The Best Plants for an Umbrella Trellis

Umbrella trellises add vertical space to any garden. Shaped like an umbrella, they stand on one center pole and fan out at the top. They are designed to place against a wall or as a stand-alone trellis. Almost any climbing plant can be used for an umbrella trellis, but it is also important to choose a plant based on the sturdiness and size of your trellis, as well as its location.

Climbing Roses

Climbing roses are a favorite for umbrella trellises. Not only do they bloom all summer long, but the fragrance of the roses is distributed throughout the garden thanks to the unique shape of the trellis. Choose small varieties, as large roses may become too big to be supported by the trellis, causing it to bend or break.


Wisteria plants offer fragrance and large, beautiful blooms. Wisteria is a good substitute for jasmine or honeysuckle, as those fragrant vines grow too vigorously for an umbrella trellis. Note that wisteria is a deciduous plant, so in the winter it will look like dried, brown branches on your umbrella trellis. Do not remove the branches, as they will bloom again next spring. Instead, decorate them with white, twinkling lights for a beautiful winter look.


If you like the lush, green look of ivy, choose Thunbergia for your umbrella trellis. Ivy, with its extremely clingy vines, can damage a trellis and is very difficult to remove. Thunbergia is a great substitute. This perennial vine (in warmer climates) will return year after year to cover your trellis with deep green, glossy leaves and bright, trumpet-shaped flowers. If you live in a cooler climate, you can still grow it as an annual. It is a very fast grower, even from seed, and will quickly cover your trellis by mid-summer.


Clerodendron is a terrific choice if your umbrella trellis is located in a location that gets partial shade. Not only will it thrive in shade, but it is an evergreen vine, which means it will stay green throughout the winter months. Depending on the variety of clerodendron, the flowers, which grow in clusters, will range from white to dark pink in color. Some are even white flowers tipped with bright pink.

Keywords: umbrella trellis, best plants, climbing vines

About this Author

April Sanders has been a writer and educator for 11 years. She is a published curriculum writer and has provided academic content for several subscription databases. Sanders holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social psychology and a Master's degree in information sciences and technology.