngonium podophyllum can lend a rainforest vibe with its large multi-lobed leaves in a mix of green, white, and pink variegation. As they mature, arrowhead vines will cling to any nearby indoor supports like trellises or poles using small aerial roots. Varieties like ‘Pixie’ and ‘Strawberry Cream’ will brighten up a living wall with fast growing trailing stems covered in colorful foliage.
4. Grape Ivy
A workhorse indoor vine, grape ivy or Cissus rhombifolia is an unfussy trailing plant that can handle lower light while spreading prolifically. Its triangular toothed leaves and curled tendrils lend unique visual texture as it gracefully drapes. Grape ivy is perfect for softening the look of bookshelves, cabinets, and other indoor structures by letting stems cascade freely. An easy green filler vine.
5. Heartleaf Philodendron
The classic heart-shaped leaves of Philodendron hederaceum have made it a staple indoor plant for good reason. This vining philodendron adjusts well to life inside, able to gently climb up supports or trail casually from hanging pots with minimal care needed. With so many new cultivars, the usual green leaves can be swapped for stunning colors like red, orange, or yellow.
Unfussy yet versatile, these vining plants allow you to maximize your indoor gardening display space through strategic vertical cultivation.
Choosing Vines for Light Conditions
When selecting indoor vines, factor in the lighting conditions they will grow in.
Low Light Vines
Low light vines can thrive in indoor spaces that only receive bright indirect sunlight filtered through sheer curtains or located several feet from a window. Varieties to consider include:
The ever-popular pothos like golden pothos and marble queen are champs when it comes to surviving in low light environments indoors. With its iconic heart-shaped leaves splashed in yellow and white variegation, pothos handles extended periods in low light better than most vines. It continues trailing gracefully in dim corners or poorly lit rooms where other plants would decline. The lush stems and bold patterns of pothos add drama regardless of light levels.
Tough philodendron varieties such as ‘Brazil,’ ‘Silver,’ and ‘Micans’ are some of the best low light vines thanks to their durability. While growth slows in darker rooms, the lush green and variegated leaves remain intact under remarkably low illumination from the tolerant philodendron. Where other vines would perish, versatile philodendrons will adapt relatively well to reduced indoor light as long as temperatures are adequate.
3. Grape Ivy
An underappreciated but excellent low light vine, grape ivy or Cissus rhombifolia stays slim and tidy even with minimal light. This makes it ideal for low light rooms where gangly growth needs to be contained. Grape ivy weaves dense mats and trails neatly, creating sheets of small curled stems perfect for draping small spaces and hanging baskets without taking over.
4. Devil’s Ivy
Also called pothos, neon or lime light devil’s ivy can brighten up dark corners with its electric green foliage. It handles very low natural and artificial light levels indoors with ease. Left to trail from bookshelves or wall hooks, neon devil’s ivy survives reduced light that would cause other plants to decline.
5. Creeping Jenny
Trailing creeping jenny vine stays compact yet flowing even in very low indoor light environments. The flat overlapping round leaves on thin crawling stems make it perfect for low light shelves or wall planters where the tidy stems can drape gracefully. Creeping jenny adds a subtle flowing effect without aggressive growth in the dark.
Medium Light Vines
Medium light vines thrive in east or west facing rooms with bright indirect light or several feet from a south window. Options include:
1. Heartleaf Philodendron
The classic heartleaf philodendron with its deep green, gracefully arching leaves is ideally suited for medium light interiors. This carefree vine tolerates a wide range of indirect light beyond just low levels. New cultivars like the chartreuse ‘Brasil’ add colorful flair beyond the usual green, with trailing stems perfect for shelves. Heartleaf philodendrons lend their iconic shape to brighten medium light spaces.
2. Arrowhead Vine
Also called syngonium or goosefoot plant, the arrowhead vine handles medium light well while spreading or climbing readily from its sturdy tendrils and aerial roots. The flashy bright pink variety ‘Neon Robusta’ is especially bold and vivid in medium light. Arrowheads make excellent statement trailers that draw the eye with their five-lobed leaves in a mix of greens, creams, and pinks.
These underutilized succulent tropical vines actually prefer medium light to stimulate prolific flower production that lasts for months. Hindu rope hoya provides perfect dangling stems with teardrop foliage for shelving in medium light rooms. The huge waxy leaves of Hoya curtsii make it ideal for visually filling more brightly lit areas on vertical supports.
4. Creeping Fig
With tiny, deep green oak-shaped leaves no bigger than a fingernail, creeping fig covers surfaces in intricate detail perfect for medium light walls where the small scale will stand out. This aptly named wall creeper clings tenaciously and spreads steadily across its support structure in medium indirect light.
5. English Ivy
Variegated forms of classic English ivy like ‘Glacier’ lend their light-brightening white-edged leaves to decorate medium light indoor spaces. As a climbing vine, ivy can festoon its way up cords, pillars, screens, and other structures in locations with adequate ambient light to highlight the creamy white patterns.
