Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria)

3 Climbers For Your Pergola

If you have a sunny little pergola-covered patio that needs some shade in summer, but there is no available space to plant a creeper in the ground, don’t be disheartened. We have three great climbers that will look stunning in large containers that give them room to grow well, and which will climb with ease along pillar and post. With time, good pruning and regular feeding and watering, they can turn into floriferous focal points.

Pandorea jasminoides ‘Rosea’ (bower plant) This willing bloomer is an evergreen climber that is dressed from bottom to top with lush dark green leaves on slender stems. The foliage provides a neat background to the panicles of tubular light pink flowers with striking dark pink throats which appear from late winter to midsummer. It needs a little help to grow upwards and for the stems to wrap themselves around a support at first. It flourishes in subtropical regions and will not tolerate wind or heavy frost. Pruning can be in the form of a light trim after flowering to neaten the plant and to prevent wayward stems. Feed during the summer months to ensure an abundance of flowers.

Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) Wisterias are vigorous, far-reaching climbers, but growth can be inhibited if they are planted in large containers. With regular pruning at the right time, you can even shape a wisteria into a little tree or standard form, only allowing the long top branches to climb over a pergola. The climber is deciduous with fresh green composite leaves sprouting in late winter and early spring, at the same time that the beautiful and fragrant light purple flowers hanging down in dense trusses appear. Wisterias grow best in temperate and cold climates and need regular watering. Feed plants in pots every six weeks from August to February.

Petrea volubilis (purple wreath) These are shrubby climbers with large, rough leaves and woody stems that can be semi-deciduous in cold climates but will remain evergreen in subtropical regions. It has two flowering seasons, one in spring to early summer and another in December and January. The flowers are long and drooping sprays of violet-blue starry flowers. This plant needs assistance with climbing, and if the bottom side branches are pruned away regularly after flowering it will form a characterful main stem. In the garden it needs moderate watering, but water regularly if grown in a pot. It will tolerate mild frost.

The Gardener