Choosing Plants for Arches and Pergolas

Add life to your arch or pergola with these suggestions for colorful and exotic climbing flowers.

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Rapid Coverage

Short-term cover may be provided by annual climbers, many of which have the added benefit of flower or fragrance; morning glories (Ipomoea) are a good example.

Heavenly Blue Morning Glory Good Choice for ArborEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Certain herbaceous climbers are useful for growing over simple structures near houses or in roof gardens, where the summer foliage will provide shade and shelter, but, in winter when the growth has died back, the bare structure allows more light into adjacent rooms. Hops (Humulus) is a fine example of such a climber.

Golden Hops Creeping VineEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

If fast coverage for screening is your priority, choose carefully: vigor can be a short-lived virtue. The infamous mile-a-minute vine (Fallopia baldschuanica) will undoubtedly cover a pergola extremely quickly, but it will soon engulf anything else growing nearby as well. Clematis montana or many of the honeysuckles, while fast growing, will be less invasive and much more attractive as well.

Evergreen climbers, such as Clematis armandii, are useful for giving both cover and privacy throughout the year.

Growing a number of climbers at once can guarantee year-round interest, but it is not always necessary to swamp an arch with climbers: sometimes a single specimen looks more effective. This is especially true of the white wisteria, Wisteria floribunda (also known as 'Alba'), whose long clusters of fragrant pea flowers hang down from overhead beams in an impressive display.

Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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