Bright Light Vines
Bright light vines thrive near south facing windows or under grow lights. They need direct sun reaching their leaves several hours per day. Good choices include:
For passionflowers to really thrive and flower continuously indoors, provide the brightest light possible by growing them in direct sun up a trellis or latticework positioned next to a sunny window. The intricate, ornate blooms of passionflower vines will only reach their full potential given adequate sunlight. Their exotic, showy flowers with saddle-shaped petals, feathery filaments, and prominent stamens make stunning living art.
Referred to as Dipladenia when grown as a houseplant, mandevilla needs as much direct sun as possible to support its clusters of large, trumpet-shaped blooms. Its lush red, pink, or white flowers flourish onto lengthy flower stalks but only if given extremely bright light indoors near a southern window. Mandevilla’s twining tropical vines will truly shine given lots of sunny exposure.
3. Cypress Vine
A fast climbing annual, cypress vine is smothered in hundreds of small delicate pink or red star-shaped blooms but only when grown in full sun indoors near large windows. For the bright flowers to blanket the fine, feathery foliage, provide a tall sturdy trellis in the sunniest spot available. Cypress vines make airy cut flowers too.
4. Chilean Jasmine
Imported from South America, Chilean jasmine needs as much hot, direct sun as it can get indoors to support dangling chains of vibrant pink or white tubular blooms. Southern exposure and ample heat allows Chilean jasmine to flourish cascading as a flowering curtain on its vining stems. The more sun, the more flowers.
Match each vine’s light preferences to the windows or grow lights available in your space for optimal growth and appeal.
Best Support Structures for Indoor Vines
To direct and control the growth of indoor vines requires providing sturdy structures for stems to climb or attach to. Useful supports include:
Free-standing or wall mounted trellises provide essential vertical structure for climbing vines to grow upwards. Look for trellises made from durable materials like finished wood or powder-coated metal that can handle the weight and pressure of mature vining plants without toppling over. Sturdy trellises with wide spacing between rungs or grid openings give adequate support as vines wrap around and through them while climbing skyward.
2. Moss Poles
Moss poles involve poles or cylinders wrapped in moist sheets of living sphagnum moss to create an organic climbing structure for vines to adhere to. The vines will anchor themselves by wrapping delicate aerial roots into the hydrated moss as they climb up the poles. Moss poles provide gentle support that resembles natural trees. They can be purchased readymade or hand constructed at home using plastic mesh and sheets of dried moss.
Intricately knotted hanging macramé planters suspended from ceilings provide an excellent matrix for vining stems to freely wander through and cling to while supported in midair. The many holes and openings in macramé give vines ample purchase to grasp and spread. Smaller draping plants like wandering Jews, string of pearls, or trailing spider plants complement macramé’s woven texture nicely as hanging companions.
4. Lattice Screens
Lightweight lattice panels affixed to walls create quick screens for vines to freely weave through horizontally across the lattice openings. This can delineate spaces and conceal unsightly areas indoors. Use pressure mounted lattice that attaches without nails or screws to avoid damage to walls. Vines will happily use the lattice as both a support and natural barrier while spreading.
5. Tension Rods
Tension curtain rods with cord or rope strung horizontally between them create temporary climbing support structures perfect for rentals when you can’t make permanent changes. Vining stems will readily grasp and climb up the anchored cords. Tension rods with cords can be easily installed and removed without damage to transform blank walls into vertical plant displays.
6. Command Hooks
Adhesive command hooks stuck to walls in orderly rows or grid patterns create handy anchor points for vining stems to cling and climb up using their aerial roots and searching tendrils. Command hooks provide a simple Damage-free method to add climbing structure vertically on walls, especially helpful for renters who can’t make permanent alterations. The hooks adhere securely while vines attach themselves, then remove cleanly without ruined paint or holes when it’s time to take down the plant display. Using command hooks to support vining growth avoids drilling into walls yet still allows you to maximize vertical space for plants.
With vines, think outside the pot and utilize vertical structures to unleash their innate climbing and trailing abilities indoors.
Caring for Indoor Vining Plants
Indoor vines share growth habits but vary in their care needs. Follow these general guidelines:
Carefully place vining plants in suitable lighting conditions, whether bright, moderate or low intensity based on that variety’s needs. Rotate pots regularly to promote even, balanced growth by preventing stems from continually growing towards the light source. Adjust location over time as conditions and vine growth changes.
Allow the soil to dry out partially between waterings, taking care not to saturate the roots. The frequency will depend on factors like light levels, humidity, and temperature. Plants in brighter, hotter spaces need more frequent watering. Mist vine leaves occasionally if indoor air is very dry to supplement humidity around the plant.
Average household humidity is acceptable for most indoor vines. Grouping vine plants together helps boost the local humidity around the plants. Mist the leaves every few days to supplement moisture if your home’s air is on the drier side. Vines do not need the ultra-high humidity required by tropical rainforest plants.
