Vines are the wild animals of a landscape. They want to be all over the place, restricting their neighbors and generally causing trouble. Gardening lattice and trellis says to them, "Stand up and behave yourself." They are available in wood, vinyl, wrought iron, aluminum and even string. Each has its benefits and drawbacks.
Matching a Plant To a Trellis
Vines that climb by twining or by latching on with tendrils require some sort of trellis for support. The trellis material should be based on the specific plant it will support. Wisteria can break a wooden trellis in two, and it's even been found to bend some metal. Vines also grow to be different lengths. Choose a vine that grows too big and you'll have to prune it daily to keep it on your trellis. Choose one that's too small and your trellis will look naked.
A plant's lifespan could play a big part in how much you invest in a trellis. Climbing beans, Moon Flowers and many tropical vines are annuals. They don't require a trellis that holds up longer than a year, so bamboo would work. Evergreen vines and perennials like the Lady Banks Rose should have something sturdy enough to last for years.
The Lifespan of a Trellis
Trellis materials weather differently, and your geographical location could impact that greatly. Those who want a tough, long-lasting trellis might go for wrought iron. If you live near the beach, aluminum, vinyl or wood would be preferable to avoid rust. If your garden is in a damp shaded area, vinyl can grow unattractive mold and mildew, so you should select something else. The bottom line is that the trellis that looks great in the store may be an eyesore in your climate.
A garden's aesthetic will determine the style of trellis you choose. Lattice, a crisscross design typically found in wood or vinyl, has a cottage feel. Lots of intricate scroll work has a romantic quality. Whether your style is old-fashioned or modern, your trellis should coordinate.
If you're unsure about your garden's style, look at your home and furniture. Is it Mission style or Asian? Is your house contemporary or do you live in a log cabin? A trellis is just like a lamp or sofa. You want it to integrate well with your other pieces.
Breaking With Convention
Many people choose found objects and turn them into trellises. A small dead tree can be painted and used to support Clematis. Ladders are also quite commonly used. The next time you're walking through a flea market, consider old road signs, chairs and lamp posts. Your garden will be original and filled with personality.
Use Caution To Avoid Invasive Vines
Plants have a way of being passed from person to person. Unfortunately, they don't always come with detailed information on their growth habits. Many vines are invasive and will quickly overstep the boundaries that your trellis so neatly sets. According to Invasive.org, there are over 100 species of invasive vines in North America. Do your best to identify a plant before allowing it to take hold in your yard.