19 Best Pergola Plants | Climbing Plants for Pergolas and Arbors

Checkout 19 best pergola plants for your garden. These climbing plants for pergolas and arbors can also be grown in small gardens easily.

best pergola plants

There are so many climbing plants that can be guided over a pergola to get a welcome shade in warm weather. For your help, here we have listed 19 best pergola plants. This list is a combination of both tropical and temperate vines.

Best Pergola Plants

Rose

rose on pergola

Roses are classic. They are the favorite plants of most gardeners as they produce a feeling of being special, tranquility, nostalgia, romance, and happiness. Climbing varieties are perfect to cover a pergola and arches.

Clematis

climbing plants for arbors

Surely, one of the best pergola plants. Clematis is a spectacular vine as it blooms abundantly, flowering usually starts from spring. You can grow it easily and combine with other plants, especially with climbing roses to get a more exquisite view.

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle on pergola

The fragrance of honeysuckle flowers is nostalgic and multiplies when dusk sets. It has more than 180 different species, almost all are creepers. It is a very large vine that grows rapidly, a single honeysuckle plant can cover up a big sturdy pergola easily.

Passion Flower (Passiflora)

Passion flower vine

Passion flower is a beautiful fast growing, hardy perennial in tropics. The heady fragrance, colorful flowers, and edible fruits make it one of most desirable climbing plant you can have in your garden. You can also grow it on your balcony, rooftop or patio garden. Growing passion flower is easy if you live in the subtropical or tropical climate (USDA Zone 8 – 11). If you live in the temperate region then look for its cold hardy cultivars. In very cool climate you can grow it as annual.

Jasmine

jasmine on pergola

Surely, jasmine is the most intense flower. Its fragrance can be smelt from far-far away. So if you love fragrant plants, grow it. In warm and humid climates jasmine blooms year round. In cooler zones, grow it as annual.

Grape Vine

grape vine of pergola

Truly one of the best climbing plants for pergolas, grape vine will not only give shade and a warm sitting place but juicy grapefruits too. You can grow this in a variety of climates. Grapevine varieties are native to Mediterranean, Central Asia, America and South West Asia, thus cultivars available diversely. Here’s an interesting article on training grapevine on arbor, which you can read.

Wisteria

Wisteria on pergola

Lavender blue color of wisteria flowers and the sweet fragrance is fascinating. However, wisteria is an aggressive grower but it takes the time to establish. You can grow wisteria in temperate and subtropical regions (USDA Zones 4 – 9).  If you have a large sturdy pergola grow wisteria on it, you’ll need to prune regularly to control its growth.

Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)

climbing plants for arbors

Due to its showy trumpet-shaped flowers, it is called trumpet vine. Each of trumpet vine flowers can appear in different colors (orange, yellow or red). The flowers attract pollinators: bees, and hummingbirds. This plant looks great on the arches, pergolas, and trellises. It grows best in full sun to part sun.

Bignonia (Cross Vine)

Crossvine on pergola

Another beautiful climber, related to trumpet vine. Its delicate bell-shaped flowers look great on pergolas. It is a fairly vigorous plant and tolerates mild to moderate frost, grows best in USDA Zones (6 – 9). You can also try growing it in tropics (Zone 10) in shade from afternoon sun.

Ivy

boston ivy on pergola

For the arbors, pergolas, and gazebos situated in shade, ivy is best. It is low maintenance and tolerates the exploits of weather and provides lush green color. You can also choose variegated varieties.

Bougainvillea

bogainvillia

The climbing varieties of bougainvillea are suitable for the pergolas. This plant loves the sunny position and does not like wet feet. Among the most frequently cultivated colors are pink, red, yellow and purple but it comes in many other colors too.

Morning glory

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A vine that greets the morning sun with its pretty blooms. Morning glory vine is fairly easy to grow and it perks up quickly. A good plant to cover up a pergola that is in a sunny position.

Kiwi

kiwi on pergola

A kiwi vine takes a lot of space to grow that is why it is one of the best pergola plants in our list. In order to get fruits from the kiwi plant, you’ll need to have both male and female plants for pollination.

Sweet pea

Cape Sweet Pea on pergola

Don’t grow bush type varieties if you are growing it over the pergola. Plant sweet peas in the sun and in a well-drained soil. Grow sweet peas in warm zones in fall and winter. In temperates plant this fragrant vine in spring or summer.

