Climbing Plants For Trellis
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A few days ago, one of our visitors, April Braswell, asked what type of plants or flowers would we recommend for use with some of the pergolas, arbors, gazebos, etc. that we’ve reviewed.

This is a good question, because if you look at some of the structures we’ve looked at (e.g. the wrought iron gazebos, garden arbors, and the pergola swing set), then you’ll agree that they look very bare.

And, of course, they are specifically designed so that you can let your favourite climbing plants grow all over the pergola, say, so that it not only looks beautiful, but also so that you are afforded some degree of privacy.

We can attest to the striking nature of some of these beauties, particularly the San Diego Red Bougainvillea as shown above. We got ours from a local plant nursery and it was about 2 or 3 feet tall in a 5 gallon bucket.

Wow, in a year’s time, it grew so fast that it started growing on our attached pergola – an awesome sight from the kitchen bay window. That was well over 10-12 feet from the ground!

The trick with this plant is, you need a lot of sun. If you water it on a regular basis, add a little plant food, use plant ties to help it grow in the desired direction, and it should do great for you too.

However, to answer that question, we’ve put together a short video slideshow presentation of some of the best and most colourful climbing plants that we could find for you.

Below the video, you will find more information about each of the plants we’ve featured, as well as some brief notes and fun facts about some of the different types of flowers we’ve showcased.

Slow Internet connection? Jerky video? Lots of buffering? Click here for a free solution.

Cast Of Characters

And if you want to check out any of these beautiful plants and flowers in more detail, here is the full cast of characters from our video slideshow.

(Note that you can see a larger, more detailed photo of each of these plants and flowers by clicking on the small, thumbnail image below.)

Climbing Clematis Gold Bougainvillea Vine Boston Ivy Vine Niobe Hybrid Clematis Clematis Dr Ruppel
Climbing Clematis Gold Bougainvillea Vine Boston Ivy Vine Niobe Hybrid Clematis Clematis Dr Ruppel
Premium Quality Climbing Hydrangea Morning Mist Clematis Vine Clematis Rebecca Bougainvillea Purple Queen Heirloom Own Root Found Rose Prom Queen Climber
Premium Quality Climbing Hydrangea Morning Mist Clematis Vine Clematis Rebecca Bougainvillea Purple Queen Heirloom Own Root Found Rose Prom Queen Climber
Bittersweet Vine Collection Honeysuckle Goldflame Clematis Huldine Clematis Baltyk Madam Galen Trumpet Vine
Bittersweet Vine Collection Honeysuckle Goldflame Clematis Huldine Clematis Baltyk Madam Galen Trumpet Vine
Creeping Fig Vine Clematis Mayleen Clematis Sweet Autumn Vine James Walker Bougainvillea Vine Clematis Empress
Creeping Fig Vine Clematis Mayleen Clematis Sweet Autumn Vine James Walker Bougainvillea Vine Clematis Empress
Lavender Trumpet Vine Clematis Rosemoor Clematis Ramona Clematis Terniflora Bougainvillea Barbara Karst
Lavender Trumpet Vine Clematis Rosemoor Clematis Ramona Clematis Terniflora Bougainvillea Barbara Karst
Perennial Sweet Pea Vine Potted Clematis Polish Spirit Vine Pink Pearl Bougainvillea Jackmanii Clematis Margaret Hunt Clematis Vine
Perennial Sweet Pea Vine Potted Clematis Polish Spirit Vine Pink Pearl Bougainvillea Jackmanii Clematis Margaret Hunt Clematis Vine

Night Blooming JasmineThere’s one more plant that we feel deserves a special mention, and that’s the Night Blooming Jasmine.

This is one of the most fragrant flowers in the world, maybe the most fragrant, according to some sources, but you’ll need to be a night owl to enjoy it at its best (a bit like the Munsters, who used to go moonbathing).

It has an incredibly sweet fragrance, which is why it’s so popular as a base for perfumes and why it’s used in aromatherapy – it’s an anti-depressant, antiseptic, it’s soothing, and it’s also an aphrodisiac!

Fun Plant Facts

Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plant (in this case a flowering vine, and a thorny, woody one at that).

The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Together with gymnosperms, they are the only extant groups of seed-producing plants, but they can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies, native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina.

A vine in the broad sense refers to any climbing or trailing plant, although the narrower and original meaning is the grapevine. These climbing plants grow anywhere from 1-12 meters (3-40 feet) tall and scramble easily over other plants with their hooked thorns.

Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. The plant was classified by Europeans in Brazil in 1768, by Philibert Commerçon.

Dr. Philibert Commerçon was a French naturalist, best known for accompanying Louis Antoine de Bougainville on his voyage of circumnavigation in 1766-1769.

Louis-Antoine, comte de Bougainville was a French admiral and explorer. Bougainville was born in Paris, the son of a notary, on either 11 or 12 November 1729. In early life, he studied law, but soon abandoned the profession, and in 1753 entered the army in the corps of musketeers during his voyage of circumnavigation.


Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus) is a flowering, climbing plant, growing to a height of 1-2 m (up to 6.5 feet), where suitable support is available.

The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Together with gymnosperms, they are the only extant groups of seed-producing plants, but they can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies, in the genus Lathyrus.

Lathyrus is a genus of flowering plant species known as sweet peas and vetchlings. Lathyrus is in the legume family Fabaceae and contains approximately 160 species. They are native to temperate areas, with a breakdown of 52 species in Europe, 30 species in North America, 78 in Asia.

