Climbing vines for pergola


10 Best Flowering Vines For Trellis, Arches, Pergola, And Arbors


Decorating your pergola, trellis and arches can be a tough decision to make, as there are a thousand varieties of flowering vines in the market each with their own characteristic and beauty. You can do so much with these beautiful garden accents which are the main beauty to your garden. You can always come with innovative and inspiring ideas to cover up the sides of property that is less than beautiful by growing colorful flowering vines. If you want to make the entrance of your garden really attractive you can use the flower vines with the characteristic of having multi-color flowers and dark green heavy leaves that will also attract butterflies to your garden. You can also make your garden a secluded spot by planting the flowering vines that can hide unappealing space of your garden covering the whole arbors, pergolas and arches.

Related Articles: Best Indoor vine plants, flowers that attract hummingbirds, vertical garden plants, diy trellis for growing climbing plants, diy tomato cages and colorful and rich nectar flowers to attract butterflies.

Here are the ten best flowering vines for trellis, arches, pergola, and arbors :

10-Zephirine Drouhin Rose

These vining flowers are among the best climbers with inimitable roses on it. The canes of this rose is thorn less and have the beautiful burgundy color which will make your garden look alluring. These vines having flexible canes are widely used to decor the garden as they are easy to wrap around the pergolas or the arches that you have in your garden and can grow up to 15 feet. This unique flowering vine doesn’t require much of sunlight and blossoms very well in shadows as well, so if your garden doesn’t get the direct sunlight this Zephirine Drouhin Rose is just suitable for your garden.


If you are looking for something bright, colorful and floriferous in your garden then bougainvillea vining flowers must be your choice. These vining plants grow very well on bushes, hedges and fences from 3 to 40 ft. and are considered the best climbing plants for shade. If your bougainvillea plant is looked after well then this plant will prove to be the best in your garden. It is mostly liked for its disease resistant and pest free qualities which makes it popular among the garden lovers. Whether you plant it in a small pot or leave it to climb on a garden trellis or fence, it will spread with full elegance overflowing the trellis and your arches. The bougainvillea grows in an equatorial climate such as in Keyna, Singapore or Brazil. They don’t grow in extreme cold weather or during excess rainfall. The ideal season for North America is spring and fall.

8-Blue Moon Wisteria

This Blue Moon Wisteria flowering vine grows in purple, red, blue and white color blooming vigorously in spring. It can spread up to 4 to 8 ft. and reaches up to 15 to 25 ft. This flowering vine produces flowers by the 3rd year of its plantation and it needs full sun, so make sure to plant it in the part of your garden where it will get the most sunlight. The soil in which it has to be planted should be somewhat acidic, temperately fertile and well-drain. Usage of superphosphate during the onset of spring has proved stimulating growth for the flowers. To grow properly it needs space and support so if you are using this vine plant on a pergola you will have to support it properly at first. Blue Moon Wisteria requires a lot of maintenance and is the best plants to grow on a pergola.

7-Sweet Peas

This vining plant offer fragrant blooms in multiple colors depending upon their species, from summer to fall. Growing up to a height of 8 feet, this annual needs full sun, well-drained soil to grow, fertilizers every after 2 to 4 weeks and are suitable for northern regions. They require a lot of attention as the Sweet Peas is prone to bugs and pests.

6-Morning Glory

This saucer shaped flowers bloom early in the morning and thus represents their name ‘Morning Glory’. They are the best decorating vine flowers for a garden because of their beauty. They have heart-shaped leaves which are mostly 4-5 inches long. They appear in blue, red, purple and yellow colors and the flowering vines reach up to 10 ft. long. Morning Glory grows in temperate and subtropical regions. Growing a morning glory is not much of a hassle, and can grow in dry soil as well but needs plenty of direct sunlight.

5-Campsis Radicans (Trumpet Vine)

This flowering vine Campsis Radican has trumpet shaped flowers and is also known as the Trumpet Vine. The flowers turn their color from orange to red and are yellow from its throat. Their distinct colors attract hummingbird to the garden. The Trumpet vine is perfect to grow on arches, pergola and trellis, as they are the best climbing plants and reach up to the height of 25 to 40 ft. The vine flowers need sunlight but the leaves can grow well in shade too.


If you want the Clematis for your trellis or arbor you will have to go with the taller variety of clematis. The blooming season begins during the early spring and only after one season the whole structure will be covered in Clematis. These vine plants are easy to grow, require less maintenance and at the end of the year your garden will be filled with intriguing and colorful flowers.

3-Emerald Falls Dichondra Ground Cover Seeds

This gorgeous silver foliage with its heavy and constant growth is perfect for windows or on the ground. It is easy to grow as it requires only sun and well-drained soil to thrive properly. It reaches about 2-4 inches of height and the leaves are 1 inch in width. Its dark green color gives a fresh and a radiant look to the garden and you can grow them on the hanging baskets of your garden.

2-Henryi Clematis

The Henryi Clematis provides the best sight in summer as they have beautiful daisy shaped flowers with dark green foliage, its vine flowers look wonderful falling over a fence or an arbor. The flowers grow best when are given direct sunlight. The Henryi Clematis starts blooming in the start of summer and is seen throughout summer. This plant reaches till 6 ft. and the width of the flower is 24 inches to 3 ft. This flower is absolutely stunning with creamy color that is dark in the center and favorite among gardeners.

