Many outdoor gardens have structures like pergolas or arbors that help give some character to the space, but if you have a climbing plant to accompany the structure, you will be able to train your plants to create a vertical depth that is simply stunning. A pergola is also a great way to incorporate a bare wall into the garden so that it becomes part of the space instead of something beyond the garden. The right plant can provide some shade as well, which can be ideal for a sitting space where you can relax or enjoy reading a book.
There are a lot of different types of climbing plants that will look amazing in your garden, and many of them are easy to grow and care for, even for a novice gardener.
In this guide, we will take a look at 20 climbing plants that can make your outdoor gardening space look stunning.
Each one is unique and will have different growing zones and requirements, so consider them all before deciding which one to add to your pergolas and arbors.
Climbing roses can be a beautiful addition to any garden, but the trick to a beautiful pergola is training this beautiful plant early. Roses are available in a variety of colors, and they can grow up to 12 feet long and about four feet wide, which makes them ideal for vertical growth. They do well in full sun and well-drained soil, and since they are hardy plants, they tend to do well in most growing zones.
Honeysuckle is a plant that grows quickly and produces a sweet smell that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. This plant can grow to heights of up to 20 feet in partial or full sun, and it typically blooms from May until late in the summer, with the best results in zones four to nine.
This is a beautiful brightly colored plant that grows well in zones four through nine. With a growth of at least six feet in height and three feet in width, the clematis is known to grow nearly double this size. Blooming from early spring until late summer, it has become a favorite for vertical space. See the different varieties of Clematis here
Jasmine is a plant that creates a full, vine with fragrant blooms that will be present all year long, especially in warm, humid climates. It will bloom more annually in cooler climates. Found in zones six through 10, this vine can grow more than 35 feet with only partial sunlight.
If you want a lot of blues and purples in your garden, then the wisteria, which can reach a height of 25 feet, is a great option that will grow quickly. It does require full sun and slightly acidic soil that is well-drained, and it grows best in zones four through nine.
The bignonia is a stunning climbing plant that has delicate bell-shaped blooms that can grow up to a height of 50 feet. They tend to grow best in full to partial sun with slightly acidic soil in zones five to nine, and the bright orange, red blooms can be seen during the months of May and June.
If you decide on the trumpet vine, you will most likely find hummingbirds and bees in the area because they are great for pollinators. These plants can grow up to 40 feet high, and they can grow well in both full sun and partial shade. Typically best in zones five through nine, it can even do well in drought conditions.
This plant has a brilliant blue bloom that can be seen throughout the entire summer and most of autumn. Reaching heights of up to 15 feet, morning glories grow best in full sun and relatively dry soil, which means that this hardy plant can grow in zones three through 10 with ease.
If you are looking for a climbing plant that will provide a lot of shade, then ivy is a great option. Boston Ivy can be found in zones four to eight, and it is known to change color with the season. It grows well in both full and partial sun, though full sun will bring out the colors of the leaves more.
This is a climbing plant that is slower to grow, but if you have the patience to train it, your garden will look and smell amazing. Climbing hydrangea grows best in zones five to eight with full to partial sun. These plants do not like extreme heat so afternoon sun may not be best in some areas.
Moonflower is a great option for gardeners who like to entertain at night because these blooms open from sunset to sunrise during the summer months and the majority of the fall. Typically grown in zones 10 and 11, these plants can reach heights of up to 20 feet or more.
If you are looking for a climbing plant that grows quickly, the Virginia creeper is a great choice. There are no blooms on this plant, but the leaves change colors in the fall, and the vines can grow as high as 50 feet. It grows best in zones three to nine in full sun.
This is a great climbing plant to attract butterflies to your garden. The butterfly pea, which grows best in zones 10 and 11, produces deep blue blooms that grow best in full sun. These plants can grow up to 10 feet in height and can withstand high humidity and dry conditions.
If you find that your garden has a lot of shade, then the bougainvillea is a great climbing plant to consider. This fast-growing plant can grow up to 30 feet high, depending on the species, and it grows best in zones nine to 11 where the temperature typically remains above 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best for zones three through nine, the bleeding heart produces exotic, heart-shaped blooms that that will look stunning dangling from a pergola. It prefers moist soil and partial shade; however, tropical bleeding hearts are a species that grow best in the more humid zones like 10 and 11.
Looking for a low maintenance vine for your garden? Golden hops, which grow best in zones four through eight, prefer a colder climate. The golden yellow leaves grow best in full to partial sun, and though this plant does not bloom, it can easily grow to a height of 25 feet.
If you are looking to add fruit to your garden, consider a grapevine, especially since there is a variety that will grow well in most zones across the country. The grapes that the vine produces will be sweeter if they grow in the sun, and it is important to note that grapes may not produce for the first few years that the vine is growing.
A firethorn is a shrub that can grow 20 feet in height, and with enough training, the bright red berries and white blooms can make your pergola stunning all year. This plant grows best in zones seven through nine, and it prefers partial sun and well-drained soil.
The passion flower is a hardy option that grows in zones seven to 10, but it can also grow as an annual in cooler climates. With blue, purple, or pink blooms, the vine can grow up to 30 feet high in a season. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil, which is why they grow best in hotter zones.
White Potato Vine
The white potato vine is a climbing plant that is fast growing and easy to care for. It grows best in zones nine to 11, and it prefers full or partial sun. It can grow to a height of up to 25 feet, and the white blooms can be seen in late spring and early summer.