Best Climbing Plants for Trellis
climbing plants for trellis” would seem to be the obvious
question to ask when setting about a little bit of vertical
gardening by way of a few trellis plants or so? There are
however, many things to consider in this seemingly easy task,
not least the decision – if it’s not too late – as to what type
of trellis to use.
That subject matter obviously has to be another article quite soon
-for the choice of trellis for climbing plants arguably matters as much
as the type of plant to use! Image shows a well
supported wall trellis which is ideal for most climbers.
Here painted white, which could be a future
problem as far as maintenance is concerned, but it makes a nice feature
on which to grow flowering climbing plants.
For brevity in this article, we will simply place trellis in two very
basic categories; lightweight and sturdy. This again will be determined
– as will the choice of climber – by whether or not the trellis will be
a screen-type free standing panel, or one that is to be affixed to a
wall or fence.
Many plants for trellis are not automatically suited to growing on
pergolas, though some would suit either. Trellis is mostly used as
screening or dividers of space – verticals, whereas pergolas are akin to
archways or overhead screens – horizontals.
Plantings such as this can cool a sunny wall and
noticeably make the room indoors more comfortable.
Climbing Plants for Light Trellis
Light trellis for the sake of this article is that
type of trellis normally fastened to a wall; not being rigid enough to
be free standing – such as a fence panel type. As a general rule,
climbers that cling to their supports by way of twining stems are not
best suites to light trellis, simply because
if they have to be removed or unraveled there is a risk of damaging the
trellis battens. This is particularly so with climbing vines such as
honeysuckle, which often outgrow their temporary home on a trellis.
It is far better to use plants which – though they are classed as
climbers – need to be tied in to the support to remain upright. Those
that climb by way of tendrils or curled leaf stems are less problematic.
- Clematis - Large
Flowered hybrids that are normally cut near to ground level each
Eccremocarpus scaber – The Chilean Glory Flower – It
can be a short-lived herbaceous perennial in milder areas, but often
reseeding itself or branching from the base each year.
caerulea – The Passion Flower – if it is cut
back each year to restrain the otherwise vigorous growth.
- Climbing Roses –
(Miniature) - Cutting out older stems each year to keep restrained
normally suffices with lightweight trellis – the popular classic
climbing roses are better with robust trellis. There is an
increasing range of miniature climbing roses available which will be
suitable for light trellis for they are generally pruned in the
winter months – as per the normal climbing roses.
nudiflorum – the Winter Jasmine – can be trained up a wall
officinale – The Summer Jasmine – though will need good support
and trimming back of old vines from time
tricolor (and others) – Morning Glory – A
popular tender perennial climber best grown as an annual, so the
dead plant will have to be removed each autumn or at least cut back
to ground level.
– Mina lobata – as above.
- Sweet Pea – Lathyrus grandiflorus the Everlasting Pea –
is good for light trellis, being a herbaceous perennial plant that
will have to be cut back from the trellis each year. The showy
Garden Sweet Pea - Lathyrus odoratus -
makes for a good trellis plant, but dies off each year.
- Rhodochiton atrosanguineus – is a very unusual
deciduous perennial climber; but only for the mildest of frost-free
- Tropaeolum – Climbing Nasturtiums – Tropaeolum peregrinum
is the Canary Creeper with yellow gold flowers; annual from seed,
whilst Tropaeolum speciosum is the scarlet flowered Flame
Creeper (reasonably hardy perennial).
- Runner Beans – Duo purpose annual climber that is showy in
flower and tasty when young beans are picked. Very showy vegetable
which can be grown on trellis.
Climbing Plants for Sturdy Trellis
Kiwi Fruit flower; Variegated
Ivy; Schisandra; Purple foliage Grape; Wisteria:
‘Sturdy trellis’ being that type which will require
support only on the outer framework - often used for stand-alone units,
screening, or enhancing boundary fences.
The majority of climbing plants are suited to growing on sturdy
trellis – some being self supporting with others needing training and
possible tying-in to the trellis framework.
Be aware of the growth statistics of all climbers and avoid such
climbing plants for trellis such as Russian Vine, which will outgrow the
trellis in the space of a single year. Where it wanders off to after
that is dependent upon what is nearby to swamp with growth!
- Fan Trained Fruit
bushes make admirable ‘climbers’ for trellis with the double edge of
flowers followed by fruit. The annual pruning regime will allow you
to keep such bushes in check. Always buy those on a rootstock meant
for dwarfing the plant. Included in the fruit group, such plants
such as the soft fruit blackberries, loganberries and other types
- Kiwi Fruit – Actinidia –
- Akebia – Chocolate
Vine – Twining stems
- Aristolchia – Dutchman’s Pipe – Twining stems
- Hedera – Ivy –
has larger leaves when grown on trellis
- Humulus – The Golden Hops vine – Dies back each year
- Ipomoea – Morning Glory
- Jasminum officinalis – Summer
Jasmine and also the
with yellow winter flowers, which will have to be trained and
- Lathyrus – The everlasting sweet pea – also the annual garden
- Lapageria – the Chilean Bellflower – Twining stems. Be aware
that it spreads by way of suckers.
- Lonicera – Many types to chose from
- Passiflora – Passionflower
Pyracantha - the
Firethorn is not a climber but well suited to training on a
- Climbing Roses
- Most varieties are suited to strong trellis structure.
- Schisandra rubriflora
- Solanum jasminoides and
- Trachelospermum – the Star Jasmine – Twining stems – scented for
- Vitis assorted - all of which deciduous and
need tying. Vitis vinifera Purpurea a good choice for
foliage and grapes.
Wisteria – only
for the most robust trellis with room to expand afterwards; can then
be trained along fence top.