Is It Safe to Plant Climbing Vines On Your House?

Updated: Dec. 23, 2023

Vines on house exteriors can look beautiful, but some can be problematic. Learn which vines will grow best on your home.

Beautiful climbing vines can make your home look stately and refined. We’ve all seen photographs of vines on a house, from gorgeous brick homes covered in lush greenery to old manors framed with creeping ivy that look like something out of a storybook.

But what are the implications of letting these prolific plants grow on your house? If you’ve been dreaming of seeing vines on your home, read on to know if it’s safe, structurally and otherwise.

Also check: For a gardener, there’s nothing worse than watching your hard work get overrun with weeds. Try these methods to avoid or control the growth of invasive garden plants in your garden.

Should You Let Vines Grow on Your House?

That depends on a few factors. The most important one: How much upkeep you’re willing to put into them?

Vines are a lot of work. In most cases, you’ll find they require consistent care and pruning.

When overgrown, vines can take over your exterior, rot wood from too much moisture and seriously damage the structure. You must be willing to tend to climbing vines regularly so they don’t overgrow. That means keeping them pruned and dry. If you can commit to their care, most vines are a safe, pretty landscaping feature.

How to Choose the Best Climbing Vines for Your House

Avoid invasive plants

Some outdoor climbing plants aren’t ideal for homes because they’re hard to care for and prone to taking over.

Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) is invasive in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. In those areas, your Chinese Wisteria could continue rooting at each node, i.e. the points on the stems where the plant’s buds, twigs and leaves grow from. That may lead to serious spreading problems.

Choosing American Wisteria is an easy solution to prevent overgrowing issues with the Asian varieties.

Pick plants you can manage

Don’t go with unmanageable plants that will take over, including “monster” vines. These infamously hardy plants include:

  • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus);
  • Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda);
  • Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis);
  • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica);
  • Porcelain Berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)’
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).

Also, ensure the vine you choose suits for your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone.

Consider your home’s exterior

Is the exterior stucco, brick, stone or wood? You may want to talk to a garden specialist or landscaper to find a specific vine that best suits what you have. Someone living in a brick house with weakened or old masonry should beware of vines with tendrils, which could weaken and damage your mortar.

Other Tips for Protecting the Structure of Your House

Here are some things you can do to keep your property undamaged and your beautiful vines harmless:

  • Opt for a structural feature, like a trellis or a frame.
  • Train your vines away from your gutters, wires and downspouts.
  • Use wires to encourage your vines to grow in a particular direction.
  • Keep your vines dry and away from the wooden elements of the exterior to prevent wood rot.

Finally, to avoid the hassle of maintaining vines on your home, plant them somewhere less risky, like around a mailbox, on a shed or on a separate pergola or gazebo.

If you need some inspiration, this garden arbor project can help you imagine the perfect addition to your yard.