1-Jewel of Africa Nasturtium Seeds

These vining flowers are available in highly appealing colors such as yellow, orange, maroon, red, salmon and an apricot shade. With green leaves and colorful flowers this vine plant looks like a beautiful painting. They are grown in yards, walls, fences, trellis and as garden covers too. They require full sunlight to flourish and bloom from June to September. They are very easy to grow and flourish well if maintained with care.

Interested in bringing more life to your garden? Check out our gallery for 20 unique ideas for climbing plants that will make your pergola and arbor look amazing.

Many outdoor gardens have structures like pergolas or arbors that help give some character to the space, but if you have a climbing plant to accompany the structure, you will be able to train your plants to create a vertical depth that is simply stunning. A pergola is also a great way to incorporate a bare wall into the garden so that it becomes part of the space instead of something beyond the garden. The right plant can provide some shade as well, which can be ideal for a sitting space where you can relax or enjoy reading a book.

There are a lot of different types of climbing plants that will look amazing in your garden, and many of them are easy to grow and care for, even for a novice gardener. In this guide, we will take a look at 20 climbing plants that can make your outdoor gardening space look stunning.

Each one is unique and will have different growing zones and requirements, so consider them all before deciding which one to add to your pergolas and arbors.

Climbing Rose

Climbing roses can be a beautiful addition to any garden, but the trick to a beautiful pergola is training this beautiful plant early. Roses are available in a variety of colors, and they can grow up to 12 feet long and about four feet wide, which makes them ideal for vertical growth. They do well in full sun and well-drained soil, and since they are hardy plants, they tend to do well in most growing zones.


Honeysuckle is a plant that grows quickly and produces a sweet smell that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. This plant can grow to heights of up to 20 feet in partial or full sun, and it typically blooms from May until late in the summer, with the best results in zones four to nine.


This is a beautiful brightly colored plant that grows well in zones four through nine. With a growth of at least six feet in height and three feet in width, the clematis is known to grow nearly double this size. Blooming from early spring until late summer, it has become a favorite for vertical space.


Jasmine is a plant that creates a full, vine with fragrant blooms that will be present all year long, especially in warm, humid climates. It will bloom more annually in cooler climates. Found in zones six through 10, this vine can grow more than 35 feet with only partial sunlight.


If you want a lot of blues and purples in your garden, then the wisteria, which can reach a height of 25 feet, is a great option that will grow quickly. It does require full sun and slightly acidic soil that is well-drained, and it grows best in zones four through nine.


The bignonia is a stunning climbing plant that has delicate bell-shaped blooms that can grow up to a height of 50 feet. They tend to grow best in full to partial sun with slightly acidic soil in zones five to nine, and the bright orange, red blooms can be seen during the months of May and June.

Trumpet Vine

If you decide on the trumpet vine, you will most likely find hummingbirds and bees in the area because they are great for pollinators. These plants can grow up to 40 feet high, and they can grow well in both full sun and partial shade. Typically best in zones five through nine, it can even do well in drought conditions.

Morning Glory

This plant has a brilliant blue bloom that can be seen throughout the entire summer and most of autumn. Reaching heights of up to 15 feet, morning glories grow best in full sun and relatively dry soil, which means that this hardy plant can grow in zones three through 10 with ease.

Boston Ivy

If you are looking for a climbing plant that will provide a lot of shade, then ivy is a great option. Boston Ivy can be found in zones four to eight, and it is known to change color with the season. It grows well in both full and partial sun, though full sun will bring out the colors of the leaves more.

Climbing Hydrangea

This is a climbing plant that is slower to grow, but if you have the patience to train it, your garden will look and smell amazing. Climbing hydrangea grows best in zones five to eight with full to partial sun. These plants do not like extreme heat so afternoon sun may not be best in some areas.


Moonflower is a great option for gardeners who like to entertain at night because these blooms open from sunset to sunrise during the summer months and the majority of the fall. Typically grown in zones 10 and 11, these plants can reach heights of up to 20 feet or more.

Virginia Creeper

If you are looking for a climbing plant that grows quickly, the Virginia creeper is a great choice. There are no blooms on this plant, but the leaves change colors in the fall, and the vines can grow as high as 50 feet. It grows best in zones three to nine in full sun.

Butterfly Pea

This is a great climbing plant to attract butterflies to your garden. The butterfly pea, which grows best in zones 10 and 11, produces deep blue blooms that grow best in full sun. These plants can grow up to 10 feet in height and can withstand high humidity and dry conditions.


If you find that your garden has a lot of shade, then the bougainvillea is a great climbing plant to consider. This fast-growing plant can grow up to 30 feet high, depending on the species, and it grows best in zones nine to 11 where the temperature typically remains above 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bleeding Heart

Best for zones three through nine, the bleeding heart produces exotic, heart-shaped blooms that that will look stunning dangling from a pergola. It prefers moist soil and partial shade; however, tropical bleeding hearts are a species that grow best in the more humid zones like 10 and 11.

