Types of Fragrant Climbing Plants
When choosing climbers to decorate arches and pergolas, fragrance is, for many people, the overriding criterion. Enduring images of rose-covered arbors, pergolas dripping with headily scented wisteria, or arches clothed in sweet-smelling honeysuckle are very appealing. There are others aside from these three classics, and not all of them require sunny conditions to do well.
Some Scented Favorites
Jasmine — especially Jasmine officinale f. affine, with pink flowers flushed white — is among the best pergola climbers for both fragrance and visual appeal. A twisting semi-evergreen, it gives a dense cover in sun and produces a strong, heady scent through summer. Clematis flammula is a vigorous, herbaceous clematis that needs cutting down every winter; however bare it is in the early months, the almond-scented white flowers in late summer and early autumn more than compensate. The chocolate vine, Akebia quinata, is an interesting, semi-evergreen, twining climber best in sun. Vanilla-scented reddish purple flowers appear in late spring and ripen to purple, sausage-shaped fruits.
Fragrant Climbing Roses
Roses in all forms are often chosen for their perfume. Happily, there is a huge selection of fragrant climbing roses, suitable for training over pergolas and arches. Particularly fine examples are Rosa 'Wedding Day' (extremely vigorous rambling rose with masses of repeat-flowering, creamy white blooms), R. 'New Dawn' (less vigorous, with strongly scented pale pink flowers), and R. 'Madame Alfred Carrière' (even paler pink, and suitable for shady areas).
More Fragrant Plants to Consider:
Actinidia kolomikta Twisting, with variegated leaves and small white summer flowers.
Clematis armandii (almond-scented) and C. montana 'Elizabeth' (vanilla-scented).
Lonicera Many, in particular L. x americana, L. x brownii 'Dropmore Scarlet', L. japonica 'Halliana', and L. periclymenum 'Serotina'.
Rosa Many, including R. 'Albertine', R. 'Compassion', R. 'Gloire de Dijon', and R. 'Zéphirine Drouhin' (thornless).
Trachelospermum jasminoides Creamy white, fragrant flowers in summer.
Wisteria Many, including W. x formosa and W. sinensis.