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

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

By: Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

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.

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13 Best Pergola Plants

What are the best plants for your pergola? First, let’s quickly look at what a pergola is! A pergola is an open structure design with pillars which support flat cross beams and latticework, often covered with plants.

People use pergolas as a trellis with climbing plants on a walkway or protecting some outdoor living space. The best pergola plants grow fast covering the structure requiring minimal care. Pergola vines and plants vary in size, appearance, and growing habit.

Most of these are flowering plants and vines which add color to the structure and landscape. Some gardeners combine plants with different blooming seasons to help extend the “season of color.”

It’s therefore paramount to ensure that the pergola design is strong enough to support several climbing plants. Although most climbing plants are self-clinging, others require some assistance to attach themselves to the pergola structure.

Top 19 Plants for Pergolas: The best climbing Pergola Plants

Covering your pergola with some plants may be essential to protect you from sunlight. Pergola plants are not only functional but they are also decorative. They will embellish your pergola and make more in touch with your outdoor greenery. However, there are many beautiful climbing plants and it is hard to choose among them. Therefore, in this post, we have listed the best and the most decorative plants for Pergolas. Scroll down and check them out.

Morning glory

This is one of the most beautiful Plants for Pergolas. It blooms beautifully every morning. This plant is among the easiest plant to grow. Besides, it grows up really quickly shielding your pergola from both sunlight and your neighbor’s eyes.

2. Bleeding heart

If you want to shade your pergola from your neighbors and sunlight, you should definitely grow the bleeding heart. It is distinguished by its exotic heart-shaped flowers. This plant is sturdy and it can be grown both in temperate and warm climates. However, you need to provide it with the following:

  • A sunny location
  • Moist soil

3. Tropical Bleeding Heart

Tropical Bleeding Heart is also known as Glory Bower. It features white elegant flowers and attractive dark foliage. This lovely plant originates from Western Africa. The plant requires warmth to grow and thrive.

4. Bougainvillea

There are many climbing varieties of bougainvillea that are suitable for pergolas. Bougainvillea is among the best drought tolerant plants. This plant comes in different colors including:

  • Pink
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Purple

5. Ivy

Ivy is recommended for arbors, pergolas, and gazebos. Besides being low maintenance and easy to maintain, Ivy is also a sturdy plant that can tolerate neglect and a variety of poor growing conditions.

6. Butterfly Pea

These plants are adored by butterflies. Growing them will attract many butterflies to your garden. Its vines carry extremely charming flowers that will adorn your pergola. Besides being ornamental, its flowers are also edible. These plants love the warmth.

7. Sweetpea

There are bush and non-bush varieties of sweet pea. The non-bush variety is recommended to grow over a pergola. It is easy to grow and it can be grown basically in any climate as long as you provide it with access to sunlight and a well-drained soil.

8. Clematis

This is one of the most recommended plants for Pergolas. Clematis is a blooming plant that flowers in spring. It is easy to grow and to maintain.

9. Climbing Hydrangea

This is an excellent plant to grow over a pergola. Growing it will allow you to enjoy a glossy heart-shaped foliage and extremely fragrant flowers. This plant flowers in clusters in spring. Being beautiful has its price, this plant requires care and pruning. It also needs patience since it is a slow grower.

10. Bignonia

Bignonia or Cross Vine is one of the most charming plants for Pergolas. It is distinguished by its remarkable bell-shaped flowers. Ideally, this plant should be grown in temperate climates but you can grow it in hot climates as long as your pergola is located in a shady spot.

11. Grape Vine

This is an extremely adorable vine plant. It is truly one of the best plants for Pergolas. This plant is ornamental, functional and edible. First, it will make your pergola outstanding. Second, it will protect you from sunlight. Third, it will provide with extremely delicious and healthy fruits.

12. Honeysuckle

If you want a climbing plant that will cover your pergola quickly, you should definitely grow honeysuckle. It one of the fastest growing plants for pergolas. It is also a low care vine that requires minimum maintenance. Honeysuckle is also fragrant and it will make your pergola smells nice.

13. Golden Hops

Golden hops are popular for covering trellises, pergolas, and arches because they fast growing plants. They are also one of the easiest vines to grow. These plants grow up to 8 meters in length. It features very attractive large foliage. Unfortunately, you can grow these plants only in cold and temperate climates.