Golden Hops

Looking for a low maintenance vine for your garden? Golden hops, which grow best in zones four through eight, prefer a colder climate. The golden yellow leaves grow best in full to partial sun, and though this plant does not bloom, it can easily grow to a height of 25 feet.


If you are looking to add fruit to your garden, consider a grapevine, especially since there is a variety that will grow well in most zones across the country. The grapes that the vine produces will be sweeter if they grow in the sun, and it is important to note that grapes may not produce for the first few years that the vine is growing.


A firethorn is a shrub that can grow 20 feet in height, and with enough training, the bright red berries and white blooms can make your pergola stunning all year. This plant grows best in zones seven through nine, and it prefers partial sun and well-drained soil.

Passion Flower

The passion flower is a hardy option that grows in zones seven to 10, but it can also grow as an annual in cooler climates. With blue, purple, or pink blooms, the vine can grow up to 30 feet high in a season. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil, which is why they grow best in hotter zones.

White Potato Vine

The white potato vine is a climbing plant that is fast growing and easy to care for. It grows best in zones nine to 11, and it prefers full or partial sun. It can grow to a height of up to 25 feet, and the white blooms can be seen in late spring and early summer.


Popular Garden Ideas

Popular Garden Ideas

How to Train Vines to Climb on Pergolas

Climbing plants on pergolas: the basics

Provided with the proper training and care, climbing plants on pergolas will add more than just beauty to any landscape. They also provide a shaded area where you could cool off during warmer days. It may seem tricky to train climbing plants so it’s important to know the basics. Read on to better understand climbing plants.

Types of vines

Vines have different habits of climbing and supporting themselves. They fall under these categories–twiners, grabbers, and clingers.

Twining vines or twiners like honeysuckle and wisteria physically wrap their stems around structures such as pergolas or wires to grow and climb upward. Twining vines thrive on sturdy support as they have the tendency to grow haphazardly.

Grabbers utilize their thin flexible stems to grab their support like sweet pea, grape vines, and clematis.

Clingers, on the other hand, depend on the sticky substance produced by their adhesive pads to adhere to structures. Virginia creeper and Boston ivy are examples of clingers.

Depending on your purpose, some vines bear flowers and some yield fruits. Some also flourish in full exposure to the sun while some are fine with partial shade.

Soil Health

Before beginning to plant, you need to consider the best vine for the type of soil you have in your garden.

As with most plants, climbing plants have their soil requirements. Clematis, for example, thrives in moist and well-drained soil that has a neutral or little alkaline content. Wisteria, on the other hand, prefers soil that leans toward acidic with a pH that ranges from 6 to 7. Depending on the vine you are planting, you can improve the health of the soil with the help of fertilizers.

The right direction

Vines can be grown on pergolas by either twining the main stem around the base or growing the vine straight against the structure.

Whichever method you prefer, guiding vines start at a young age. During its early stages, vines may require assistance to establish a firm grip on a pergola. Keep the stem securely fastened to the structure by pinning it down with a garden twine or tying it with a fabric tie. Consider using nylon stockings too as their stretchable materials give more room for vines to develop and expand.

Once the stems gain some length, and the vines have naturally gripped the structure, you can choose to remove the ties.

Bougainvillea and some climbing roses, however, may still require support to guide their growth as these are not natural climbers.

Vines on top

Naturally, your vines will continue to climb until they reach the upper part of pergolas. As with the base, you need to tie the vines to guide their growth. To make a canopy of vines, tie their stems in such a way that they cross the beams horizontally.

In some instances, the pillars or the base of a pergola may become bare as vines grow upward. A good remedy for this is to spiral new shoots around the pillars rather than encouraging them to go straight up.

Keep them in check

Vines may grow wildly if they are kept unchecked for weeks as they look for new areas to attach their stems. They may grow away from the pergola and colonize the nearest plant or structure. Redirect stray vines by tying them again back to the pergola. You may also unwind vines that have tangled themselves up. A technique used by some to encourage vertical growth is to pinch out 2 inches of the shoots’ top.

In general, keep your plants well-watered to avoid drying of roots. If you live in an area that is always sunny, you may want to consider planting vines that can handle the heat or drought such as jasmine, trumpet vine, and desert snapdragon among others.

Thinning and pruning

Pruning is performed by removing the damaged and dead shoots to promote new growth and flowering. It is typically done in the dormant season or right before new growth starts. Different vines require various times of year for pruning.

Pruning keeps your climbers healthy and encourages them to produce more flowers or fruits while enhancing their appearance. It is also a way for you to check and remove fungi or plant diseases.

The best plants for pergolas

Numerous climbing plants grow nicely and add character on pergolas. If your garden is situated in an area that receives most of the sunlight, consider planting bougainvillea. Blooming from early summer through fall, bougainvillea loves the sun and would make a great canopy of flowers. Maintenance is pretty low too as it only requires a well-moist soil to continue growing. Bougainvillea comes in many colors, but the most cultivated ones are yellow, red, and purple.

Related: Check out this infographic on the most popular climbing plants for pergolas

Fragrant flowers such as wisteria is also a perfect climbing plant to drape over pergolas. Like bougainvillea, wisteria thrives in tropical areas. It can tolerate soil with alkaline and requires little water. Wisteria grows in various colors too such as red and blue and can reach as high as 25 feet. During its development stage, you will need to support it properly to your pergola. Wisteria may require regular maintenance as they can become hefty. Make sure your pergolas are made of sturdy materials to support this plant.