Applying a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength once a month during the active growing season will support healthy vines. Reduce frequency in winter months or for slower growing varieties. Excess fertilizer can burn roots or leave residue on leaves.
Gently train wandering vine stems onto their designated supports by loosely securing or guiding growth in the right direction. Avoid damaging fragile new stem tips and leaves. Add soft ties or clips periodically to loosely attach vine growth to the structures as it matures for better anchoring.
Trim off excess vine stems as needed to direct and shape growth by pinching back errant branches and cutting overlong trails. Thoughtful pruning promotes bushier, fuller plants. But go easy on pruning newly established vines until they adjust and begin actively growing.
Follow individual variety’s care guides for specifics like ideal temperature range, reported toxicity to pets, and propagation methods. Let vines become living art.
Vertical Gardening Inspiration for Indoor Vines
Indoor vines shine when used creatively. Inspiring ways to display vining plants include:
1. Trailing From Hanging Baskets
Let the trailing stems and tendrils of carefree vines like variegated pothos, heartleaf philodendrons, or green ivy gracefully drape down as living curtains suspended from hanging macramé baskets. Position these above counters, kitchen sinks, bar areas, or dining tables to allow the vines to delicately frame the spaces below while suspended in midair. The lush greenery and organic shapes create an indoor jungle feel.
2. Cascading Bookcase Gardens
Have vining houseplants artfully trail from wall mounted shelves and bookcases alongside displayed books, photos, and curiosities to create a natural cascading garden. Choose slim, delicate trailing vines like grape ivy, creeping Jenny, or string of pearls whose stems and foliage will not overtake the objects they frame. The vining plants soften the look of the shelves while complementing the collected items.
3. Living Room Dividers
Use floor to ceiling lattice panels mounted on frames and covered in climbing vines like English ivy or creeping fig to define sitting areas and divide open concept living room spaces. The lush green vines will create living walls that partition the room into separate functional areas with some privacy, while still allowing light to permeate through the greenery.
4. Concealing Eyesores
Drape fast growing vining plants like golden pothos, neon pothos, or fig ivy over exposed pipes, vents, conduits, plumbing lines, or other unsightly industrial elements to conceal them. Let the vines mask and hide the necessary but ugly mechanics. The organic patterns distract from the straight lines and hard edges.
5. Climbing Window Frames
Have clingy vines like creeping fig or English ivy climb directly up the frames of windows and glass doors to accentuate architectural elements. Let them highlight the shape of the openings. Keep glass and windows unobstructed by vines to allow light entry. Just train stems around the panes.
With clever placement, indoor vines become living décor and breathing design elements. Let trailing plants enhance and define your indoor spaces.
FAQs About Growing Indoor Vines Vertically
What types of vines are best for indoor vertical gardening?
The best indoor vertical gardening vines are pothos, philodendrons, grape ivy, arrowhead plant, heartleaf philodendron, creeping fig, English ivy, wandering Jew, string of pearls, and Hoya varieties.
What can I use as supports for indoor vines?
Good supports for indoor vines include trellises, lattice panels, tension curtain rods with cord, moss or coco coir poles, macramé hangers, strips of burlap, command hooks, and wire forms. Avoid flimsy supports.
How much light do indoor vines need?
Light needs vary. Low light vines like pothos and philodendrons need only bright indirect light. Vines like passionflower and cypress vine require several hours of direct sun. Choose vines suited to your indoor light.
How often should I water indoor vining plants?
Water when the top few inches of soil become dry. Vines in brighter light need more frequent watering. Increase water gradually in summer. In winter, allow soil to dry out a bit more before watering mature vines.
Should I prune my indoor vines?
Light pruning improves shape, fullness, and growth habit. Pinch back long, leggy stems and cut back trailing vines once they become unruly. Prune just above leaf nodes to encourage branching and bushiness. Avoid over-pruning.
Can I grow edible vines indoors?
Yes, some edible vines can be grown indoors vertically. Try grapes, kiwi, climbing beans, malabar spinach, chayote, passionfruit, and hardy kiwi. Provide strong trellises and bright light for fruiting varieties.
What causes indoor vines to die?
Vines suffer if given insufficient light, over or under-watering, drafts, high salt content in water, or pests. Allow soil to partly dry before watering. Move plants away from drafty areas. Use distilled water if salts build up. Identify and treat pests.
For indoor gardeners short on space, vining plants provide versatile vertical options. Clever vines placement makes use of the third dimension to garden creatively, even in cramped quarters. Trailing houseplants introduce living greenery and refresh neglected corners. Matching vines to indoor conditions and providing structural support enables living walls that transform rooms into organic artworks. With the right vine selection and care, verdant indoor spaces await, even for apartment dwellers and condo owners. Bring vibrancy aloft through vines suited to the vertical life indoors.