Hanging Plants From A Vinyl Pergola

White pergola with curtains, growing plants and a table.
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-300
What You'll Need
Hanging plants
Hanging wire
Plastic tubing
Adhesive-backed rubber stripping
Misting device
What You'll Need
Hanging plants
Hanging wire
Plastic tubing
Adhesive-backed rubber stripping
Misting device

Hanging plants from a vinyl pergola allows your garden to take a vertical leap. Vertical gardening is a particularly effective method for providing shade. A vinyl pergola provides built-in support for hanging plants and for growing climbing vines. You can “train” climbing vines to cover a trellis or lattice work side while also trailing over the top of your vinyl pergola for extra added shade.

Step 1 - Select Sun-Loving or Shade-Tolerant Vines

You can train some sun-loving vines like bougainvillea to grow on the trellis of the side walls or around the posts to provide an edge to the vinyl pergola. Train a substantial leafy vine like wisteria across the pergola top to create a great deal of shade below.

You can select from a few shade-tolerant vines, such as ivy, that can enhance the pergola space. Keep an eye on the ivy so it doesn’t take over.

Step 2 - Select Shade-Loving Plants for Hanging Baskets

pergola attached to back of a house

Choose plants for hanging baskets that are shade-tolerant or shade-welcoming, plants such as staghorn fern and selected orchids. These are called epiphytes. They require a misting device in their vicinity but are well suited to shade. Some other plant varieties that take well to the shade include:


Bottlebrush buckeye


Common witch hazel

Highbrush cranberry

Japanese kerria

Korean spice

Large fothergilla


New Jersey tea

Oakleaf hydrangea

Red osier dogwood

Shrubby St. John's wort

Smooth hydrangea

Sweet pepperbush

Virginia sweetspire


Step 3 - Add Color

Suspend hanging baskets with pops of bright-colored foliage to add depth and texture at a visitor’s eye level. Varied hanging plants can also create a focal point in your garden.

Step 4 - Hang Containers Correctly

Hanging containers will move freely in the wind. Make sure they do not swing into one another or the pergola. Thread the basket's hanging wire through a piece of vinyl tubing. Take the hanging chain up through the top of the tube and attach it to one of the pergola rafters. The stiff tubing will encourage less swinging on a windy day.

Step 5 - Attach Bumper Guards

hanging baskets

Attach adhesive-backed rubber pieces (available in the fabric section of your local department store) to the bottoms of hanging plants. The rubber bumpers will prevent the plant holders from cracking one another (important if you use traditional clay pottery). Place a “ring collar” of rubber bumper around the bottom edge of the clay pot.

Step 6 - Construct Side Rails

Measure the distance between neighboring hanging plants and cut plastic tubing to this length. Insert hard wire through the tubing (like clothes hanger wire) that you can bend to attach over the sides of both adjoining plant containers to prevent these from colliding. You can easily remove and replace these side rails when weather conditions dictate.

Substitute hard plastic with heavy cardboard tubing from the bottom rail of a clothes hanger.