Another popular fragrant climbing plant perfect for pergolas is sweet pea. They bloom from summer to fall and grows up to 8 feet in height. Sweet peas are annual plants that require a well-drained soil and regular maintenance as they are prone to bugs and pests.

Yucca vine or morning glory is very drought-tolerant and produces saucer-shaped flowers. This climbing plant dies in cold temperature but reseeds itself after the winter. Morning glory requires direct sun to grow and less water. Morning glory is also a low-maintenance climbing plant.

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Growing pergola plants in pots bring the beauty of outdoors to inside. It improves the quality of air, makes the environment feel more refreshing and boosts your mood. Many studies show spending time in nature helps to lower blood pressure and other health problems. It also boosts immune function and triggers relaxation.

These are the top 10 most popular pergola or climbing plants that you can grow in pots or garden space worldwide.

Jasminum Officinalis is the scientific name of the jasmine plant. Jasmine is easy to grow in containers and requires well-drained soil to thrive. Jasmine is an evergreen flowering plant and usually blooms in the spring season. These plants are widely grown for its flowers that spread beautiful fragrances.

To grow jasmine in pots, choose a warm location. All jasmines varieties prefer partial shade to full sun with well-drained fertile soil. So the best temperature to grow jasmine is 55-65 F and the plant reaches a height of 10-15 feet.

Climbing roses grow as ornamental plants in private or public gardens. They are most popular flowering plants and cultivated in temperate regions. Flowers are available in different colors like red, white, Pink, yellow, orange and many other combinations.

When you start growing rose in pots, make sure the soil is the type well-drain loamy soil. Keep it in sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours a day. Maintain the temperature about 60-70 F to thrive faster. You can also add organic composts to the soil for plant growth and promotes fast flowering.

Passion Flower (Passiflora)

Passion flowers or vine is a flowering plant in the family of Passifloraceae. Most of these species are found in South America, Asia, California, New Zealand and Australia. The plant can grow to a maximum height of 20 feet. It also needs full sun and well-drained soil to grow vigorously.

Growing passion flower indoors in a pot and allow it in sunlight. Plant it in a rich commercial soil and keep moist. It grows well in warm climates and produces edible fruits. Fruits can be eaten when fully ripe and avoid eating under-ripe fruits that can cause stomach upsets.

Moon Flower (Ipomoea Alba)

Moonflower is a night blooming plant with beautiful fragrant flowers. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world. They can grow easily to a height of 5-10 feet tall with proper care. Moonflowers love to bloom in summer when you maintain the well-drain fertile soil.

The name moonflower is derived from blooming in the evening and appears as full moon shape. Moonflower is the most romantic flower that can be grown in your garden. You can place the pot in bedroom window to enjoy its fragrance at night times. Remove the deadheads to encourage more flowers. You can cook, steam young leaves and eaten as the vegetable in curries, soups, and stews.

Make sure to plant them where they can climb quickly towards the moon. Plant them along patios & sidewalks and is a fast-growing vine near the entrance or the window.

English Ivy

English ivy is an air-purifier flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It can be grown at both indoors & outdoors and can survive in full sun or partial shade. It is one of the best climbing plants that can grow easily in pots.

Plant English ivy in a wide and shallow pot containing rich fertile soil. It grows to a height of 10 feet when you maintain the temperature about 90F. It also has medicinal uses to cure skin burns, inflammation, swelling and other disorders.

Honey Suckle

Honeysuckle is native to the northern hemisphere and grows well in India, America, Europe. There are more than 100’s of species. These flowers attract hummingbirds mostly. Honeysuckle has sweet nectar obtained from its tubular flowers.

Honey Climbers prefer well-drained fertile soil. Flowers grow well in full sun and are less prone to aphid attack in partial shades.


Clematis plants are native to China and Japan countries. It comprises of woody, climbing vines, leaves divided into leafstalks and leaflets twists and curls around them. It grows well in cool, moist, well-drain soil in full sun.

Clematis is the most popular and attractive flowering plants that you can grow in the home landscape. Clematis climbs by twisting leaf stalks and supports growing against walls and solid fences.

Butterfly Pea (Clitoria Ternatea)

The flower of this vine has the shape of human female genitals with elliptical and obtuse leaves. Flowers may be white, deep blue with yellow markings. They are about 4 cms long and 3 cms wide. Fruits may be 5-7 cms long, flat pods with 6-10 seeds in a pod. It grows well in Indonesia, Malaysia, Africa, Australia, and America.

Butterfly pea plant is grown as an ornamental plant that produces beautiful flowers and requires little care when cultivated. It is also used in cooking and traditional medicines to cure asthma, skin allergies.

Wisteria (Leguminosae)

Wisteria is a genus of flowering plants in the family of legume. It is native to China, Korea & Japan and is most popular as ornamental plants. Wisterias climb by twisting their stems either clockwise or anti-clockwise. It can grow to a height of 20 meters.

