How to Build a Container Trellis

Transform a potted vine from a spillover creeper into a reach-the-sky climber when you give your plant a vertical structure to latch onto.

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Trellises make growing vines a cinch, and keeping plants off the ground (and in the air) makes them less susceptible to unwanted pests. Plus, there are countless places you can put your potted trellis: In the garden, on a patio, and dressing up an entrance are just a few options. We planted our container with tomatoes and basil, but use whatever climbing plant fits your needs.

Before You Start: Prepare the cedar strips in advance by soaking them in water for at least 12 hours to make them easy to bend. The cedar can be cut from screen molding. If you can't find cedar, you can use pine, oak, or poplar—just make sure to water-seal them.

The finial can be found at hardware and crafts stores. Some come with a screw on the end already, but if you're using one without a screw, you will need a hanger bolt (double-ended lag screw) that's 3/16x1-1/2 inches. This can also be purchased at a hardware store.

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What You Need

Materials

  • Six 1/4x5/8-inch cedar strips, cut to 4-foot lengths
  • 2 sets of wooden quilter's rings at least 14 inches in diameter
  • Wood glue
  • 1-inch-diameter dowel, cut to 3-inch length
  • 1 decorative wooden finial
  • 12 sets of 1-inch No. 8 bolts with nuts
  • 2-4 wood curtain rod rings to accommodate a 1-1/2-inch rod
  • 14- to 16-inch pot
  • Soil
  • Climbing plants

Tools

  • Drill
  • Screwdriver

Step 1: Prepare Quilter's Rings

Glue the outer and inner quilter's rings together and tighten the clamps firmly. Once the glue has dried, remove the clamps if necessary.

Step 2: Assemble and Attach Finial

Drill a hole at the center of the 3-inch dowel. If the finial has a screw in place, attach it to the predrilled dowel. If using the hanger bolt, drill a hole in the center of the base of the finial to insert the bolt before attaching the dowel.

Step 3: Attach Finial

Surround the dowel with the wet cedar strips, butting their ends up to the bottom of the finial. Slide the curtain rings up the bundled strips to secure it to the finial. Add as many rings as you like.

Step 4: Add Quilter's Hoops

Place the top of the finial on the ground so the open end of the cedar strips is facing up. Slide the first hoop inside of the strips, slowly working it up about 1-1/2 feet. One by one, feed the bottoms of the strips into the second hoop until they are all inside, and slide that hoop up about a foot. To repeat: The first hoop goes inside the strips and the second hoop goes on the outside the strips.

Step 5: Secure Assembly

When you have achieved the desired flare and rigidity, drill all the cross-sections of the cedar strips and quilter's hoops, finally securing with the bolts and nuts.

Tips to Growing Tomatoes in Containers

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