Bleeding heart

bleeding heart vine for pergola

If you’re searching for a climber for shade, bleeding heart is one. Its beautiful heart shaped flowers looks exotic. This plant requires moist soil and a location that receives partial sun. Bleeding heart is suitable for cold temperate climates and can be grown in USDA Zones 3 – 9.

Tropical Bleeding Heart (Glory Bower)

bleeding-heart-vine on pergola

Exquisite flowers and dark glossy foliage. The tropical bleeding heart vine is native to Western Africa, its flowers resemble the bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis), see above. Both have different requirements and tropical bleeding heart thrives well in heat and warmth (USDA Zones 10 – 11). *You can also grow it as a houseplant.

Butterfly Pea

butterfly pea

Butterfly pea flowers are the best food source for butterflies. It is a legume and both flowers and seed pods are edible. The most attractive thing about butterfly pea vine is its shiny deep blue flowers. Butterfly pea is a tropical vine and grows best in USDA Zones 10 and 11. In a cold temperate zone, grow this perennial as annual.

Golden Hops

Humulus lupulus

A fast growing vine that quickly covers up the trellises, pergolas, and arches. Golden hops can grow up to 8 m long without any difficulty. What makes it beautiful is its lime green or yellowish foliage. It is a low maintenance cold hardy vine (USDA Zones 4 – 8), not suitable for warm climates.

Climbing Hydrangea

climbing hydrangea vine

Growing climbing hydrangea vine is rewarding due to its glossy heart-shaped foliage and fragrant white flowers that appear in clusters in spring to summer. It is a slow grower and requires training and pruning. You can grow climbing hydrangea if you live in the colder region within USDA Zones 5 – 8.

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Checkout 19 best pergola plants for your garden. These climbing plants for pergolas and arbors can also be grown in small gardens easily



53 COMMENTS

  1. i need some names of plants that can tolerate heat (40 and over) in summer and cold in winter(frost), can you please help thx

    • Hi, it would be better if you were clearer? 40 Fahrenheit or Celsius? Also, please tell us the zone your area falls into?

        • Rude and unnecessary. 40 Celsius is about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Mentioning 40 and cold winter frost just sets up a confusing argument which is why the admin asked what zone. Sure you can always make assumptions but ass is always in assumption.

  2. i was surprised to see bleeding heart on this list….i have never seen bleeding heart climb anything…only seen it as a small bushy plant that dies back late summer and fall….i noticed there wasnt a picture of it climbing…is this a mistake?…i will google it to see if i can find pictures of a climbing variety…i love them and have a couple.

  3. Advice for growing my clematis as beautiful and full as that? Located within Zone 6.
    I have a bare wall on the side of my house and thought about finding some sort of climbing plant to fill the empty space. Ideas would be appreciated!

    • I’ve grown many varietys but the only prolific ones were purple, single blossom types like mr president and jackmanni. My lawn guy kept mowing over the two, and you’ll need two to really cover..and I thought it would kill it, but trimming the dead vine to the ground in spring just made it lusher! That’s when I learned about what the Brits talk about in gardening..cutting plants to about a foot from the ground to rejuvenate them in spring. I’ve killed a few butterfly bushes cutting too early, but once, in zone three..I move a lot..I ‘stooped’ an entire ‘spirea, bridal wreath’ that had been crushed with snow, and it recover more beautiful than ever. Of course I give it gentle fertilizer through out. Good luck!

  4. Megan – a climbing rose pairs well with a clematis. Use a sturdy trellis against the wall. Plant New Dawn Rose and Jackmanii at the base of the trellis.

    • Hi Linda, due to mild winters you can grow many tropical vines. Madagascar jasmine and Rangoon creeper will do well. If you can find Indian clock vine (Thunbergia mysorensis), which is an absolute show stopper and one of the most beautiful vines, it grows well in warm climates.

