12 Best Flowering Vines for Trellises (Top Species)

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Vines on trellis
Trellises can be used to train shrubs, young trees, and climbing plants; they’re a great way to add a touch of elegance and privacy to your garden. Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie / CC BY-SA 2.0

Trellises are some of the loveliest architectural structures for adding vertical dimension, subtle complexity, and aesthetic appeal to gardens and porches. Made of a wooden or metal lattice, they can be used to train climbing plants, shrubs, or even young trees. The bare bones of a trellis can look quite stately on their own, but they may also stand out like sore thumbs. Using them to support flowering vines would significantly soften their appearance while adding elements of grace and privacy.

A garden trellis can serve as a backdrop for outdoor patios and common areas. It would look especially vibrant during the bloom period of a climbing plant. With flowers bursting at eye level or ceiling height, a vine’s morphology can truly be appreciated by spectators. Though dozens of flowering vines are able to twine around trellises, you’ll have to make your choice based on the visual impact you wish to achieve, your capacity to maintain climbing plants, and the climate conditions in your area.

1) Japanese climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris)

Japanese climbing hydrangea on wall
Japanese climbing hydrangea is often grown on trellises or walls and is slow-growing at first. Acabashi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to Japan, Korea, and Siberia

Found in the woodland forests of its native range, the Japanese climbing hydrangea naturally trails up shrubs, rocky outcrops, and trees. This flowering vine produces aerial roots, which allow its stems to cling to rough vertical structures. In Europe and North America, it is frequently grown as an ornamental plant on trellises and walls. Initially slow-growing, it is best situated in areas receiving morning light and dappled afternoon shade.

In late spring to early summer, this climbing hydrangea sends out spritely clusters of white blooms. Each fragrant bouquet is comprised of two types of flowers. Showier yet sterile white flowers encircle masses of tiny, fertile blooms. Above a backdrop of heart-shaped, deep-green leaves, the pretty lacecaps provide an air of freshness and vitality. Borne on stems that grow up to 30 – 40 feet (9 – 12 meters), they may thoroughly cover tall and arching trellises.

2) Black-eyed susan vine (Thunbergia alata)

Black-eyed susan vine in bloom
Although their blooms look similar, the black-eyed susan vine is in no way related to the wildflower that shares the same name. Xia, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to eastern Africa

The black-eyed susan vine is often cultivated using hanging baskets, arbors, elevated containers, and trellises. Its stems, which grow to a maximum length of about 16 feet (5 meters), have a vining habit. These are able to tightly twist around posts, branches of nearby plants, and wooden stakes. This plant can be trained to densely cover vertical structures or freely spread as ground cover. Note that, as it easily reseeds, it may be quite difficult to maintain when its stems are left to sprawl over fertile soils.

Though this species is not at all related to a well-known wildflower sharing its common name (Rudbeckia hirta), their blooms do look quite similar. Golden-yellow, they have markedly dark-brown centers which likely appear as bull’s-eyes to their pollinators. These are most dense in mid-summer to fall, when ambient temperatures are at their warmest. In cooler zones, the black-eyed susan vine may need to be grown as an annual flowering plant.

3) American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)

American wisteria flowers
Mature American wisteria flowers occur as downward-facing racemes, with lengths of up to 6 inches. Dcrjsr, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to the southeastern US

A notable member of the Fabaceae or pea family, the American wisteria makes for a nuanced addition to a romantic spring garden. This flowering vine can take on the largest and sturdiest of trellises. Its increasingly woody stems are able to twist and turn around vertical spokes. They widen and become trunk-like as they mature, so they may easily outgrow small or relatively fragile supporting structures.

Favored by many horticulturists far and wide, the American wisteria produces the loveliest lavender-blue inflorescences. On mature plants, these occur as downward-facing racemes that measure up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. The flowering clusters may be dense enough to completely coat fences, walls, and trellises in swathes of radiant color. Any butterflies and bees in the area would be hard-pressed to ignore them.

4) Golden trumpet (Allamanda cathartica)

Golden trumpet arch
Although the golden trumpet doesn’t have stems that wrap around vertical structures, it can be trained to climb a trellis or perforated fence. Åsa Berndtsson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to Brazil

A no-nonsense addition to a subtropical to tropical garden, the golden trumpet or “yellow bell” naturally occurs as a sprawling shrub. Unlike other vines, this trailing plant does not send out tendrils or have stems that twine around vertical structures. Nonetheless, it can effectively be trained to climb a trellis or a perforated fence. This is initially done by staking the base of the stem and guiding it toward a vertical structure of choice. Eventually, the stems should loosely wind around the supporting material.

