Garden Clippings: Trellis Plants

Tips for choosing a climbing plant.

| August 2005

  • PLANTS00.jpg
    'Jackmanii' clematis
    Mike Lang
  • PLANTS1.jpg
    Trumpet vine
    Mike Lang
  • CHICAGO0.jpg
    A variety of clematis growing on a trellis.
    Mike Lang
  • Clematis.jpg
    'Nelly Moser' clematis
    CAPPER'S library

  • PLANTS00.jpg
  • PLANTS1.jpg
  • CHICAGO0.jpg
  • Clematis.jpg

My dad is hooked on gardening, even if he won't admit it. Almost yearly, I hear him say that he's going to turn the vegetable garden back to grass after the long summer has taken its toll on the crops. Each spring, as the fescue lawn is growing at its peak, he'll say he's going to let some of the yard go because he's tired of mowing it, yet if nothing else gets done in the fall, he's sure to apply fertilizer for that early spring green-up.

Recently, Dad made a new trellis for the planting bed in the back yard. He put three small, steel wagon wheels vertically on a post, and put it in the perennial bed. His question for me was what he should plant on it.

I never really thought about it, but choosing a climbing plant can be difficult to do. I suggested a 'Jackmanii' clematis or a goldflame honeysuckle, which Dad quickly shot down since he already has one of each.

Mentally, I started going through the perennial vines that will grow in our area, trying to come up with the perfect plant for his trellis.

American bittersweet is an outstanding vine that does well in this area. The eye-popping orange and red clusters of fruit that are produced each fall are tremendous. But, because of the large size of the plant, it's probably best reserved for a screen, rather than a 6-foot-tall trellis.

The trumpet vine would be welcome to the garden because of its attraction to hummingbirds, with its bright-orange, tubular flowers. But this vine gets way too big for a garden trellis. The long seedpods that appear after flowering are also very efficient in protecting the seed that volunteers to come up where it isn't wanted.



February 15-16, 2020
Belton, Texas

Join us in the Lone Star state to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me