If you’ve just had a pergola erected in your garden, or you already have one but it’s looking bare and badly needs some plant cover, you’ll be wondering which plants are the best to grow on it.
Here, we’ve provided a selection of 14 beauties for you to choose from that will compliment not only your new pergola but also log cabins and other garden features that need a touch of life and beauty.
Because it blooms abundantly – flowers appear from early spring – clematis is one of the most spectacular pergola plants. It grows easily and can be combined with other plants like the climbing rose.
- Climbing Rose
A climbing rose is a classic. These uniquely special plants with their gorgeous colours and scent produce feelings of romance, nostalgia, and tranquillity. The climbing varieties make a wonderful show and are the perfect covering for a pergola.
Jasmine has one of the most intense flowers with a fragrance that you can smell from a great distance. You could plant both cultivars for summer and winter flowering. Jasminum officinale, or summer jasmine, is perfect for a sunny, sheltered spot in the milder regions of the UK, while the bright yellow flowers of Jasminum nudiflorum, or winter jasmine, will brighten up your pergola at a time when little else is in flower.
- Trumpet Vine
The trumpet vine with its yellow, red and orange flowers, attracts bees, hummingbirds and other insects. It’s a wonderful plant for a pergola and grows best in full or part sun.
As soon as dusk sets in, you can smell the gorgeous fragrance of honeysuckle flowers. It’s a quick-growing vine and you only need to plant one to cover a big sturdy pergola. There are 180 different types and almost all of these are creepers.
- Passion Flower
The passion flower is a beautiful dark, green-leafed climber suitable for outdoor growing in milder regions of the UK. Its scent, colourful flowers and delicious edible fruit make it a very popular pergola planting.
Wisteria is an English classic. The soft lavender colour (or white) and its subtle sweet fragrance make it a favourite in the garden. Although it’s an aggressive grower, it takes some time to become established. You can grow wisteria on a wall or on a large, sturdy pergola. But keep an eye on it as you’ll need to prune regularly to control its growth.
Related to the trumpet vine, the bignonia is another gorgeous climber. It’s a fairly vigorous plant with delicate bell-shaped flowers that look great on a pergola. It can tolerate mild to moderate frost and grows best in a sunny protected spot.
Perfectly suited to pergolas, there are many climbing varieties of bougainvillea and they come in an assortment of vivid colours, ranging from reds, yellows, pinks, and purples and many more. These are hardy plants that love a warm sunny position, but do not like to get their feet wet.
- Golden Hops
The bright and cheerful yellow-green foliage of the golden hops and the fact that it grows at a very fast pace, quickly covering up pergolas, makes this climbing plant very popular. It’s a hardy vine that can grow in cold areas and reach up to 30 feet long without any difficulty. It also doesn’t need much care and maintenance.
- Climbing Hydrangea
This vigorous climber is best grown in partial shade in a moist but well-drained soil, enriched with well-rotted organic matter. The hydrangea vine has shiny, heart-shaped foliage and wonderfully fragrant white flowers that appear in clusters in spring and last right through the summer. Be careful with this vine because it’s slow-growing and needs training and pruning.
If you’re after a low maintenance, lush green plant for your pergola you can’t go wrong with ivy. Although it prefers the shade, it can tolerate some sun and put up with the vagaries of the British weather. There are also some lovely variegated varieties of ivy.
- Morning Glory
One of the most popular vines to grow on a pergola is the morning glory. It needs a sheltered warm spot but rewards well with lovely showy flowers. This plant, which is easy to grow but is a little frost tender, perks up quickly and greets the morning sun with its pretty deep blue or purple blooms. It’s a good plant to cover up a pergola that’s situated in a sheltered, sunny position.
- Grape Vine
A grapevine, although sometimes a little messy, is great for a pergola and grows in a variety of climates. This plant is one of the best climbers, and it not only gives you a shady and warm spot to sit under but also provides you with a crop of delicious grapes.