This evergreen, tropical climber is well worth a gardener’s care and dedication because its buds may successively develop and bloom for months on end. Trumpet-shaped, these are uniformly golden to lemon-yellow. Each fragrant flower has a width of about 5 inches (12.7 cm), so their clusters can quickly be identified from a distance. In warm climates, they may heavily speckle stems that grow up to about 20 feet (6 meters) tall.

5) Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

Carolina jessamine in bloom
The Carolina jessamine is the state flower of South Carolina and can reach heights of up to 20 feet! Jim Evans, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to Mexico, Guatemala, and the southern US

Another vine with eye-catching, butter-yellow blooms, the Carolina jessamine is an evergreen, perennial climber. Equipped with stems that effortlessly make their way up branches and low-growing trees, it can boast heights of up to 20 feet (6 meters). Its reddish-brown stems tend to appear wiry as they scramble over garden structures. They may also trail over bottom substrates to create a dense carpet of glossy, light-green leaves.

Also called false jasmine or common jessamine, this species is a recipient of the RHS Award of Garden Merit. It responds well to generous watering sessions and careful pruning, generating bursts of showy bloom clusters in late winter to spring. The official state flower of South Carolina, it can quickly transform trellises, porches, and arbors in areas with light shade to full sun exposure.

6) Early large-flowered clematis (Clematis spp.)

Clematis 'Henryi' flowers
Clematis ‘Henryi’ (pictured) is a great choice for trellises and other vertical structures in your garden. F. D. Richards from Clinton, MI, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to Asia

The early large-flowered clematis group consists of varieties and cultivars between three Asian Clematis species. These include C. languinosa, C. florida, and C. patens. Set apart by their propensity for producing relatively massive blooms, each measuring up to 10 inches (25 cm) across, their popularity comes as no surprise. The eye-catching flowers are star-shaped and may have single or double layers of pastel-colored petals.

The ‘Henryi’ cultivar, in particular, is especially charming on trellises and other vertical structures in the garden. This plant produces creamy-white flowers along its mature stems (where the previous year’s buds developed) in summer. In fall, a second wave of blooms may occur on new stems. Grow it alongside other vibrant vines to create a stunning contrast over the same trellis.

7) Morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor)

Morning glory blue flowers
Morning glory ‘Heavenly Blue’, as its name suggests, produces vivid blue flowers that almost look like they’re glowing under full sun. Udo Schröter / CC BY-SA 2.0

Native to tropical regions of the Americas

Morning glory is a long-stemmed, woody vine that expertly twines around nearby stems and branches to gain height and access more sunlight. This tropical species has a knack for growing rapidly within a single growth season. Its stems can annually elongate by up to 10 feet (3 meters) long when they arise from well-established root systems in well-draining, evenly moistened substrates. Due to this rapid rate of growth, they can quickly cover unsightly walls or aid in the timely naturalization of artificial structures.

The ‘Heavenly Blue’ cultivar of I. tricolor, which is often cultivated as an annual accent to walls and trellises, is a recipient of the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Its vibrant, azure-blue flowers may appear to glow under full sun. These open soon after the sun rises and subsequently fade and close in the early afternoon.

8) Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Star jasmine archway
Star jasmine, evergreen in USDA zones 8 – 10, is a popular ornamental vine that elegantly twines over supporting structures. A. Barra, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to East and Southeast Asia

Culturally and commercially valuable due to its oil’s uses in incense and perfume, star jasmine is a stunning, oriental-themed vine for trellises in stately gardens, parks, and furnished terraces. This ornamental liana is evergreen in USDA hardiness zones 8 – 10. Its drought-tolerant stems elegantly twine over supporting structures to create a more soft and timeless screen of bright-green leaves. Compared to its popular relatives, such as Asiatic jasmine (T. asiaticum), it is easier to maintain.

Star jasmine vines are especially fragrant in late spring, when their sweetly-scented clusters of white blooms generously dot their stems. When these are pollinated, they develop into narrow, seed-filled follicles. Propagation is not usually done with this species’ seeds as their stem cuttings tend to generate new tissues at a faster pace.

9) Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)

Sweet pea flowers
Sweet pea is a good choice if you have a smaller garden, as it doesn’t grow as tall as other vines do. Acabashi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to Italy and the Aegean Islands

A stunning climber from the beautiful islands of the Mediterranean Sea, the sweet pea favors mild climates. It thrives best in gardens with good air circulation, light shade, and well-draining substrates. This annual plant is frequently grown on trellises, where its delicate stems can quickly elongate and twine around a supporting lattice. It doesn’t grow as tall as many other vines, so it is a wise choice for smaller spaces.

Wild forms of sweet pea produce purple flowers in spring to fall. Their blooming season is lengthened in zones with cool winds. Humid conditions can adversely affect the shoots. Dozens of cultivars, which have been developed due to popular demand, are recipients of the RHS Award of Garden Merit. These are known for producing blooms in a wide range of colors – red, peach, light pink, deep orange, white, and more!

10) Cup-and-saucer vine (Cobaea scandens)

Cup-and-saucer vine in bloom
Cup-and-saucer vine’s bell-shaped blooms attract bats at dusk, who then go on to pollinate other flowers! chuck b. / CC BY 2.0

Native to Mexico

Named for the appearance of its funnel-shaped flowers and their surrounding sepals, the cup-and-saucer vine can excellently add complexity and freshness to vertical spaces. When given a fence, arbor, or trellis to climb, its stems readily send out tendrils. These hook onto supporting structures and tightly cling to them for support. The stems can sprawl over nearby vegetation and may eventually engulf them. Regular pruning should help control their spread.

As the cup-and-saucer vine grows remarkably quickly in optimal conditions, it may be trained as an annual accent for trellises in temperate zones. In hardiness zones 9 – 11, it may persist as a perennial plant. Its bell-shaped blooms, which appear from spring to summer, are known for attracting bats at dusk. When these mammals visit the blooms for their nectar, their fur becomes dusted with pollen. As they move from plant to plant, they act as pollinators.

11) Pink trumpet vine (Podranea ricasoliana)

Pink trumpet vine flowers
It’s recommended to propagate the pink trumpet vine using cuttings, as many of its seeds are infertile. Juan Carlos Fonseca Mata, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique

Capable of rambling over nearby shrubs and vertical structures despite its lack of tendrils, the pink trumpet vine travels upwards via twining stems. These grow to heights of around 16 feet (5 meters) and become increasingly woody over time. They bear oppositely arranged, bipinnate leaves that may resemble the fronds of some ferns. Each leaf is composed of up to 13 tapered leaflets.

In the southern hemisphere, the pink trumpet vine flowers all through the summer months of November to March. Its bright pink blooms occur on the tips of young branches. Once the blooms are spent or are developing into seed-filled capsules, their branches yield new growths. A high percentage of the seeds tends to remain infertile, so it would be best to propagate this species using cuttings.

12) Rocktrumpet vine (Mandevilla spp.)

Rocktrumpet vine flowers
Rocktrumpet vine’s bright pink to red blooms are known to appear in areas with moderately warm temperatures. Jerzy Opioła, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to the southwestern US, Central America, and South America

Frequently cultivated rocktrumpet vines are hybrids or cultivars of just a handful of extant Mandevilla species. Members of the Apocynaceae or dogbane family, these climbing plants are known for bearing fragrant blooms in areas with moderately warm temperatures. Their spectacular, trumpet-shaped flowers come in various eye-catching hues. Those of the more popular cultivars tend to be bright pink to red.

When provided with a supporting structure, like a trellis or pergola, the rocktrumpet vine can spread in virtually all directions. For vines, its cultivars are fortunately considered “well-behaved” because they are unlikely to compete with nearby plants. In sunny areas with frost-free climates, mandevilla-covered trellises may be enlivened by colorful blooms from late spring to fall.

Angeline L
About the author

Angeline L

I'm a passionate researcher and scuba diver with a keen interest in garden plants, marine life, and freshwater ecology. I think there’s nothing better than a day spent writing in nature. I have an academic and professional background in sustainable aquaculture, so I advocate for the responsible production of commercial fish, macroinvertebrates, and aquatic plants.

Read more about Pond Informer.

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