When you start growing wisteria in pots, you can easily control and maintain them. Fertilizing too much with nitrogen limits flower blooming. You can fertilize the plant with tomato or other organic fertilizers for better growth.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta)

Black-eyed Susan is a flowering plant in the family of Susan and is native to North America. The plant acts as a medicinal herb to cure a cold, cough, flu, infections, swelling and snake bites. It grows to a height of 30-100 cms tall and 30-45 cms wide. Flowers are about 10 cms. Different varieties produce different sizes and colors including orange, red and brown.

Start growing pergola plant indoors as it monitors your health and makes the surrounding environment look beautiful. If you have amazing ideas about growing pergola plants please share your experience with us.

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Styling Your Pergola with Plants

Pergolas are the perfect addition to backyards. The structure provides a shaded area from the harsh sun in the summer months and gives you a calm place to relax. Pergolas are versatile but they will also optimise your garden’s appeal and add character to your outdoor area.

One way to truly accentuate your pergola is through a series of plants adding charm to the structure. Homeowners love the beauty that plants provide a pergola when placed around the area or growing over it. Styling your pergola with lush plants can also give added privacy to homeowners when blossoms and leaves cover the area.

Addon Pergolas has a few lovely options for providing your structure with a floral touch. They will enhance the aesthetic as well as a unique, personalised touch to the outdoor area.


Some of the most common pergola plants are vines as they emphasise the shape of the pergola and grow quickly. The beautiful flowers optimise the aesthetic of the garden as well as offering shade through the vine tendrils. Unfortunately, vines do have their downfalls, as the plant requires maintenance such as regular watering and pruning, as well as creating a lot of debris throughout the year. But with a bit of regular maintenance, vines aren’t so much an issue, just a lush additive to your structure.

Colourful Blossoms

A charming collection of potted plants can make your pergola look truly inviting. Whether you use one pot to group them all together or place a selection of pots around the space, colourful pot plants add real character to the structure. Think choices like azaleas, begonias, camellias and impatiens.

Hanging Plants

If you aren’t really in to taking up space on the pergola with potted plants, consider dressing up the space with some hanging plants. Position the pots at eye level and allow them to hang from the pergola’s rafters. Colourful flowers include geraniums, petunias, fuchsias and impatiens.


Sun-loving plants don’t enjoy shade places. But ferns often thrive in darker spots and moist conditions. This makes them perfect for pergolas. The vibrant, fresh green that ferns provide are a pleasure for many a user, and as they grow taller they will provide a beautiful, organic sun shade.

Dwarf Fruit Trees

There aren’t many more enticing things than an orchard of gorgeous potted fruit trees. When they are in blossom, fruiting delicious produce, they are a sheer joy to behold. With fruit trees, you will not only be adding a touch of colour to your pergola, but will also be yielding delicious seasonal fruits. It’s a practical win-win.

Contact Our Team to Get Started

Has our piece on plant styling pergola given you some home improvements ideas? If so, feel free to get started on your very own pergola with the experts at Addon Pergolas. We will help you build the pergola of your dreams, and provide further advice on how to style it with the perfect plants.

Call us on 0410 541 253 or submit an enquiry form on our contact page and we will get back to you with all the information you require.

Pergola Climbing Plants – Easy-Care Plants And Vines For Pergola Structures

A pergola is a long and narrow structure that has pillars to support flat crossbeams and an open latticework that is frequently covered in plants. Some people use pergolas as a trellis over a walkway or to protect an outdoor living space. The best plants for a pergola are ones that will grow rapidly to cover the structure, require minimal care and are well suited for your growing region.

About Pergola Climbing Plants

Plants and vines for pergola structures vary in size, growing habit and appearance. Many pergola plants are flowering vines that add color and interest to the landscape. Some gardener’s combine several climbing plants that bloom during different times of the season for year-round color. Be sure that your pergola structure is strong enough to support the weight of several climbers before you plant.

Starting Pergola Climbing Plants

Although some climbing plants are self-clinging, meaning they will hang on to something and begin to climb, others require some assistance. Therefore, when you are starting pergola climbing plants, tie new climbers to the pergola or provide stakes or trellises until they get started. Be sure not to injure the plant when you tie it to your pergola or trellis. Always follow the planting directions for the climbing pergola plants you choose.

Best Plants for a Pergola

Depending on the region where you live and your growing conditions, there are many pergola-climbing plants to choose from. Some of the more popular plants and vines for pergola structures include the following:

  • Clematis – Clematis is a favorite climber among gardens as it is easy to grow, relatively lightweight, and provides a beautiful burst of color beginning in early spring. Combine clematis with climbing roses for quick cover and loads of color. You might also consider any of the varieties of clematis or a combination of clematis plants that bloom at different times.
  • Passionflower – Passionflower is an exotic climber with intriguing purple and white flowers that quickly covers garden structures. There are even frost hardy varieties available for the northern garden. Combine passionflower with an early-blooming clematis for a striking effect.
  • Wisteria – Wisteria is one of many favorite pergola climbing plants, but this fragrant beauty must have sturdy support. Wisterias do require a little maintenance to keep them looking their best, and they do require full sun in order to thrive.

How to choose and grow the best clematis varieties

I f plants are like people, then clematis are comparable with the Hollywood movie stars of the Technicolor era, combining cinematic good looks with high-wattage charm. Used to cloak a wall, pergola, obelisk or arbour, to scramble through the branches of a companion plant, or as container specimens, clematis add great swathes of colour to gardens, while some varieties also offer scent and/or evergreen foliage.

