How to Support Plants on a Trellis


Using trellises to support plants is a time-honored way of stretching your garden space, keeping tender fruits and vegetables off the ground, and improving production. Some plants like pole beans or clematis may need a little boost as a seedling to find the trellis, and then supports itself by winding up on its own tendrils. Others, like tomatoes or climbing roses, need help along the way.

Step 1

Choose a trellis that's right for your plant's needs. Most tendril-growing plants like vegetables can use a more lightweight trellis with thin supports made out of wood, sticks or string. Heavyweight woody plants like grapevine or wisteria must have a strong support. Consider professionally made trellises out of wood or vinyl for climbing roses, grapevines or wisteria.

Step 2

Plant seeds at the base of your trellis supports. Transplanted plants should be placed about 1 1/2 to 2 feet from the base. Cover with mulch and water thoroughly.

Step 3

Tie canes to the trellis using garden ties or strips of old pantyhose; both can expand with the plant as it grows. Using regular string or ties can damage your plant by cutting into growing canes.

Step 4

Continue tying canes to the trellis as new growth develops. Called "training," you can decide the shape and direction of the growth on your trellis system.

Step 5

Prune dead growth regularly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure trellises are well-secured to walls or anchored to the ground. By late summer, plants can be very, very heavy.

Things You'll Need

  • Trellis
  • Garden tape or supports
  • Strips of old pantyhose


  • Smart Supports for Climbing Plants
  • How to Grow a Climbing Rose
  • Trellising Fruits and Vegetables Saves Garden Space

Who Can Help

  • Arbor and Trellis Landscaping Glossary
Keywords: trellis support, climbing roses, vine supports

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University to study education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills reusing, recycling and reinventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.