  5. I would be careful with trumpet vine. Yes, it is beautiful. I have one growing on an arch and it makes for a magnificent display in the summer. However, it is highly invasive, and you will find it popping up everywhere, including your neighbors’ yards. Just be sure you keep it off your house, because it will quickly find its way beneath your siding, in your crawl space, and anywhere else it can find an opening.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Cheryl! Every time I see trumpet vine on a list like this, I literally cringe!
      I took out a trumpet vine last spring & it was the best decision I’ve made in regards to landscaping my yard. It was growing vigorously up a repurposed 6′ telephone pole along the side of my garage (about a foot away) & over onto the roof of garage. I agree with one thing in this article: it WAS beautiful when blooming, but the damage it was doing to the siding & shingles, not to mention overtaking the rest of the plants in the bed it was planted in, choking out some gorgeous clematis, wasn’t worth keeping it. And when trimming or cutting back, the disc-like suckers it uses to climb vertical surfaces takes the paint off with it (if it’s against a painted surface). It’s extremely strong, too, and can find it’s way into cracks or between sections of siding or shingles, damaging whatever it can get into!
      Although I removed its main trunk, runners are still popping up from the ground, sometimes 10 feet away from the main trunk!
      I’ve yet to conclude what wreaks most havoc in my yard: the trumpet vine or the mulberry trees unintentionally planted courtesy of bird droppings, which will spring up anywhere and everywhere the little seed-filled bird poop lands!

    • Thank you for posting this …I hope it is read by many before any one plants this creeper. My neighbor has one growing on a trellis next to our fence line. I agree it is lovely and I enjoy the humming birds that come to nest but that is where the beauty ends. It has literally taken over my lawn. We mow and within a day long vines are popped up everywhere. I have tried to plant a vegetable garden but its useless. It gets overwhelmed by all the vines that pop up from this extremely invasive plant. I could not believe it was listed with out a warning.

  6. y’all, an excellent showstopper of a big billowy vine with racemes of purple pea-like flowers is dilochos lablab. there is a pink version, but people dont pass out at the sight of it. lablabs are annuals, dying back with frost where i live, southeast central oklahoma, zone 7b. but it grows like a crazy thing and blooms early. as i recall, it got to 8 or 9 feet, but my trellis was only 6 feet, so they may climb higher with support. they are twiners.
    the common name is purple hyacinth bean. you get plenty of viable seed for next year, and even as big as these are, enough will germinate with no attention from you that it might as well be a deciduous perennial. i am putting in raised beds with lattices and will sure enough have these again.

  7. i wish the author’s name showed on this page. I just got my mind changed about kiwi and jasmine, so back to the nursery catalogs.

    now i gotta have bignonia THIS year.

  8. What kind of vines or ground cover could you recommend to Las Vegas. REgion 9, something ever green with or without flowers. Thank you

  9. I have a 4th year clematis that I trimmed to about 2 feet for the winter and this year it has taken over my patio, went up the string trellis I made and up over the beams of the patio and has dropped towards the ground. What would happen if I cut the clematis that is laying on the ground off. Can it be propagated, or will cutting it off ruin the remaining plant.

    • Find an article on ‘layering! It’s healthy to cut some things back. That’s the secret to those lushe English gardens! Be brave.

  10. Make it 20 and add Dutchman’s Pipe. Awesome for covering a pergola, native to North America, and you’ll attract Pipeline Swallowtails!

  11. Please tell us which of these plants are actually invasive? I KNOW FOR A FACT that “Morning Glories” are.

    We live in Zone 5 (about an hour West of Chicago), and we loved them while we had our pool. But in the last 4 years, we are still pulling up Morning Glories.

    But I must say, they are GORGEOUS.

  12. Readers please do your research before purchasing ANY plant you don’t personally know.

    Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) species is extremely aggressive, i.e. a thug! Apparent the hybrid varieties are controllable.

    Morning glories don’t grow well until it gets hot, this annual dies in freezing temps but reseed themselves abundantly.

    Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is NOT a vine.

  13. Totally agree with morning glories being invasive, but beautiful. I have been trying to get rid if them for about 4 years and they kerp returning.

  14. The best place to get accurate, reliable information is your county extension office. They can offer plants suited to your climate, soil, and many other factors when growing. And it’s usually free.

  15. Hello. I reside in Los Angeles ,CA and for the past 3 yrs we’ve had some unusually cold and frosty winters. We had 4 potted honeysuckle at each corner of our pergola and lost one after last winter. By the time the plants have a chance to grow back nicely another winter hits so the plants never get a chance to grow onto and over the pergola. I’m thinking of replacing them with another flowering vine but not sure with what. Can u make some recommendations? My pots are approx 3′ h x 1′ w.

