The Best Vines to Grow on Arches and Pergolas

Give your yard picturesque beauty by draping structures with beautiful, easy-growing vines.

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Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

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‘Zephirine Drouhin’ Rose

When it comes to climbing roses, ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ is one of the most versatile. It’s a thornless, shade-tolerant rose that unfurls deep pink blooms. Thorn-free canes make this a great rose to place on arches or pergolas over walkways or patios. ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ opens intensely fragrant flowers from spring to fall frost. This antique rose was officially introduced in France in 1873. Plants grow to 12 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

‘Crown Princess Margareta’ Rose

English roses unfurl blooms packed with petals, and ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ is no exception. Plants open flowers in shades of apricot orange, with buds appearing on plants all season long. English roses make great choices for growing on arches because they’re not too rambunctious and won’t topple an arch. At the same time, the canes bear flowers along stems from the soil up, creating a blossom-covered arch. Plants grow 9 to 11 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

Summer Cascade Wisteria

As the name suggests, this wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya ‘Betty Matthews’) bursts into flower in summer, typically June. This is a variety of a native vine known as Kentucky wisteria, which is not as aggressive as Chinese wisteria. Still, give this vine a strong support. It’s a perfect choice for a pergola over a patio. Plants grow 15 to 20 feet tall. Plant width is variable and really depends on the type of structure that supports the wisteria. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

Summer Cascade Wisteria Flower Cluster

Summer Cascade wisteria blossoms form on new stem growth each spring, which means that this wisteria blooms reliably in colder regions. Flowers open dark purple and fade to a pale lavender. When blooms die, they form a velvety seed pod that often stays on the vine into winter, adding another season of interest to this climbing beauty. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

‘Sweet Summer Love’ Clematis

‘Sweet Summer Love’ clematis unfurls flowers all summer long that exude a sweet fragrance. On hot humid days, the scent hangs in the air. Blossom open a cranberry hue and shift to purple as they age. Best of all, ‘Sweet Summer Love’ won’t invade your garden with unwanted seedlings (like its cousin, sweet autumn clematis). Vines grow 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide—a great choice for an entry arch or pergola over a patio. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

Trumpet Vine

A native plant, trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) is a fast-growing beauty that scales an arch or pergola in a season. It’s famous for trumpet blooms that unfurl in bold orange shades, although you can also find varieties with yellow or red flowers. Blooms are a magnet for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Trumpet vine stems can wander underground, invading planting beds and disrupting patios. It’s best planted not too close to buildings, but makes a perfect choice for training on a yard or garden entry arch or pergola. Prune vines hard in early spring. Plants grow 20 to 30 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9. Use caution planting trumpet vine in Zone 6 or warmer, where mild winters allow rampant (some say invasive) growth.

Tangerine Slice A-Peel Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Black-eyed susan vine (Thunbergia alata) takes on a new hue with Tangerine Slice A-Peel. The flowers on this variety unfurl in playful shades of orange and red. Black-eyed susan vine is a cinch to grow. It happily clambers up an arch and delivers non-stop blooms all summer long. This vine also adapts well to growing in pots on a tepee trellis. Give this beauty a spot in full sun, except in the Deep South, where afternoon shade is welcome. Butterflies and other pollinator insects visit blooms, adding to the color show. Plants grow 5 to 8 feet tall by 18 to 24 inches wide. Annual vine, hardy in Zones 10-11.

‘Cascade’ Hops Vine

Hops offers a nice ornamental form that works well in the garden on a pergola or strong, well-anchored arch. The flower, known as a cone, forms in late summer. This is the part you harvest to make beer. ‘Cascade’ hops (Humulus lupulus ‘Cascade’) is a disease-resistant vine that ripens cones used to make American pale ales. Pick cones in late summer, dry them in a warm, dark place, and freeze in airtight bags until you’re ready to brew your own craft ale. Undemanding hops vines are easy to grow. After vines die to the ground with frost, prune to ground level and wait for new growth to appear in spring. Vines can grow to 25 feet high in one season and up to 6 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

Honeybelle Honeysuckle

Bring on the color with Honeybelle honeysuckle. This beauty opens gold blossoms from late spring to fall frost. The first flush of flowers is the strongest, transforming the vine into a golden waterfall. After that, blooms continue to appear well into fall. Honeybelle is not an invasive honeysuckle, although it will form a few red berries. Give it a spot in full sun for best flowering, but it will bloom some in a part shade location. Honeysuckle covers an arch or pergola in one growing season, and flowers beckon hummingbirds and butterflies. Vines grow 10 to 20 feet tall by 3 to 5 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 3-8.

False Hydrangea Vine

False hydrangea earns its name because it unfurls flowers that resemble lacecap hydrangea blooms. This variety is sold as Rose Sensation (Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Minsens’) because the large petals (actually known as tepals) offer a deep, rose pink. Flowers appear in June and July. False hydrangea vine is a good choice for a part sun to part shade location—it’s often used in a woodland garden setting or north-facing garden. It’s a vigorous vine that’s well suited for trailing across a pergola or blanketing an arch with color. Vines grow 40 to 50 feet high and 6 to 9 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

‘The President’ Clematis

Romance blooms when ‘The President’ opens its deep purple blossoms. Expect the first flush of flowers in late spring to early summer, followed by a second blooming with smaller flowers in early autumn. Clematis with classic flower forms like ‘The President’ grow best in full sun to part shade. Prune in late winter or early spring, cutting vines back to 6 to 9 inches tall. Place cuts just above a pair of strong buds. Clematis grows well on a pergola, but flowers may unfurl across the top of the structure, out of sight. Instead, try planting clematis on an arch or fence so you can see the blooms. Deer- and rabbit-resistant plants grow 8 to 12 feet tall by 3 to 4 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

‘Yellow Wall’ Virginia Creeper

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a classic native vine heralded for its vivid red fall color. ‘Yellow Wall’ takes the native to a new place with leaves that turn a striking gold in autumn. This is a fast, easy-growing vine that does well in part to full sun. In the wild, Virginia creeper often scales trees as vines reach for the sun. In the garden, give it the sturdy support of a pergola or well-anchored arch. Avoid planting ‘Yellow Wall’ against a building, because it attaches directly to surfaces with organic holdfasts that are tough to remove. Plants grow 20 to 30 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9.

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