The Best Vertical Garden Plants for Climbing Any Trellis or Wall

Dutchman's Pipe growing around window
Photo: Bob Stefko

Vertical gardens are one of the hottest garden trends and yet they are one of the oldest. Bringing these popular plants upward is a superb solution for just about any garden.

01 of 20


Clematis growing in field
Bob Stefko

Perennial clematis varieties prefer to have their flowers in sun and their roots in shade. With many shapes and colors, these vertical plants look striking climbing any kind of structure. Some varieties have a pleasant fragrance and attract birds and butterflies.

02 of 20

American Wisteria

American Wisteria hanging on wood
Denny Schrock

Woody perennial vine American wisteria loves the sun and can grow to be 30 feet long. Featuring compound leaves and light purple blooms, this variety blooms in late spring. The showy flowers are fragrant and attract butterflies.

03 of 20

American Bittersweet

Close up of American Bittersweet
Peter Krumhardt

American bittersweet has a woody stem and pale green blooms in the early summer. This climbing vine also features red berries in the fall. These berries attract birds and persist through the cold to add interest to any winter garden.

04 of 20

English Ivy

English Ivy
Bob Stefko

Shade-loving English ivy is a fast-growing woody vine that can reach up to 100 feet! Its evergreen leaves add interest to walls, fences, and trellises year-round. Don't plant English ivy in an area where it could climb a tree—the dense foliage blocks sunlight to the tree, eventually killing it.

05 of 20

Cardinal Climber

Cardinal Climber on fence
Michael Garland

Like most annual vines, cardinal climber prefers to be in full sun. This easy-growing vine bears masses of scarlet-red flowers that look like miniature morning glories from summer to frost. These gorgeous red flowers are favorites for hummingbirds.

Editor's Tip: The seeds of cardinal climber are poisonous if ingested.

06 of 20


Mandevilla going through wood lattice
Edward Gohlich

Among the garden's most elegant vines, mandevilla offers stunning trumpet-shape flowers in shades of pink, white, or red. It's the perfect vertical garden plant for creating a lush, tropical look. All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested, so keep it away from pets and kids.

07 of 20


Close up of white Moonflower
Doug Hetherington

Moonflower's large, trumpet-shape flowers unfurl in the evening and stay open until the sun rises. Several varieties of moonflower also give off a lemon fragrance when its flowers are open. Moonflower vines climb 15 feet or more and grow best in full sun.

08 of 20

Scarlet Runner Bean

Scarlet Runner Bean growing on pole
Kritsada Panichgul

Scarlet runner bean is known for its quick growth and large seeds. This vine produces red-orange flowers throughout the summer and attracts hummingbirds. It can climb 10 feet or more and grows best in full sun.

09 of 20

Morning Glory

Purple Morning Glory on pergola
Mark Kane

This fast-growing vine produces colorful blooms in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white. Some varieties of morning glory offer extra appeal with bicolored flowers or white-variegated foliage. As its name implies, the flowers only open in the morning. The vine climbs to 15 feet or more and grows best in a sunny spot.

10 of 20

Purple Hyacinth Bean

Purple Hycinth Bean growing on fence
Jay Wilde

Purple hyacinth bean offers fragrant, lavender-colored flowers all summer long. These blooms become stunning burgundy-purple seedpods. The foliage is often tinged with purple. The vertical plant can climb to 15 feet or more and grows best in a sunny spot. In frost-free areas, hyacinth bean can be a reliable perennial vine.

11 of 20

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Black-Eyed Susan vine on pole
Marty Baldwin

One of the cheeriest annual climbers, black-eyed Susan vine produces many yellow, orange, white, or apricot blooms though the summer. They are known for their dark centers, as indicated in the name. Black-eyed Susan vine can grow 6 feet or more and grows best in full sun.

12 of 20


Grape vines on wooden fence
Edward Gohlich

Common grapes are grown for fruit production in home fruit gardens, but do have ornamental value as well. Bright summer foliage features some fall color. When allowed to climb, grapes can be year-round attraction in the garden.

13 of 20


Kiwi vine small fruit on wood
Laurie Black

Kiwi vines are perfect for growing over an arbor or pergola, as they will cast deep shade on the area below. It takes several years for a newly planted vine to come into production, but the wait is worth it. The vine features white blooms that precede the fuzzy brown fruits.

14 of 20


Nasturtium vine on wooden fence
Stephen Cridland

Nasturtiums grow easily from seed sown directly in your garden's poorest soil and blooms all season until frost. Train climbing varieties up trellises or alongside fences for a colorful, vertical element to your garden. The leaves and flowers are both edible.

15 of 20


Hops growing on vine
Bob Stefko

Hops is widely grown as a key ingredient in beer making, but this perennial vine is also beautiful, making it an excellent vertical garden design idea. The lime-colored seed heads add texture and color to any garden. Hops is generally low maintenance and does well in partial sun when used ornamentally.

16 of 20

Pole Bean

Pole bean growing in garden
Robert Cardillo

Also known as green beans, this vining plant has varieties with beans in many colors, shapes, and sizes. Pods may be green, yellow, purple, or even speckled. Pole beans do well on a pole, stake or tripod, and can grow up to 15 feet.

17 of 20


Juniper growing in spiral
Bob Stefko

Junipers are interesting evergreens for several reasons. Their foliage has a delicate texture that adds interest. Some have small, sharp needles; others have scalelike leaves; some have both. They also come in multiple shades, from chartreuse to a silvery-blue. They can be used for topiaries or hedges to add height.

18 of 20


Arborvitae in a row
Bob Stefko

These slow-growing trees create dense evergreen foliage that can provide privacy and height in the garden. Some varieties take on a bronze cast in the fall and winter, so be selective when picking an Arborvitae variety to plant in your yard. These trees stand up well to trimming and can be made into whimsical topiary plants.

19 of 20

Climbing Hydrangea

Climbing Hydrangea on white lattice
Matthew Benson

This big vine produces large clusters of white flowers against rich, dark green foliage. Climbing hydrangeas grow by producing aerial roots that grow into walls, fences, or even up the side of a large tree. They prefer shade and are generally drought tolerant.

20 of 20

Dutchman's Pipe

Dutchman's Pipe growing around window
Bob Stefko

An adaptable vine, Dutchman's pipe seems to thrive just about everywhere and in any light. It creates a rich curtain of big, heart-shape leaves that usually hide the fragrant summertime flowers. This low-maintenance vine grows to 20 feet or more, and rarely attracts pests.

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