The Best Climbing Plants For Wooden Arbors

            Wooden arbors festooned with blooming plants add beauty and style to any garden setting.  Although many plants with a growth pattern based on vines will cover the arbor almost completely, the structure should still be chosen for a fine appearance, as it will act as a backdrop to the planting and will be more visible in the winter when the summer’s foliage is gone.


Roses are among the most beautiful plants to grow on wooden arbors, and one of the very best cultivars for this purpose is Princesse Marie, also known as Belvedere.  This rose is an exquisite rambler that grows up to 15 feet tall, with a spread of approximately 10 feet.  The pink flowers are very fragrant and will smother your arbor with color during its blooming season, presenting a fantastic display.

Princesse Marie is happy growing in either full sun or light shade, and will not be fussy even if your soil is somewhat poor.  When planting this rose, be sure to spread the roots carefully and amend the soil with humus or well-rotted manure.  Dead branches should be removed in spring.   Butterflies and bees are attracted to this rose’s blooms and it is hardy in zones 6 to 9.

Other striking flowers for wooden arbors

A fairly new addition to American gardens is the China Blue Vine.  This is a vigorous climber for warmer regions (zone 7 – temperatures less than 0 F will kill the vine), and will cover your wooden arbors with glossy, dark green leaves and fragrant sprays of white flowers.  After this vine is finished blooming in the spring, it will form edible purple fruit by autumn.  Besides the white-flowered variety, there is now a China Blue Vine with purple flowers.  This vine self-pollinates, so only one is required for fruit.  Acidic soil that has plenty of humus is the preferred growing medium for this vine, and it enjoys a situation in full sun or partial shade.  The China Blue Vine grows 15 to 20 feet and has no known pests, so it offers you carefree beauty and enjoyment.

            There are a number of honeysuckle vines that will provide color no matter where you live.  Many, but not all honeysuckles are fragrant, and all look beautiful on wooden arbors, especially if the structures are located near the home.  You will probably want to plant several vines as their spread is not a great as some other plants with a vine-based growth habit, and it will also allow their strong roots to stretch out.

American Honeysuckle is hardy in zones 6 through 10 and is the honeysuckle we usually associate most with the well-known aroma of this family.  A wooden arbor dripping with yellow honeysuckle blossoms fills the entire yard with the distinctive scent of this plant from the first flowers in spring to the last blossoming in autumn.  American Honeysuckle grows to an impressive length of 25 feet when given adequate sun and moisture.

If you are looking for a hardier honeysuckle, you will enjoy using either Dropmore Scarlet or Tatarian Honeysuckle on your wooden arbor.  Both of these varieties are fragrant, but both are hardy to zone 3, which means they can tolerate winter temperatures of -40 degrees Fahrenheit.  Neither of these plants is as long as the American Honeysuckle, but they will grow 10 to 12 feet, which will be enough to cover an arbor nicely once the honeysuckle has achieved some growth.

Annuals for wooden arbors

Annual climbing plants can also be used to good effect on a wooden arbor, and these offer you the opportunity to change the look of your garden every year.  A favorite annual vine is always the morning glory.  These are available in a wide range of colors, but Heavenly Blue is still a favorite choice among gardeners.  Another very dramatic morning glory is the double red Sunrise Serenade.

These vines will grow up to 15 feet, depending on the variety, and they love a sunny spot, but will actually prefer soil that is a bit on the dry and poor side.  These plants are generally started from seeds, and are easy to grow.

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