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Vines to Grow on Trellises

By: Garden Gate staff
Find the best big and small vines for your trellis.

Small Vines Great for a small space or a free-standing trellis, most of these vines reach a maximum of around 12 feet. They’re also fairly lightweight, so they don’t need a huge, heavily built trellis to support them.

Name Type Size Exposure Comments
Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) Annual 3 to 8 ft. Full sun Cold-hardy in USDA zones 10 to 12; heat-tolerant in AHS zones 12 to 1; Flowers are usually yellow with black centers, but may be white or pink
Clematis (Clematis hybrids, small cultivars like ‘Niobe’) Perennial vine 3 to 10 ft. Full sun to part shade Cold-hardy in USDA zones 4 or 5 to 9; heat-tolerant in AHS zones 9 to 1; wide range of colors
Morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) Annual 6 to 12 ft. Full sun Flowers in white, pink, red, blue and purple, some bicolors; fast-growing; reseeds but seedlings are easily pulled
Rose (Rosa hybrids, small cultivars like ‘Jeanne LaJoie’ or climbing ‘Rainbow’s End’) Shrub 4 to 10 ft. Full sun Most small climbing roses are cold-hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9; heat-tolerant in AHS zones 9 to 1; may need to be covered in zone 5 and colder; will need to be trained onto trellis
Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) Annual 3 to 8 ft. Full sun to part shade Fragrant white, pink, purple and red flowers; vines may need a little encouragement to climb

Big Vines If you’re looking for a big impact in your garden, these vines will do it. Many of them reach between 10 and 20 feet, while several actually get much bigger, up to 40 feet. You’ll need a big, heavy trellis to support these plants, or try growing them over a pergola for a shady seating area.

Name Type Size Exposure Comments
American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) Woody vine 15 to 20 ft. Full sun to part shade Cold-hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8; heat-tolerant in AHS zones 9 to 1; showy red-orange berries in fall; may reseed but not invasive like its cousin, Chinese bittersweet (C. orbiculatus); need a male and female to produce fruit
Grape (Vitis hybrids) Woody vine 8 to 20 ft. Full sun to part shade Most cultivars are cold-hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9; heat-tolerant in AHS zones 9 to 1; high maintenance if grown for fruit production, but can be grown as an ornamental that produces some fruit; large leaves may turn red-purple in fall
Hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) Tender perennial 10 to 20 ft. Full sun to part shade Usually grown as an annual, although cold-hardy in USDA zones 10 and 11; heat-tolerant in AHS zones 12 to 1; rose-pink or white flowers are followed by glossy red seed pods; grows quickly and will cover a trellis in a season
Rose (Climbing or rambling rose hybrids like ‘Lady Banks’ or ‘Climbing Cecile Brunner’) Shrub 10 to 20 ft. Full sun Most climbing roses are cold-hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9 with protection; heat-tolerant in AHS zones 9 to 1, roses need to be tied to a structure
Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) Woody vine 6 to 20 ft. Full sun Cold-hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9; heat-tolerant in AHS zones 9 to 1; fragrant scarlet and yellow flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies
Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) Woody vine 25 to 40 ft. Full sun to part shade Cold-hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9; red, orange or yellow trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds; large and heavy vine that needs a sturdy support; can spread aggressively
Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) Woody vine 25+ ft. Full sun Cold-hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9; heat-tolerant in AHS zones 9 to 1; grapelike clusters of fragrant white or purple blooms are more reliable in warm winter areas; large, heavy vine that needs sturdy support
Published: May 2, 2012
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