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Oasis Outdoors: Best Climbing Plants for Your Pergola

Oasis Outdoors: Best Climbing Plants for Your Pergola

Best climbing plants for pergola

What are the best climbing plants for a pergola? The answer is rather tricky.

Climbing plants are a great way to add visual interest and shade to your outdoor space, and your pergola serves as the perfect functional and aesthetic support structure for them.

Then again, deciding on the best climbing plants for a pergola that add the lush, color and fragrance that ideally suits your space can be challenging, as there are numerous plant varieties that produce all kinds of blooms.  

In this article, we’ll explore some of the finest options you have to add both color and texture to your outdoor living space.

What Are the Best Climbing Plants for Pergolas?

Here are some of the better choices you have:

Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

wisteria on a pegola
A stunning plant with beautiful clusters of color. Source

Wisteria is a popular choice for pergolas. Its long, pendulous clusters of lush, colorful flowers can add a dramatic effect to any outdoor space. While it produces purple, blue, or white flowers, it is a fast-growing vine, which makes it a great option for small and large arbors. Besides this, wisteria can grow up to 30 feet high or more, depending on the species and location. Plus, this beautiful vine is relatively easy to care for.

BouGainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra)

BouGainvillea over a pergola
An exotic vine that produces a riot of colors and is perfect for Mediterranean and sunny climates. Source

Bougainvillea is a popular tropical vine that adds color to pergolas. It has showy, brightly colored blooms that range from yellow to pink, orange, red, white, and purple. Thanks to these colorful shades, the Bougainvillea vine can brighten up any outdoor space. BouGainvillea is one of the best climbing plants for partial sun arbors as it thrives in warm climates.

Clematis (Clematis)

purple clematis
It offers a truly stunning display of flowers in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white.

Clematis is a versatile and easy-to-grow plant that comes in a range of colors and sizes. It’s perfect for adding color and texture to a trellis and can be trained to grow in any direction. Clematis also blooms in the summer and only requires six hours of sunlight daily to bloom into its impressive, showy flowers and lush foliage.

Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)

red trumpet vine
This vigorous vine produces large, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of orange, red, and yellow. Source: @caribbeangarden via Pinterest

Native to the eastern US states, Trumpet Vine is a fast grower and can be one of the best climbing vines for partial sun pergolas as it can quickly cover large areas and provide plenty of shade. The simple reason for this is that it can grow as tall as 40 feet high. With its showy, trumpet-shaped flowers, the Trumpet Vine adds a touch of color to any outdoor space throughout the summer months.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera)

honeysuckle vine on pergola
A vigorous grower that produces sweetly-scented flowers in pink, yellow, and orange hues. Source

Honeysuckle vines are also one of the best evergreen climbing plants for pergolas because they are fast-growing and easy to care for, making them a popular choice for many gardeners. They produce fragrant, tubular flowers and lush foliage that add a touch of fragrance and greenery to any outdoor space. More than this, they grow as tall as 20 feet and bloom from late spring through summer.

Climbing Roses (Rosa)

climbing roses on trellis climbing roses shutterstock com
The best climbing plants for trellis in a shade with gorgeous flowers that bloom in red, pink, and white colors. Source

If you’re looking for stunning climbers to add to your shaded trellis, roses are a stunning option. They can grow over 40 feet and are a classic choice for pergolas, providing both beauty and fragrance to your outdoor space.

Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris)

climbing hydrangea covered pergola
They are hard and heavy but can keep their shape even after the foliage begins to fall. Source: @debbytenquist via Instagram

If you frequent your outdoor space during the spring and summer months, these flowers will be an excellent way to add a statement to your backyard arbor. Hydrangea features a large cluster of white flowers and dark-green heart foliage. This plant lasts up to 50 years and typically grows about 30 to 80 feet.

What Are the Best Climbing Flowers for Pergolas?

Some of the best climbing flowers that sit perfectly on a pergola include:

Morning Glory (Ipomoea)

morning glory on a pergola
An annual climber that bears beautiful, exotic-looking, and colorful flowers. Source

These beautiful flowers produce trumpet-shaped blooms in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white. They are easy to grow and can quickly cover your pergola with a profusion of color.

Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus)

seet pea climbing plant on a pergola
These flowers are beautiful, delicately scented, and can keep flowering for months.

Native to the Mediterranean region, sweet peas produce delicate, sweetly scented flowers in shades of pink, purple, and white. They are a popular choice for pergolas, as they can add both beauty and fragrance to your outdoor space.

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)

nasturtium on a pergola
A species of flower that thrives in semi-shaded spaces. Source

Nasturtiums produce brightly colored flowers in shades of red, orange, and yellow. They are easy to grow and can quickly climb up your pergola, adding a pop of color to your outdoor space.

Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata)

black eyed susan climbing vine
Its beautiful orange flowers and lush heart-shaped green leaves command attention effortlessly. Source

This beautiful vine produces small, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and white. It’s a great option for a pergola, as it can quickly cover large areas and add plenty of color to your outdoor space.

Passionflower (Passiflora)

passion flower on a pergola
Passionflower is one of the surest ways to add visual interest and fragrance to your outdoor space. Source

Native to tropical America and the South Pacific, the Passionflower is an exotic climber that produces intricate, showy flowers in shades of blue, purple, and white. It ranks as one of the best climbing vines for pergolas in our list because it grows into beautiful and unique coiled tendrils that wrap around the arbor to make it stand out.

How to Grow Climbing Plants on a Pergola

Growing climbing plants on a pergola requires some preparation and care. Here are some tips to help you grow the best hanging plants for a pergola:

  • Choose the right plant

Before growing these beautiful creepers, choose the right plant for your pergola. Consider the amount of sunlight your pergola receives, the type of soil, and the climate in your area.

  • Prepare the soil

Once you have chosen your plant, prepare the soil by adding compost and fertilizer. It will help your plant grow strong and healthy.

  • Install a trellis

If your pergola does not have a trellis, install one to help support the plant. Make sure the trellis is sturdy and can support the weight of the plant.

  • Train the plant

As the plant grows, train it to climb on the trellis or pergola. Use ties or clips to attach the plant to your outdoor structure.

  • Prune the plant

Regular pruning is essential to keep even the best creeper vines healthy and under control. Prune the plant in the fall or early spring to remove dead or diseased branches.


In this section you will find the answers to the most common questions about climbing plants.

What Is the Fastest-Growing Vine for a Pergola?

If you’re looking for a vine that grows fast and covers your pergola in no time, then the Wisteria plant is a great choice. Wisteria is a fast-growing vine that produces beautiful purple flowers in the spring and summer. It can quickly cover your pergola and provide shade and beauty to your outdoor living space.

What Is the Easiest Climbing Plant to Grow?

An easy-to-grow climber that works well on pergolas is the Clematis vine. Clematis is low-maintenance and grows well in a variety of soil conditions. More than this, it can tolerate both sun and shade.

What Is the Fastest-Growing Climbing Flower?

If you’re looking for fast-growing creepers that produce plenty of blooms, the Morning Glory vine is an excellent choice. Morning Glory is a fast-growing annual vine that produces vibrant, trumpet-shaped flowers in various colors, including blue, pink, and purple.

What Kind of Climbing Plant Lasts the Longest?

If you’re looking for the best slow-growing vine plants for a pergola that will last for years, then the Climbing Hydrangea is an excellent choice.
While it takes a lot of time and effort to grow, it produces beautiful, fragrant flowers in the summer and can live for up to 50 years with proper care. It’s also relatively low-maintenance, making it an excellent choice for those who want a long-lasting plant without much upkeep.


Climbing plants on a pergola is an excellent way to add natural beauty and shade to your outdoor living space. Whether you’re looking for a fast-growing creeper or a long-lasting plant, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Consider the Wisteria plant for fast growth, Clematis for ease of care, Passionflower for stunning beauty, Morning Glory for fast-growing flowers, and Climbing Hydrangea for longevity. Then again, whichever option you choose, these plants are some of the best climbing plants for a pergola, and with a little care and attention, they can quickly grow to cover your area, providing shade and visual interest for years to come.

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