Garden Arbors, Pergolas, and Flowering Vines

Posted in Garden Arbors

garden arbor trellis with clematis vine A garden arbor is like a blank canvas and plants are your pallet of shapes, colors and textures.

Turn any landscape structure into a real focal point by incorporating flowering vines into your plan. Plants including vines and their support system play an architectural role in the landscape, adding height and depth, shade and cooling, interest and beauty.

There are so many different hardy perennial vines to select from for outdoor use and a lot of them can tolerate a wide range of climates.

For outdoor settings like arbors and trellises and the occasional very large indoor application, here are some of the most popular flowering vines:

Clematis – Clematis vines are a great choice for home gardens as they are reliable bloomers, the flowers come many different colors, and the plants are readily available.

garden arbor trellis with clematis vineThe vines are not very heavy so they can be used with smaller trellises as well as larger arbors. They are often used to soften the appearance of mailboxes and lamp posts.

Clematis will take several years to really get established and fill out. From a cultural perspective, the common tip is that clematis “like their heads in the sun and feet in the shade. Place low growing plants in front of the clematis and add another layer of plant material to your design at the same time.

There are so many varieties available but Clematis ‘Henryi’ is one of the best long lived varieties with 6” wide white blooms and interesting bronze color in its new growth. Clematis “Jackmanii’ is a long time favorite with violet flowers.

Clematis are fine stemmed perennial vines and pruning depends on the type, one type flowers on the previous season’s growth and the other type flowers on new growth. It is critical to know  which type of you have to guide your periodic clematis pruning and maintenance. Follow the pruning instructions that come with your plants.

Wisteria – The wisteria vine (Wisteria) is a great choice for large outdoor pergolas or decks in the landscape. The most common wisteria’s pendant bluish-violet flowers are quite a beautiful sight in late spring.

wisteria vine bloom perfect for garden archesSince it is a vigorous growing vine the wisteria will cover quickly and provide shade and screening for your garden niche. One thing to keep in mind is that the wisteria spreads via runners and  requires a bit extra pruning compared to some other vines.

Be vigilant to keep vines planted near buildings from getting into gutters and roofing. The benefits of its quick growing foliage and beautiful flowers more than makes up for the wisteria’s wandering tendencies.

The ever-thickening network of wisteria vine stems provide year round interest and adds a sense of permanence to the garden.

Trumpet Vine – The trumpet vine (Campsis) is another very tough and vigorous vine with striking red or orange-red flowers. Once established it will rebloom year after year without fail adding a gorgeous touch to your landscape. As a bonus bird enthusiasts should note that trumpet vines attract hummingbirds.

campsis trumpet vine good for attracting hummingbirds to your garden arborIn southern climates the trumpet vine is sometimes considered a weedy plant as it has great tendencies to spread so siting your pergola is important if you want to use the trumpet vine.

Also, some people are sensitive to the oils in the campsis leaves but it still warrants using due to its beautiful flowers. For a striking and easy-to-grow vine, the trumpet vine is hard to beat.

So there you have it, a brief look at a few of the most common landscape vines. Next time we will look at some other lesser known flowering vines that will beautify your arbor trellis.

Wisteria floribunda Violacea Plena – Japanese wisteria
Probably the most eye-catching version of trumpet creepers is this Chinese one. As a fast growing vine it can soon cover walls, gazebos or fences.

Campsis grandiflora – Chinese trumpet creeper
Probably the most eye-catching version of trumpet creepers is this Chinese one. As a fast growing vine it can soon cover walls, gazebos or fences.

Climbing Plants | Wisteria Vines
Indeed, in the southeastern U.S. this vine is sometimes considered a weed. Birdwatchers take note: trumpet vines draw hummingbirds! Jackman clematis (Clematis x jackmanii)

Small Space Gardening
Vines & Climbers: a trellis or lattice work used as an open fencing makes an ideal spot for a climber or vine such as clematis and trumpet vine.

Vine for a big pergola
Some vines can get really big (like the trumpet vine or wisteria) and the demure ones don’t bloom all season and won’t completely cover a substantial structure.