In April, as the soil finally begins to warm up, is one of the best times to plant them. But with several thousand different varieties in cultivation, the problem for many gardeners has been the abundance of choice. Step forward the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM), the equivalent of an Oscar for luminaries of the plant kingdom, given only to plants of exceptional quality and sturdy constitution that are vigorous, easily cultivated, disease-resistant and readily obtainable.

The big difference between an Oscar and an RHS AGM, however, is that the latter is not for life. Once-prized cultivars are ruthlessly demoted if they no longer make the grade or are superseded by better varieties, which is what happened this spring when the society unveiled its newly revised list of more than 7,000 AGM plants, its first comprehensive review in 10 years.

Of those clematis which had held the coveted AGM in 2011, 15 were deleted, and six new varieties were added. A total of 79 clematis now hold the award, a testimony to the great variety of different garden-worthy plants. Some of these such as the evergreen early-flowering Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ C. Wisley Cream’ and Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ have a new RHS hardiness rating of H4, making them suitable only for warmer gardens.

Tougher by far are the many varieties of C. alpina and C. macropetala. Hardy and floriferous, these will happily tolerate a shady north or east-facing spot as long as the soil is free-draining, while their small, bell-shaped flowers, which appear in April-May, have a discreet beauty a world away from that of the flashier, large-flowering types. Look out for the award-winning ‘Frances Rivis’, ‘Constance’ and ‘White Columbine’ amongst others.

Clematis montana is one of the clematis that Irish gardeners know best, with pink/white flowers that are often seen festooned through the branches of trees or draped along the roofs of garden sheds in late spring/ early summer. Of the various cultivars available, the RHS singles out five – C. ‘Mayleen’, C. ‘Elizabeth’, C. ‘Freda’, C. montana var. grandiflora and C. montana var. rubens ‘Tetrarose’. With the exception of the relatively well-behaved ‘Freda’ (cherry-pink flowers), the rest of these shade-tolerant clematis varieties will romp through any garden, so beware of planting in a confined space . Neither, with a hardiness rating of only H4, are they suitable for cold or exposed gardens.

By May, clematis belonging to what’s known as the early large flowered group will take centre stage. Gone from the RHS list are ‘Henryi’, ‘Josephine’, ‘Miss Bateman’, ‘Mrs Chalmondeley’ and ‘Royalty’ but plenty of other old favourites still make the grade including the candy-striped ‘Nelly Moser’, ‘Niobe’ (red) and ‘The President’ (purple). Compact and colourful, this group make wonderful wall or container-grown specimens.

Summer marks the peak of the clematis season, beginning with a wealth of large, late flowering cultivars (LLs) such as the ever-popular C. ‘Jackmanii’ (purple), ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’ (pale pink), ‘Ernest Markham’ (crimson-red) and the freshly-AGM-anointed C. ‘Aotoroa’ (purple). These are joined by varieties of Clematis texensis (the pink-flowering ‘Princess Diana’ is the only AGM variety), C. tangutica and orientalis cultivars as well as the herbaceous integrifolia and diversifolia types. And then, in early autumn comes the spreading, sun-loving C. rehderiana, with its elegant clusters of small, creamy-yellow flowers that smell like cowslips.

But if I had to grow only one clematis, I would choose a variety from the hardy viticella group, probably the longest-flowering (July-September), most floriferous, vigorous, versatile and garden-worthy of all the categories. Many feature in the RHS’s updated list (see, with classics such as C. ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’ (double, magenta) , C. ‘Etoile Violette’ (blue-purple), ‘Mme Julia Correvon (red) and ‘C. Venosa Violacea’ (purple-white) included alongside new additions such C. ‘Poldice’ (violet-blue, white centre) and C. ‘Walenburg’ (red-purple) .

Viticellas belong to Group 3 of the clematis genus and along with so many of the other plants in this category, they look wonderful growing through or up a vigorous companion plant to extend or add to its season of interest.
How to plant clematis
Before planting, soak the plant’s rootball in a bucket of water. Dig a hole 45-60cm deep and wide (45-60cm away from the base of a wall, 60cm away from the base of a host tree). Fork over the base of the hole, then cover with a layer of well-rotted organic matter (compost, manure) followed by a thin layer of soil (clematis don’t like manure touching their roots or stems). Mix homemade garden compost/John Innes compost and a couple of handfuls of slow-release fertiliser with the remaining loose soil, then take the soaked rootball and gently loosen some of the coiled roots before placing the plant in the hole. Excluding herbaceous and evergreen types, the traditonal advice is to plant deeply to avoid clematis wilt, ensuring the top of the rootball is roughly eight centimetres below the finished level of the soil. If it’s a dry spot, consider placing an open-ended pipe (7.5cm diameter) in the hole, which will allow you to water the plant effectively until established. Backfill, water, and protect against slugs. Continue to water regularly until well established. If growing against a wall/support, plants will need to be tied to horizontal wires, or a trellis fixed on battens. All clematis should be hard-pruned at some point within the first year of planting. For Group 1, prune immediate after flowering while for Group 2 and Group 3 types, prune in February/March the following spring. Mulch established plants with manure in early spring, making sure that it doesn’t rest against the stems. To ensure good flower production, add a handful of sulphate of potash to the surrounding soil in April and water in.