Fabaceae or Leguminosae is a large and economically important family of flowering plants, which is commonly known as the legume family, pea family, bean family or pulse family. The name ‘Fabaceae’ comes from the defunct genus Faba, now included into Vicia.

A legume, in botanical writing, is a plant in the family Fabaceae, or a fruit of these specific plants. A legume fruit is a simple dry fruit that develops from a simple carpel and usually dehisces on two sides. A common name for this type of fruit is a pod.


Honeysuckle is the common name for some members of the family Caprifoliaceae, of which there are at least 65 species. It grows as a vine or a shrub, and can be either deciduous or evergreen. It mostly inhabits the Northern Hemisphere and is most hardy in zones 5 through 8.

The Japanese honeysuckle is native to Asia, before being introduced to other countries, such as the United States.

Honeysuckle has small, trumpet-shaped blossoms ranging from white to scarlet and decorative red berries. It is known for its sweet fragrance and its tendency to invade landscapes if not kept under control.

Honeysuckle flowers and leaves are edible. A sweet, honey-like nectar is found at the bottom of the flower. The leaves can be parboiled and eaten as a vegetable. It can easily grow up to 30 feet.

Historical uses of the honeysuckle plant in herbal medicine include treatment for gout, kidney stones and liver problems. It is commonly used as a fragrance in a variety of health and beauty products. It is also used inside toys for cats, which are attracted to its scent.

Warning: while honeysuckle flowers and leaves are not harmful, its berries can be toxic if ingested by humans.


Clematis plants are often fondly referred to as “Queen of the Climbers”. The average height of these plants is 12 feet and their width may vary from 3 to 4 feet.

The blooming time for this beautiful flowering plant is just after mid-summer. It grows well in temperate climatic conditions. It requires rich, fertile soil for its growth and survival. The light requirements of clematis is different for each individual species of plants. Ideally, it should be planted during spring time into a moist and well-drained soil.


Night-Blooming Jasmine, properly known as Cestrum nocturnum, is a highly fragrant shrub for sun or part shade. The small greenish-white, tubular flowers appear on new growth, opening only at night to release their perfume. During the day, they close back up again.

The fragrance can be quite intense and carries throughout an entire neighborhood. Some references claim this is the world’s strongest smelling plant! All of the plants bloom repeatedly throughout the summer and all bloom at the same time. Each flowering cycle lasts about a week.

Cestrum nocturnum is fast-growing, and can quickly reach 12-15 feet in height if not trimmed back regularly. And yes you will have to sweep up the little flowers from the ground on a regular basis.

Warning: once this plant gets going, it grows fast and can produce thousands of little flower trumpets that pack a real fragrance punch.

The Night-Blooming Jasmine is fairly tender and will freeze back during cold snaps, but rebounds rapidly in the spring, ready for another season of intoxicating fragrance!

The one we had grew very tall from a small plant in a one gallon container. It took about a year to grow from about 2 feet to over 6 feet. We did not trim it much and after a while it grew to more than 10 feet with a fragrance that literally filled the entire neighborhood. Many people would talk about this and they could never quite figure out where all of that scent came from.     :-)


If you’re having trouble watching the above video online (e.g. you’ve got a slow Internet connection, like we do), then you can download the video to your computer and then watch it there, without the annoying buffering and other interruptions. Just Right Click on the link and choose the Save As option:

If you don’t already have software on your computer that will play FLV files, then we highly recommend the VLC Media Player, which is available, for free, from VideoLAN.

(You will also need WinZip, or an equivalent program, to unzip the downloaded file.)

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14 Responses to ““Climbing Plants For Trellis”

  1. bryan says:

    Beautiful ideas on how to make you place more like home…quite a spread…

    Sales Success Expert

  2. Dennis Perry says:

    Beautiful plants and a well-researched article. Great job!

    Dennis Perry
    Create and Live the Life of Your Dreams

  3. Eva Palmer says:

    You are such an expert in everything you do! I love all the flowers that you are pesenting and all the information you give! Thanks!

  4. Gary Empey says:

    Amazing research on this, I loved to find out all about these many types of flowers, and even better I was introduced to some other beautiful flowers I have never seen before. I will make sure to look for these at the nursery next spring.

  5. Hi Rae and Mark,

    Thank you for citing me and for answering my question so well and so thoroughly! Indeed the San Diego Red Bougainvillea look so gorgeous, full, and lush! I think I grew up more with ivies and climbing clematis plants. Hearing of how well this plant grows in just 1 year is very helpful for planning your trellis garden.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Dating After 40 Expert

  6. Climbing flowers add so much to a gazebo and a pergola. Beauty and fragrance, you can’t go wrong.

    Yours In Health!

    Dr. Wendy M. Schauer, D.C., R.K.C.
    Come Experience The Power of the Russian KettleBell Revolution at Kettlebell Olympia – Home of A Better Body With Bells!

  7. Bryce Anderson says:

    This climbing flowers are just what I need to get for our side yard. I think these beautiful flowers would really make our house stand out from the others. Thanks for the great post and list of great flowers to use or just read about.

  8. Corky says:

    Thank you so much for all the research that has gone into this post! Every year I love to try new things and I am so excited that I have found a website that will help me explore new plantings!

  9. sean says:

    The Perennial Sweet Pea Vine is a favorite of mine. I remember going to my grandmothers house and sitting in her breakfast area in the mornings. There was a huge bay window. Just outside was a beautiful garden area with bird feeders and a gazebo. She had this vine growing up the sides.

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