How to Plant a Trellis


To properly grow tomatoes, peas, climbing roses, honeysuckle, clematis or other vining garden plants and edibles, you need to install a trellis. Trellises take many forms, ranging from a basic wooden or metal grid to homemade trellises with wood or metal poles and wire, string or mesh bars. While planting a trellis before you establish your plant is easier, it's not impossible to carefully plant a trellis for an existing garden plant. Sink your trellis at any time of year you can work the ground.

Step 1

Measure the length between the legs on your trellis system so you can accurately dig planting holes. Measure out the same distance in your garden bed, marking the earth with a stick or your finger so you know where to dig the holes to plant the trellis. If you're constructing your own trellis with poles and wire, leave 5 to 6 feet between poles, advises the University of Minnesota.

Step 2

Dig holes for each leg of your trellis that are 8 to 10 inches deep and twice as wide as the trellis leg. Pull out any rocks or roots that will get in the way of the trellis.

Step 3

Place the trellis in the prepared holes. Stand it up so it's vertically straight and fill in the hole with soil. If you're creating your own trellis, work one pole at a time. Plant each pole in the soil before moving on to the next.

Step 4

Firm the soil around the trellis legs. Your trellis should be secure in the soil and standing vertically straight.

Step 5

Train your plant onto the trellis if you've already got a plant in that area. Move the plant tendrils onto the trellis frame. Tie the plant loosely to the trellis using string. As the plant grows, move new tendrils onto the trellis until they begin to cling of their own accord. At this point, remove the strings you used to tie early tendrils.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • Trellis
  • String (optional)


  • University of Minnesota: Trellises and Cages to Support Garden Vegetables
  • Washington State University: A Simple Trellis for Cucurbits
Keywords: trellis system, using trellis, plant trellis

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.