For ease of cultivation, clematis are divided into three main groups. Group 1 comprises the earliest flowering types. These plants should only be pruned to tidy them up/restrict their size, immediately after flowering has finished. Group 2 comprises the early-large-flowered types that flower on last year’s growth. Lightly prune in February and again after flowering to encourage a second flush. The final category, Group 3, encompasses the late large-flowered hybrids as well as the viticella, texensis and orientalis types that flower on new growth. Each stem should be hard pruned back to 45cm above ground and a pair of strong buds. The only other time to prune clematis is if they are struck with the fungal disease known as clematis wilt, which mainly affects the early-large-flowered types. If this happens, cut growth to the ground and dispose carefully of the pruned material.

April 10th-24th: Powerscourt Tulip Festival. Events include walking tour with head gardener Michael Byrne (April 12th, 11.30am) and garden design with Tim Austen (April 13th, 12.30-3pm), see April 13th-14th : Mount Venus Nursery ‘Flowers In the Shade’, 11am-6pm, see
April 14th : Start of week-long Tulip Fest, based around gardens in Birr, Co Offaly, pre-booking essential, see

View full sizeAP Photo/Dean FosdickA double arbor is framed by golden chain trees (Laburnum) at Bayview Farm & Garden near Langley, Wash.

Few plants adorn arbors or trellises as beautifully as flowering vines. They also can enhance the landscape with fragrance, provide shade and screen unsightly views.

But be careful which varieties you choose. Some vines can be thugs.

Vines are vigorous growers, which can be both good and bad for impatient gardeners. Fast-growing varieties provide thick barriers that screen well-tended yards from unpleasant backdrops. But they also might overwhelm narrow planting beds and spread beyond their intended sites. That means constant monitoring and frequent pruning.

“There’s nothing like vines for softening garden fixtures,” said Bob Polomski, a horticulturist and arborist at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. “Most are perennials and come back every year, heavy with blooms. They also provide a cooling shade.”

At the same time, he said, “being rapid (in growth) is one thing. Being invasive is another.”

He cited English ivy as a plant to avoid; it’s overwhelmed so many areas in the nation’s East and Northwest that college students and other work parties frequently hold “plant pulls” to help control it.

“Ivy can take over as a ground cover,” he said. “Wisteria can grow so quickly and its vines become so thick that it can destroy a small apparatus” such as a trellis, pergola, etc. “They get so heavy that they can even take down trees.”

Knowing where to place vines is critical, Polomski said.

“Wisteria produces beautiful blooms, but that attracts bees. Putting chairs and tables beneath a flowering arbor can invite stings and creepy-crawly things,” he said. “Putting vines around mailboxes may not be such a great idea for mail carriers, either — especially when you have all those pollinators flying around.”

None of this should discourage property owners from adding vines to their landscape. They simply need to plan first. Here are some things to consider:


Vines clamber up in different ways, which may help determine which variety to choose: clinging, twining or sprawling.

Clinging vines, such as Virginia creeper,

trumpet vines and ivy, have adhesive tendrils or rootlets that hold them to flat surfaces as they grow. That can make them difficult and even damaging to remove if the vines are attached to shingles or wood siding.

“The aerial roots on some clinging vines will work their way into chinks in walls and stucco and slowly compromise the structure,” said Sydney Park Brown, an extension horticulturist with the University of Florida.

Twining vines,

such as clematis, jasmine,


and morning glories, spiral upward, looping around poles, latticework or fences.

Roses, bougainvillea and sweet peas are

sprawling plants

that often must be tied to a trellis, especially when getting started.


A few things to consider when adding plant supports:

Give vines space to breathe

to prevent mold and decay. Set free-standing trellises a few inches away from structures.

Opt for strength and size

when setting up an arbor, trellis or pergola. Vines can live for decades and grow heavy with age.

Place scented varieties

of vines near doors and windows to better enjoy the fragrance.

Look for seed- or fruit-producing

vines to attract more wildlife to your yard or to produce an edible crop.

— Dean Fosdick
For The Associated Press

19 Climbing Plants Fit For Your Trellis And Arbors

What else are trellises and arbors for if not for displaying climbing plants? Trellises and arbors without lively climbing plants are but bare and dull garden structures. Because if peas are for carrots, then climbing plants are for trellises and arbors.

Want a vertical garden using a trellis, or got a newly constructed arbor on your patio? Then you should get yourself a climbing plant to go with those structures. It’s a good thing I’ve got this rundown of amazing flowering vines. Surely you’ll find one in this list of 19 climbing plants for your trellis and arbor.

I’ve always been enchanted by flowering vines over archways, or in canopies of arbors. These trailing vines and their beautiful flowers seem to reach out to you. Take it from Spanish stones villages and cozy cottages. Aren’t they just charming?

But before you get carried away with these thoughts, check out these amazing climbing plants. I’m sure you’ll find an inspiration or two for something to boost your garden. An arbor or trellis with pretty climbing plants should be a great idea. Any of these charming plants would be ideal.