14. Jasmine

Jasmin does not need an introduction. It is a chic elegant flower that releases an extremely refreshing and adorable scent. Growing Jasmine will decorate your pergola and will make it smell fabulous. Jasmin is also a blooming flower that blooms year round in warm climates.

15. Kiwi

The reason that makes Kiwi is one of the best plants for pergolas is that this plant needs a large space to grow. If you want to save space, you should definitely grow it over a pergola. Makes sure that you grow both male and female kiwi plants to get its delicious fruits.

16. Passion Flower

Passionflower is also known as Passiflora. It is one of the most advisable plants for pergolas as it is extremely sturdy. Passiflora is extremely popular because of its heady fragrance, colorful flowers, and edible fruits. This amazing plant can be grown anywhere. You can grow it over your pergola, on your balcony, rooftop or patio garden. You should only keep in mind that this tropical plant requires warmth to grow.

17. Trumpet Vine

Campsis radicans or as it is commonly called Trumpet Vine is a creeper that is distinguished by its trumpet-shaped flowers. Trumpet Vine is an exotic plant. Each trumpet flower has a different color from the others. Trumpet vine is easy to grow and it can be grown in full sun and partial

18. Rose

Roses are the most favorite flowers for most gardeners. Growing them over your pergola will create a calm tranquil and beautiful atmosphere. Besides, roses will transform your pergola into such a beautiful sitting area. However make sure that you choose a climbing variety of roses.

19. Wisteria

Wisteria is a fascinating plant. It is extremely beautiful and it releases an extremely pleasant scent. However, wisteria can be very invasive therefore if you are growing it over a pergola, make sure your prune to keep its size under control.

These are the top 19 plants for pergolas. These plants will decorate your pergolas and make them fabulous. Besides, they will also provide with privacy and protection for sunlight. All these climbers are easy to grow and they require minimum care. To learn more about decorative vines, check out this post.

Some climbers are self-clinging, others will grow through trellis, which will then support the plant, and some will need to be tied to the trellis with twine or garden ties. All may need a little help at first.

When tying climbers to the supporting structure, use a method that will avoid cutting into the stems of the plant, especially those that grow with thicker stems, such as roses, solanum and wisteria.

Twine in a tin is a really great idea, as it keeps the twine from getting knotted (so to speak!) and means that you don't need to have a pair of scissors to cut it.

I don't know about you, but I'm always putting things down and forgetting where they are! Now, I use a trug to keep gloves, secateurs, trowel, twine (and anything else I'm using), together and safe.

Anything soft and reusable is good too: soft to protect stems, and reusable to save on expense. As the season progresses, stems are cut down and plants trimmed, so I often find that I reuse many of my plant ties.

Best Pergola Plants

Roses are traditional. They are the preferred plants of the majority of garden enthusiasts as they create a sensation of being unique, serenity, fond memories, love, and also joy. Climbing up ranges are excellent to cover a pergola and also arcs.


Undoubtedly, among the very best pergola plants. Clematis is an incredible creeping plant as it flowers perfectly, blooming normally begins with springtime. You could expand it quickly as well as incorporate with various other plants, specifically with climbing up roses to obtain an extra charming sight.


The scent of honeysuckle blossoms is sentimental as well as multiplies when sundown collections. It has greater than 180 various varieties, mostly all are climbers. It is a huge creeping plant that proliferates, a solitary honeysuckle plant could cover a huge tough pergola quickly.

Interest Blossom (Passiflora)

Enthusiasm blossom is a stunning quick expanding, durable seasonal in tropics. The stimulating scent, vibrant blossoms, and also edible fruits make it among finest climbing plant you could have in your yard. You could likewise expand it on your porch, roof or patio area yard. Expanding enthusiasm blossom is very easy if you reside in the subtropical or exotic environment (USDA Area 8– 11). If you reside in the pleasant area after that try to find its chilly durable cultivars. In extremely awesome environment you could expand it as yearly.


Definitely, jasmine is one of the most extreme blossom. Its scent could be scented from far-far away. So if you enjoy great smelling plants, expand it. In cozy as well as moist environments jasmine blossoms all year. In cooler areas, expand it as yearly.

