How To Choose Trellis Plants

pink roses growing on a trellis

Choosing what plants to grow on your garden trellis is a matter of knowing what types of plants grow best on a structure and what kinds of plants will thrive in your garden area. Trellises are constructed of all kinds of different materials, including wood lattice, metal wrought iron and rustic bamboo.

Trellis Plants

A trellis structure is generally an upright fixture that provides a vertical frame for plants. The best kinds of trellis plants are climbing or clinging plants like clematis, jasmine, beans or morning glories, which have vines that affix to the trellis as they grow upward.

Some plants will need to be helped along by weaving the vine into the trellis so that they remain attached. In this case, small hooks can be used to attach the plant or you can manually weave the vine or plant in and out of the trellis latticework.

Occasionally, gardeners will plant a tree or other plant to espalier or fan out on a trellis. This method of trellis use requires a great deal of patience and effort to constantly prune and train tree branches to grow along the lines of the trellis.

Choosing Plants

Like selecting any plant for your garden, you will want to choose trellis plants that will grow in your climate and in the garden location you have chosen. One source for finding appropriate plants is to consult one of the Sunset garden books for your region. These excellent resources provide information on geographic grow zones, climates and the many plant choices available. It also has a section on climbing plants and how to grow trellis plants.

Decide if you want to grow a decorative flowering plant, a vegetable or a fruit plant. You may also consider blending several different kinds of plants. For example, you can grow a beautiful floral plant and install smaller planters to hang from the trellis that have strawberries growing in them. Alternatively, if you place your trellis in a planter, you can grow tomatoes in front of the trellis (and install smaller metal frame trellises to support the tomatoes) and beans or another clinging vine plant that compliments other surrounding plants.

Choose plants that share a similar need for sun and soil conditions, including water. For example, it would be very difficult to grow a plant that needs a large amount of sun in the same planter as one that thrives only in shade.

Training the Plants

Once you choose your plants, place them so that they grow on the trellis. Dig a hole large enough to set the plant in place and to include adequate plant food and nutritional supplements for the plant. The best place to set the plants is near the stakes that are inset in the ground or soil of the planter.

As the plants begin to grow, carefully pull the vines and stems up along the structure of the trellis. At least once a week, continue to work the vines so that they begin to automatically attach to the trellis.

There are many different kinds of garden and outdoor trellis structures that you can use for growing climbing plants in your garden. Some of the most popular forms include rustic bamboo trellis structures, wood trellises and copper or metal trellises. When choosing plants, consider the appearance of your garden, what kinds of plants will thrive in your garden and how much sun and water will be available for the plants.