Does anyone have any suggestions regarding a climbing perennial that will grow in pretty dense shade?
I think that English Ivy does (probably any conditions), also vinca (there is a nice varigated version that gets deep periwinkle flowers in the spring; the regular solid leaf gets a darker purple flower). You probably have to 'train' it to go up the trees.
Confederate jasmine will cover tree trunks but will not flower in the shade. I do not know if it will grow up there in the arctic.
pjt - DON'T use English ivy. Try to trust a total stranger on this one. Once established it grows like mad, very, very invasive.
Look at climbing hydrangea. Wonderful when properly sited. Deciduous.
Vinca is not a climber.
I love vines too. I like boston ivy ... it grows in deep shade and the leaves are shiny and turn color in the fall. Not a flowering vine though. Also have a Dutchman's Pipe just put in this spring and has grown about 4 feet already. It will get some flowers but they aren't very showy. Mine is in medium shade, but it should grow in fairly deep shade. A neighbor has a honeysuckle vine in semishade that does well and it looks nice, she trained it up and over her front door. I started 3 climbing hydrangeas this spring in 3 different areas, and one is starting to take off and climb, the other two are just sitting there doing nothing, so it really does seem to be where they are put. The one doing best is the one in the deepest shade, the one doing poorest is in the most sun of the 3. We are having a hot very dry season plus had spring arrive about 2 months early here so everything is very confused and blooming, growing differently then perhaps normally. I plan to watch the other two and if they are still sitting after a year or two will move them but the one that is growing had a few blossoms this year already. I know it will be breathtaking once it takes off, it just may take a few years - I advise you to get a big one to start with. One of my "sitters" was huge and bushy and the one that is growing was big but not as bushy and was growing up bamboo canes already, so perhaps it is wiser to choose one that is big but growing up like a vine, and pass the one that is huge and bushy and growing out. I will know after a few years, I read it takes awhile sometimes for them to take off! I also have some variegated Virginia Creeper (Star Showers) that is growing fast and lives well in shade under some trees where it is dry. It doesn't flower, but the leaves are unique and pretty. I have vinca as a ground cover - it does not climb and won't get that long even if you tied it up to something, so don't turn to that. Another vine I just got is Porcelain Vine... just planted it this spring and it isn't taking over yet. From what I read the birds carry the seeds and it springs up everywhere, so I am hoping I don't regret it later, but it will have pretty white flowers and I love vines! It is supposed to be okay in at least moderate shade, so you could try it and see what happens. I also just purchased a Wild Yam vine at a garden center and am curious to see how it does, too early to tell. It is for shade too. At a former house I had bittersweet... had to have male and female and it would have those orange berries that crack open and look nice in flower arrangements. My new home doesn't have a spot for them, but if you have space it takes dense shade. For annuals, I grow morning glories in areas that aren't extremely dense shade... they don't bloom as much as in the sun, but they do bloom some. I learned early not to waste clematis in deep shade, they really do prefer sunshine and you won't get much but a spindly vine in anything more then very light shade.At least in my zone I think climbing hydrangea is best flowering vine! Good luck growing your vine covered jungle.
climbing hydrangea Miranda
honeysuckle? We have a native orange flower that twines nicely.
golden hops (will be huge!)
For sure, NO English ivy!! A very nasty plant across much of the US.
FWIW, vinca is not a true vine. More of a scrambling, root-as-you-go type of groundcover, it does not have the ability to vine or climb more than a few centimeters. Hops need sun, as do the majority of ornamental honeysuckles. Climbing hydrangea and its Japanese cousin are excellent choices but will not flower well in heavy shade - any flowering plant needs some sun or bright indirect light to develop its best flowering. Even the variegated Arctic kiwi (Actinidia kolomitka), while quite shade tolerant, will develop its leaf coloring better with some sun.
Wintercreeper/Euonymus fortunei has an ability to climb when planted adjacent to a climbable surface. And it is extremely tolerant of shade, even dry shade, and comes in both cream and gold variegated forms that light up dark, shady spaces. Can be prone to euonymus scale in some areas of the country as well as a crown gall.