Last week when I was walking around my neighborhood I noticed several people had trellises and each one of them was beautifully decorated with different flowering plants.  A trellis is an architectural structure that has an open framework or lattice and is typically made of wood, bamboo, or metal.  In the garden, it used to support and display climbing plants.  If you ever thought of going vertical in your garden or looking to add a decorative style to your landscape, a trellis is a great addition.  

My walk got me thinking about what flowering plants would be great to grow on a trellis?  Here are my seven favorites:

Bougainvillea – Bougainvillea vines look great growing on a trellis.  These vines are popular in warmer climates.  The white bougainvillea flower is actually very small.  You find them in clusters of three.  The showy part of this plant is the bracts that surround the flower.  They come in bright colors including magenta, pink, purple, red, orange, white, and yellow.  These vines have spiky thorns and will grow 3 to 40 feet tall.  This plant grows best in slightly acidic soil on the dry side in full sun.  The plant is drought tolerant and hardy for zones 9–11. Get more information on growing Bougainvillea here

Clematis – Clematis are perennial vines that come in a variety of colors and are known for their beautiful flowers.  The flowers are found in many sizes with some being 6-8 inches large and others small and delicate.  There are also double flowers. They are available in blue, pink, white, burgundy, lavender, and other colors.  They climb by using their small leaf stems which will coil around a support.  Clematis vines need well-drained, rich soil and a full sun location.  Their roots need to be shaded, so if there aren’t other plants nearby use some mulch.  Some of these plants have different bloom times including late spring, summer or fall, and some varieties re-bloom.  Clematis vines can grow 3 feet to 20 feet or more. Find out more about Clematis in our Clematis Guide

Climbing Roses – My brother grows Roses on his trellis, which makes an inviting entrance to his backyard.  These gorgeous colored, fragrant plants will enhance a garden and with repeat bloomer varieties you can have blooms all summer long even into the late fall.  This type of Rose can climb 12 to 14 feet tall and spread 10 feet wide.  Climbing roses will grow and flower best in a sunny location, although they will tolerate some shade. A location with eastern exposure can protect the plant from the hot afternoon sun.  Climbing Roses need regular watering.  Water these flowers at the base of the plant in the morning.  These plants are susceptible to fungal disease, so do not overwater them.

Honeysuckle - Honeysuckles are known for their sweet scent.  They are easy to grow and there are many striking varieties. The fast-growing vines attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  They can grow anywhere that does not have extremely cold weather. Honeysuckles bloom heavily in spring, with some extending their season into summer. Hardy in Zones 4-9, these 8 to 10-foot climbers need full sun, average amounts of water, and adapt well to most soils. 

Mandevilla – Mandevilla is often thought of as an annual plant but they are really a tender perennial, so they can be grown outdoors in the warm weather.  The fragrant flowers come in a variety of colors including pink, red, yellow, and white.  The woody vines have tendrils, which attach themselves to the trellis.   They will add a taste of the tropics to your garden.  Mandevilla vines need some shade. They do well in bright, indirect light or filtered sunlight.  If they get too much direct, full sunlight they can burn.  To keep your Mandevilla flourishing all summer, fertilize it every two weeks. 

Passion Flower – This is one of the plants I saw growing on a trellis.  It is an exotic plant that grows quickly in warm weather. The tendril-bearing vine is known for its unique, showy flowers.  The center of the flower is quite distinctive. Passion flowers come in blue, pink, purple, red, and white.  The plant needs full sun and can grow up to 20 feet or more. The plant produces fruit after flowering.  The fruit is edible with some varieties.  It has medicinal properties and is used for anxiety. The flower extract is also used in food and beverages.

Wisteria – Wisteria vines climb by twinning their stems around the trellis.  These vines will bloom robustly in the spring, with large, pretty drooping clusters of lilac, blue-purple, or white flowers.  Wisteria can grow in most soils but prefers fertile, moist, well-drained soil. This vine thrives in full sun. The plant is propagated from hardwood or softwood cuttings, or seed.  If you grow it from seed it can take decades to bloom.  These vines can grow as high as 66 feet and spread 33 feet wide.  Some varieties are invasive, so be sure to check your local garden centers before you plant.  The world’s largest known wisteria is in Sierra Madre, CA.  It measures 1 acre and weighs 250 tons.  Learn more about it here. Has anyone ever seen it?  Read our recent blog post on Growing Wisteria.

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