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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Suggested Climbers for Speedy Coverage:

Annual climbers
Eccremocarpus scaber (Chilean glory flower) Ferny leaves, spikes of tubular orange flowers.
Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet pea) Strongly scented flowers in many colors.
Rhodochiton (Purple bell vine) Tubular purple flowers with mauve-pink calyces all summer.
Thunbergia (Black-eyed Susan vine) Heart-shaped leaves and black-centered orange flowers from summer to autumn.

Fast-growing climbers
Clematis montana ('Rubens') Masses of pink flowers in late spring.
Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston ivy) Ivy-like leaves, brilliant crimson in autumn. This climber has suckers, so it is suitable only for brick or stone.
Passiflora caerulea (Passionflower) Intricate flowers from summer into autumn, then orange fruits.
Solanum crispum ('Glasnevin') Purple star-shaped summer flowers. Evergreen in mild areas.

Taking Care of Your Planting

It is important to note a plant's preferred site and conditions before you make your selection to ensure your proposed position fulfills its basic requirements. Once planted, all climbing plants require some routine maintenance to keep them healthy and to control their growth.

Lilac Solanum is a Summer DelightEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Climbers produce a lot of growth from a small root ball, so they need regular watering and feeding. A thick layer of organic mulch, such as composted bark, compost, or rotted manure, will help retain moisture and keep the roots cool, something that is especially important for all clematis, whose roots must be kept shaded, even when the top growth prefers sun. Evergreen climbers tend to be neater than deciduous plants and have the advantage of few fallen leaves to deal with.

Campsis, Trumpet VineEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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