How To Train Vining Plants on a Trellis

How To Train Vining Plants on a Trellis

Are you looking for a charming, stylish way to bring color and wonderful fragrance to your garden? One of the easiest and most dramatic ways to make the best use of compact garden spaces is by growing plants on trellises. Garden trellises add structure and vertical height while increasing airflow and minimizing plant disease. There are a variety of flowering vines and climbing plants to choose from, as well as trellises to create the garden of your dreams!  

Whether you have an established garden, raised bed, porch, or deck, follow the tips below to get started. 

What is the purpose of your flowering vine? 

Vines are amazing for numerous things.  A few ideas include:  

Privacy walls or fence lines – providing shields or barriers 
Container interest  
Providing height and impact to your garden – arches, cages, wallscapes 
    Attracting wildlife 
    Providing color, fragrance, or edibles – flowers, grapes, peas, blackberries 

      Select a trellis or the shape you would like to train your flowering vine. 

      Obelisk trellises | Vining Plants   Garden trellises | Vining Plants

      Vines can be trained to grow on different shapes from obelisks, stand-alone frames, against a wall, arch, or arbor. Obelisks are great to use in containers and add height to your patio or landscape. We have many designs, materials (iron, wood, bamboo, aluminum), and sizes to choose from! Having a frame against a wall or the side of your house provides interest with a climbing flowering vine. Secure it very well so it does not rub against your wall. Classic arches or arbors require installation as deep into the ground as you can to provide sturdy support. Superb flowering vines that impress with their blooms and fragrance are:  

      Star Jasmine 
      Trumpet Vine 

      Create the ideal spot for your garden vine training.Clematis flowers on a trellis | Vining Plants   

      Choose a spot that provides the amount of sun the plant needs and is easy to water. Most vining plants require sun/PM shade. Mark the installation area of your trellis and dig a hole about 6-8 inches away from that spot. Plant the top of the root ball about 2”-3” under the top of the soil. Remember to water the plant immediately after planting.  Securely install your trellis according to the vendor’s instructions or ask your nursery expert.  

      Allow your vining plant to grow/mature a bit before training. Once your plant is established and there is enough growth to tie onto your trellis it is time to start training! Begin with the larger stems and tie them to the closest point on the trellis with fabric ties, twist ties, or plant ties. You will want to select something with some flexibility so that the plant is secure but has room to stretch and grow. Throughout the summer, tie up stems to continue training the plant where you want it to grow. If it is growing in the wrong direction, untie it and re-train the branches.  

      Maintenance such as pruning and fertilization varies with the type of vine and rate of growth. Some vines will need heavy annual pruning to keep them from appearing overgrown, while others will need occasional pruning to reduce size and direct growth. Newly planted vines may need minimal pruning to balance growth. Flowering vines tend to flower more abundantly on shoots that are trained horizontal rather than vertical. A one (1) cup annual spring application of general purpose fertilizer at the root base of the plant is suggested. 

      Bonus Tips! 

      Ensure the security of your trellis to protect from winds, inclement weather, or weight of the growing vines.  

      Clematis grow best when you trim them back every year after they are done blooming. The blooms come from new growth, which you want to push from the ground up. The first year they might not be as full but come the second year, they will impress. 

      Begin planting garden vines in the spring for berries and flowering plants. Plus, fall is best for grapes and and Clematis Snowdrift flowers.  

      Happy gardening! 


      • Louise

        I would love an article on rabbit-proof planting. Rabbits were unheard of a mere 5 years ago and now they run amok! They even eat my ferns down to nubs. What can I re-plant that will live to see a second season?

      • Ede Schmidt

        Excellent article. Do more articles ie plants/vines cling to wall or fence; best plants for containers; best plants for full sun, sun/pm shade, full shade.

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