Growing Beyond the Norm: 3 Unexpected Climbing Plants for Your Garden Trellis

by Catherine Marrone 07/19/2021

Growing climbing plants on a trellis is a perfect way to use a small space efficiently. Trellises with vines can be purely decorative or provide valuable functionality like shade and privacy. There are many popular climbing plants to choose from if you’re looking for something to cover a trellis, but even if you’re looking for something different from the norm, you’ll find a surprising amount of options. Here we’ll go over some of the more unusual climbing plants to grow on a garden trellis:

Growing climbing plants on a trellis is a perfect way to use a small space efficiently. Trellises with vines can be purely decorative or provide valuable functionality like shade and privacy. There are many popular climbing plants to choose from if you’re searching for something to cover a trellis, but even if you’re searching for something different from the norm, you’ll find a surprising amount of options. Here we’ll go over some of the more unusual climbing plants to grow on a garden trellis:

Vine Vegetables & Melons

Many gardeners are unaware of just how many vegetables can grow vertically as well as over the ground. Some veggies like tomatoes need trellises or cages to grow best but others like melons and pumpkins are more typically grown at ground level. Since the vines of these plants can grow quickly and up to 20 feet long, it makes much more sense to grow them vertically in a small space. If you’re searching for something unexpected and useful at the same time, try planting pumpkin or melon vines on a trellis or pergola. Just be sure the structure is sturdy, as these crops are very heavy.

Hops

Regardless of whether you’re a beer drinker, the key ingredient can make a lovely and effective plant to grow on a trellis. Hops grow vertically along the entire height of a structure before switching to a lateral growth pattern. This is how the plant flowers and reproduces, so they are frequently grown in giant hanging canopies. This natural behavior makes hops particularly great for growing on a pergola, as they will spread out over the roof once they reach the top of the supports. As long as the plants get enough sun, they will produce beautiful greenery and useful fruit in almost any climate zone.

Boston Ivy

Boston ivy is the stunningly colorful climbing vine commonly found covering entire buildings all over the country. The leaves are bright green in the spring and summer but become a bright red in the fall. It’s very easy to grow—some might say too easy. It’s an incredibly aggressive plant you’ll need to cut back occasionally to prevent it from taking over more than your trellis. However, other than occasional pruning it makes for a low-maintenance and stylish trellis vine. Boston ivy is an especially great choice if you’re trying to create shade or privacy in your yard, as the leaves grow together so densely that the plant creates a thick carpet of foliage.

As with any plants, it’s important to consider your climate and local environment when choosing any of the above trellis-climbing options. Consult with local experts to confirm whether your climate zone is suitable for growing the plant you want to. You should also make sure it’s not classified as invasive in your area, especially with quick and aggressive growers such as ivy. Regardless, these options make for excellent trellis cover for anybody wanting to plant outside of the box.

About the Author
Author

Catherine Marrone

A licensed MA & NH Realtor for 30+ years located in West Newbury, MA representing buyers & sellers in all price ranges specializing in horse farms, equestrian facilities, country estates, first-time buyers, move-up buyers, seniors and relocation.  
Whether you're a buyer or a seller, as my client you will receive the utmost attention with clear and timely communication throughout the entire transaction. I am known among my past clients for my integrity, honesty and willingness to "go the extra mile" for buyers and sellers.   
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