Grape Vine

Absolutely among the most effective climbing plants for pergolas, grape vine will certainly not just offer color as well as a cozy resting area yet juicy grapefruits also. You could expand this in a selection of environments. Grapevine ranges are belonging to Mediterranean, Central Asia, The U.S.A. as well as South West Asia, hence cultivars offered diversely. Below’s an intriguing write-up on training grapevine on arbor, which you could check out.


Lavender blue shade of wisteria blossoms and also the pleasant scent is interesting. Nonetheless, wisteria is a hostile cultivator however it puts in the time to develop. You could expand wisteria in pleasant as well as subtropical areas (USDA Areas 4– 9). If you have a huge tough pergola expand wisteria on it, you’ll should trim on a regular basis to regulate its development.

Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)

Because of its flashy trumpet-shaped blossoms, it is called trumpet vine. Each of trumpet vine blossoms could show up in various shades (orange, yellow or red). The blossoms draw in pollinators: , as well as hummingbirds. This plant looks wonderful on the arcs, pergolas, as well as trellises. It expands ideal completely sunlight to component sunlight.

Bignonia (Cross Creeping Plant)

One more lovely mountain climber, pertaining to trumpet vine. Its fragile bell-shaped blossoms look fantastic on pergolas. It is a relatively strenuous plant as well as endures light to modest frost, expands finest in USDA Areas (6– 9). You could likewise attempt expanding it in tropics (Area 10) in color from mid-day sunlight.

For the arbors, pergolas, as well as gazebos positioned in color, ivy is best. It is reduced upkeep and also endures the ventures of weather condition as well as offers lavish environment-friendly shade. You could likewise pick variegated selections.


The climbing up selections of bougainvillea appropriate for the pergolas. This plant enjoys the warm placement as well as does not such as damp feet. Amongst one of the most regularly grown shades are pink, red, yellow and also purple yet it can be found in numerous various other shades also.

Morning glory

A creeping plant that welcomes the early morning sunlight with its appealing flowers. Morning glory creeping plant is rather simple to expand as well as it cheer up swiftly. An excellent plant to cover a pergola that remains in a bright placement.

A kiwi creeping plant takes a great deal of area to expand that is why it is among the most effective pergola plants in our checklist. To get fruits from the kiwi plant, you’ll should have both male as well as women plants for pollination.

Sweet pea

Do not expand bush kind ranges if you are expanding it over the pergola. Plant wonderful peas in the sunlight as well as in a well-drained dirt. Expand wonderful peas in cozy areas in autumn as well as winter season. In temperates plant this great smelling creeping plant in springtime or summertime.

Bleeding heart

If you’re looking for a mountain climber for color, bleeding heart is one. Its attractive heart designed blossoms looks unique. This plant calls for wet dirt and also an area that obtains partial sunlight. Bleeding heart appropriates for cool pleasant environments as well as could be expanded in USDA Areas 3– 9.

Exotic Bleeding Heart (Magnificence Arbor)

Beautiful blossoms and also dark shiny vegetation. The exotic bleeding heart creeping plant is belonging to Western Africa, its blossoms appear like the bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis), see above. Both have various needs and also exotic bleeding heart prospers well in warmth as well as heat (USDA Areas 10– 11). * You could likewise expand it as a houseplant.

Butterfly Pea

Butterfly pea blossoms are the most effective food resource for butterflies. It is a vegetable and also both blossoms as well as seed shucks are edible. One of the most appealing feature of butterfly pea creeping plant is its glossy deep blue blossoms. Butterfly pea is an exotic creeping plant and also expands ideal in USDA Areas 10 and also 11. In a cool pleasant area, expand this seasonal as yearly.

Golden Hops

A rapid expanding creeping plant that swiftly hides the trellises, pergolas, as well as arcs. Golden hops could mature to 8 m long with no problem. Exactly what makes it gorgeous is its lime eco-friendly or yellow-colored vegetation. It is a reduced upkeep chilly sturdy creeping plant (USDA Areas 4– 8), not appropriate for cozy environments.

Climbing Hydrangea

Expanding climbing hydrangea creeping plant is compensating as a result of its shiny heart-shaped vegetation and also great smelling white blossoms that show up in collections in springtime to summer season. It is a slow-moving farmer and also needs training and also trimming. You could expand climbing hydrangea if you reside in the chillier area within USDA Areas 5– 8.

Watch the video: Climbing plants - how to choose the right climber for your garden!