1. Clematis

Probably the most popular among gardeners, it’s got a whole lot of different variations with various colors, flower structures, and blooming seasons. Most species though bloom during fall and spring. Take on the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ for their head-turning large purple flowers.

2. Honeysuckle

Invite hummingbirds over to your garden with this flowering vine. An edible sweet nectar can be sucked in its flowers, hence the name.

Most Honeysuckles have a bonus sweet scent too.

3. Wisteria Vines

These popular ornamental plants will amp up any bare arbor or wall. With the profusion of flowers, transform your boring arbor into a place worth hanging out in.

To encourage more flowers, prune back side shoots to the base in early spring.

4. Yellow Bells

You’ll find this flowering plant common in the tropical areas of the world. They just love the full sun and are drought-tolerant. Yellow Bells have uniquely attractive, but quite mild fragrance that can also attract hummingbirds as well as butterflies.

5. Climbing Hydrangea

The climbing hydrangeas can grow without support by forming a mound. But growing them over arbors or in trellises would be better because of their lovely flowers and fragrant blooms. While climbing hydrangea does not normally need pruning, you can still do so to preserve and manage new shoots.

6. Climbing Roses

Some of the world’s botanical displays and flower gardens feature climbing roses in walls and arches. Bring that loveliness into your garden by growing beautiful climbing roses, like the Joseph’s Coat variety.

7. Jasmine

You’ll find all sorts of home and personal care products in jasmine scent. So why not grow and enjoy the real scent in the real flowers? Although most jasmine plants can be normally found in tropical areas, some of these fragrant flowers can also bloom in temperate zones.

8. Red Trumpet Vine

This climbing plant with dainty red flowers can also attract hummingbirds. Some birds may even nest in its dense foliage. They can grow to be massive, so don’t be modest when pruning.

9. Vine Rangoon Creeper Flowers

You can grow this climbing plant native in tropical forests in USDA Zones 9, 10, and 11. Don’t worry about them losing foliage over the winter as they’re perennials. Get fascinated with how its color changes as it matures. At onset, it will bloom white then slowly darkens to pink. As it reaches maturity, it will turn into a lovely red-colored flower.

10. Passion Fruit

This tropical flowering vine has a bonus. It bears exotic fruits that have a rich aroma and flavor. If you haven’t tried this fruit before, then it’s high time you explore it.

But if you have and loved it, then try the recipe below.

Check this Gordon Ramsey passion fruit recipe from macopoloo. You might want to try it and be inspired to grow a passion fruit vine!

11. Pink Coral Vines

They may grow to be abundant and massive, but the pink flowers (which I am partial to) can be very cute and pretty. They can transform an old fence into a rustic garden structure. Pink coral vines flourish on hot walls and when already established, this is one of the climbing plants that’s drought tolerant.

12. Gloryblower

These are flowering vines native to West Africa, but it looks like they’ve now invaded the rest of the world.

Plant them in areas that get full on morning sunshine and an afternoon shade.

Pruning should be done in order to keep its shape but do the pruning once the plant has stopped flowering.

13. Bleeding Heart Vine

Glory blower is another name for bleeding heart vines. And this is another interesting color to the climbing plant variety. It would help to note these plants may like moist soil, but they don’t like getting soaked and soggy.

14. Sweet Peas

Invite beneficial insects like bees and butterflies over to your garden with the pretty pink blooms of this flowering vine. Its name is quite fitting and I’m sure you’ll also wish to get close to it because of its sweet smell. Sweet peas thrive on areas with long, cool summers.

15. Chocolate Vine

Although the dark color of its flowers attributes to its name, it’s spicy and chocolatey scent is more responsible for its etymology. They’re fairly easy to grow and are drought tolerant. It can reach the height of 15 to 20 feet at its mature stage and normally produces gorgeous lilac flowers starting from May until June.

16. Hoya Bella

Growing the hoya can be a challenge, but the silky and dainty flowers are worth the effort. They make a good container plant. The secret in successfully growing hoya bellas is to water them regularly and make sure not to let it dry out.

17. Purple Queen’s Wreath Vine

It’s also called the sandpaper vine because of its coarse leaves. But, the flowers are a sharp contrast with their softness and delicacy. Although the vine plant is a tropical plant, it’s also a perennial that may shed its leaves in winter and grow back in spring.

18. Hops

Hops aren’t only for brewing beer, they have some health benefits too. Plus, they look really good in trellises and arbors.

If you want hops that produces cones, make sure to plant a female one. Hops vines may come in either male or female and only female hops produces cones.

19. Grapevine

This is one climbing plant worthy of both your arbor and your palate. Growing it is fairly easy too. Just make sure to do regular pruning if you want to let it produce quality fruit yields and to keep it healthy.

Learn how to build a grape arbor in this practical garden season guide.

Learn how to train the vine of a climbing plant in this video from Howcast:

Finally decided to add a climbing plant in your beautiful garden? With this extensive selection, I’m sure growing climbing plants will soon make it to your gardening activity list!

Got enchanted with these flowering vines? Which of them are you planning to plant first in your garden? Type in your thoughts by posting them in the comments section below!

Check out some metal arbor ideas here for a climbing plant to cling to.

Featured image via Deborah Silver & Co.

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