The Top 5 Climbing Plants For Your Vinyl Pergola | Plastic Lumber Yard

Although pergolas are a beautiful structure in their own right, each one can frequently be enhanced by the addition of a climbing plant. Plants help to provide additional shade, a pleasant scent, and privacy. Thanks to nature, there are a wide variety of climbing plants to choose from in nearly every imaginable color!

How To Get Climbing Plants To Grow On A Pergola

Yes, the plants on this list will naturally climb, however, for best results, you may want to “train” your plant!

Although vinyl pergolas are frequently a superior alternative to wood pergolas, it can be difficult for plants to get a grip on the columns because there is no cracking, peeling, or splintering. Plant climbing can be encouraged by:

  • Using Twine: Wrap a fine, biodegradable twine around the columns. This gives vines something to hold onto as they naturally twist and grow. 
  • Using Nylon Stockings: As silly as it sounds, nylon stockings a great because they stretch, giving vines more surface area to grow on!
  • Using Stick On Hooks: No drill hooks are a great way to give vines something to hold onto without damaging the pergola. Some hooks are even strong enough to use for hanging potted plants.

These techniques can be used for each of the popular climbing plants that we go into in detail below!


Honeysuckle comes in nearly 180 species and can be found as both shrubs and cascading vines. Many of the varieties have flowers that produce a sweet nectar that is actually edible! However, always avoid eating any berries produced by a honeysuckle plant as the berries can be poisonous. 

Blooming from May to late summer, the sweet scent of honeysuckle is likely to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your outdoor space!

Honeysuckle is tolerant of many soil types, making it an easy to grow plant. Homeowners in U.S. zones 4 – 9 will typically have the best luck growing honeysuckle. Most species do prefer full sun but will sometimes thrive in partial shade. 

A final note on honeysuckle – some varieties are considered invasive. Lonicera japonica, also known as Japanese honeysuckle, is one of those varieties. Many regions have honeysuckle that is native to that region and these varieties should be considered before non-native species. 


Nearly everyone knows what Wisteria is! This spectacular vining plant has large clusters of lilac-colored blooms that typically emerge in spring.

American Wisteria and Kentucky Wisteria are great native alternatives to Asian Wisteria species, which are considered invasive. 

Wisteria is a long-lived plant and if planted from seed, it may take years for the vines to reach full maturity. Seeds and young plants should be planted in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Pruning is required each year, with the removal of at least half the previous year’s growth considered optimal. 

Vinyl pergolas, like those available at Plastic Lumber Yard, are the optimal platform on which to grow Wisteria as the plants can become quite heavy! Without an exceptionally sturdy structure capable of bearing the weight, damage may occur.


Bougainvillea isn’t for every garden, although many homeowners wish it was! Best grown in the Southern U.S., some varieties of this gorgeous climbing plant can reach nearly 40 feet tall if left unchecked! Flowers, which can be seen year-round in areas with a lot of rainfall, can be found in magenta, light pink, purple, white, orange, and red. 

Homeowners who don’t live in zones 9b and 10 can usually still enjoy bougainvillea as an indoor plant. 

Climbing Roses

If you love roses, climbing roses might be the right choice for your pergola! Available in dozens of colors, the climbing rose can be planted at the base of the pergola, and its long canes secured to the pergola to encourage vertical growth. 

Mature plants are lush and thick, producing numerous blooms that fill the air with fantastic floral scents. 

Roses do require a bit more care than other plants. Regular feeding with fertilizer for roses is recommended every 4 weeks. 

It’s best to research which variety of climbing rose is best for the zone that you live in as some are more suitable than others. 


Clematis is actually part of the buttercup family! With more than 300 different species, you’ll be sure to find a variety of clematis that you’ll love. 

Clematis comes in a wide range of colors, flower shapes, heights, and flowering times of the year. Many gardeners mix varieties, ensuring a pop of color throughout the year. 

Soil that is well-drained and rich. Providing shade for the roots is important and can typically be achieved by planting low sitting plants at the roots. If planting seeds, you likely won’t see flowers until year two or three, as the plant needs to establish itself in the first year.

For Best Results Consult A Plant Nursery

Every outdoor space will have challenges for gardeners. If you have difficulty growing climbing plants around your pergola, consider contacting a local plant nursery for their advice. 

If you visit the plant nursery and come home with some non-climbing plant additions, consider a new planter box from Plastic Lumber Yard.

Happy gardening!

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