  16. They all look amazing! Climbing flowers have ups and downs. they look great, they keep shadow in a sunny place, they smell wonderful, but, they also collect ants and bees, and they could be very toxic, especially to pets and small children.
    Have a great day!

  17. Hello all, I’m glad this group is active as I’m in urgent need for advise. I live in Cairo Egypt and just bought a house with a pergola however the land is not cultivated yet so I’m starting from zero. I have never planted before so I would prefer something easy to maintain. One important factor is that Cairo is a desert like climate which means daytime is warm and nights are cool, it hardly rains. It has a long hot summer from May until October (reaches up to 40 Celsius) and a mild winter from November to April. Thanks in advance people.

  18. Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) would have merited this list as well. Ideal for the Gulf coasts, evergreen and produces near continual orange daisy like flowers. It is a twining vine cold hardy to zone 8 or 9 and excellent for humming birds, butterflies and other pollinators. It is also highly drought tolerant once established and grows about 20 feet in all directions. Great plant to send up a tall Palm tree trunk just don’t allow it to overtop the palm fronds and prune back to about 2m if you are expecting a hurricane. Propagates itself easily wherever it touches the ground and by air layering, mine is currently growing 3 inches per day at the end of September here in the most southern tip of Texas. Mine is being used as a nectar planting in conjunction with milkweeds for the Monarch and Queen butterflies. Reportedly this plant does well in the Arizona deserts so would likely be well suited to the Middle East(for Amr) with supplemental watering until it is well established.

  19. Is there anything for Zone 11 desert (with irrigation) that is evergreen but doesn’t need a supporting structure? I would like to use two trees, say for example laurels, and create an archway over my front entrance sidewalk. City bylaws prevent us from putting in anything structural over 5′ high so I was hoping to meld two tall evergreens together in a 10′ high archway and keep them trimmed.
    I had been thinking Jasmine because fragrance would be a bonus, but worry that they will not be tidy looking. They will take the heat though; up to 117F in the summer.

    • Pink Queen Ann’s Wreath grows well in Tucson and up to 100+ degrees. It will die back with a winter freeze but pops right back up in spring with an incredible show of flowers. I have it climbing a mesquite tree in my yard and it gets way up there and looks beautiful. It will also cover a wire fence or trellis nicely. It also comes in white. I believe it is native to Mexico. Good luck! Oh, it will draw bees, but I don’t mind that.

  20. This article has been wonderful. I’m in Northern California. Summers are Hot and winters have been freezing this last year. I have a white fence I want to cover. I was thinking Jasmin but just learned it toxic to dogs. I think honeysuckle is beautiful but seems some have had. It such great luck with it. Any suggestions for what vine could take the summer and winter but aren’t tonic to dogs or kids( I have 3 :) ) and angel good too !
    Thanks

  21. I must have been a Vineyard owner in a past life because I love “grapevines”! Their big green leaves are heaven to me. I’m more about greenery than flowers. Their growing on my chain link fence, pergola, across my back patio and Breakfast patio. And I have illuminated them all with c-9 clear christmas lights. It’s the perfect lighting. You can find my photos @ Pinterest, Hometalk, Houzz & or my Facebook. Just search my name Melody Wagner or Melody Drinkwater Wagner. I hope you enjoy the photos. <3

    • Morning glory. Its a beautiful vining plant that is very low maintenance and grows really fast. I live in Michigan and these grow very well here.

  22. Hi
    I believe I’m in zone 3. Swift Current SK Canada.
    My yard faces south. Well treed on south side.
    What r the best shade climbing plants, bushes and Hydrangea to plant?

  23. Just be sure whatever u grow it’s not a host plant for butterflies. Your beautiful vines will be gone. Like my passion vines.

  24. I am more interested in a climber which gives a dence shade during hot summer 45 + celsius and shead its leaves for cold winters 6 degree so that to enjoy the sun. Just like grapes but am looking for other alternatives

  25. BEWARE – Morning glories are a complete nightmare plant. It will take over your yard in a blink of the eye. I’ve heard it can grow 2 feet a day and it sends out shoots in every direction. I tried everything under the sun to get rid of them – every chemical – every suggestion – tried to cement over the root – EVERYTHING!!! Thankfully I moved away from that nightmare, the first thing I looked for in a new home was a lack of this type of plant. Good luck!

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