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The Top Climbing Plants for Pergolas in Idaho Hardiness Zones

When it comes to garden design, climbing plants can be added to your pergola to soften its appearance while adding greenery. Whether you’re looking to add shade or privacy to your pergola, attract native pollinators, or take on a new garden project, there are a variety of climbing plants to choose from that thrive in Idaho’s hardiness zones! 

In this blog post we’ll go over what you need to know about Idaho hardiness zones, questions you should ask yourself before choosing a climbing plant, and some of the most unique and beautiful climbing plants to consider.

Idaho Hardiness Zones

If you’re new to the world of plants and gardening, you may be wondering what hardiness zones are. These are mapped zones that help gardeners and farmers determine what plants are suitable for their climate. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree Fahrenheit zones. Most of Idaho ranges between 3b in the eastern tip and 7b in the midwestern part of the state.

USDA plant hardiness zone map of the northwest and Idaho

Image from the USDA

Visit the USDA’s website and type in your address or zip code to find your true zone. We recommend taking this step, but also provide the average zones for some Idaho cities in the table below!

Ammon: 5a

Idaho Falls: 5a

Rigby: 5a

Shelley: 5a

Chubbuck: 5b

Boise: 6b, 7a

Meridian: 6b, 7a

Eagle: 6b, 7a

Caldwell: 6b, 7a

Jerome: 6b

Kuna: 6b

Mountain Home: 6b

Nampa: 7a

Star: 7a

Climbing Plants for Pergolas in Idaho Hardiness Zones

Once you’ve determined your hardiness zone, you can begin your plant search! There are a few additional questions you might want to consider before you start looking:

  1. What is the purpose of adding climbing plants to your pergola? Is it purely decorative, to attract native pollinators, or to add shade in the summertime?
  2. Will you be planting in containers or directly in the ground? 
  3. What is the level of care you’re willing to give in order to maintain your plants? Some may require more frequent watering, cleanup, or pruning.

We’ve listed out a few beautiful climbing plants you can grow up your pergola. 

1. Trumpet Vine

 

Orange trumpet vine on tan pillar

Image from Renee Grayson on Flikr shared through Creative Commons license.

Trumpet Vine produces beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers in hues of orange and red in mid-summer and autumn. It does a great job of attracting hummingbirds and other pollinators to your garden.

Zones: 4-9

Growing Speed: Very fast

Height: 30-40 feet

Care: You’ll need to commit to regular pruning because of its fast-growing speed. Deadheading is also recommended so it doesn’t re-seed in other areas of your space.

2. Clematis

 

Deep purple clematis with bright green leaves

Image from Rob Hodgkins on Flikr shared through Creative Commons license

Clematis are woody vines that produce large 6-7 petaled star-shaped or delicate bell-shaped flowers. Colors range from white, yellow, deep red, and periwinkle to deep purple. They can also come in “candy stripe” varieties with multiple colors. They’re one of the most popular climbing plants with sweet honey, almond, or vanilla fragrance. 

Zones: 4-9

Growing Speed: Varies, but usually fast

Height: 8-12 feet

Care: Clematis require minimal care, but they do need help retaining moisture in the hotter months. Add mulch in the spring and water frequently in excessive heat. You’ll need to water them more frequently if they are planted in a raised container.

3. Grape Vine

 

Purple grapes on vine

Image from Southern Foodways Alliance on Flikr shared through Creative Commons license

 

Grapes are one of the most popular fruit choices to grow in backyard gardens. You can generally harvest fruit between September and October in Idaho. Choose between many different North American, European, and Hybrid Grape varieties in this Idaho grape guide.

Zones: 4-10

Growing Speed: Fast in the first year

Height: 6-9 feet

Care: Grapevines need more attention than some other climbing plants and as many as five years to mature from bare-root plants. You’ll also need to do pruning once a year in the fall to strip away the leaf canopy that forms around the fruit. 

4. Winter Jasmine

 

Yellow winter jasmine bell-shaped flowers in a cluster of three

Image from Derek Winterburn on Flikr shared through Creative Commons license.

 

Winter Jasmine is a delicate vining plant with dainty yellow star-shaped blossoms. It’s a beautiful plant that adds a pop of color in the dead of winter around mid-January.

Zones: 6-10

Growing Speed: Varies, but usually slow to reach its maximum height

Height: 4-15 feet

Care: Extremely low maintenance free of fussy soil and watering requirements. You’ll however need to pay more attention to training it to climb up your pergola with adhesive outdoor plant clips.

5. Passion Vines

 

Blue passionflowers with white pedals and green pistil

Image from Massimiliano Calamelli on Flikr shared through Creative Commons license.

Passion vines produce exquisite tropical/subtropical flowers on an evergreen vine. Most varieties (if properly pollinated) can also produce passion fruit. It blooms in the Pacific Northwest from June to October and gives off a sweet grape-like fragrance.

Zones: 6-10

Growing Speed: Very fast

Height: 20 feet or more

Care: Passion vines require medium maintenance. They need to be thoroughly watered in hot summers and cut back and brought indoors in the winter depending on the variety and winter temperatures.

6. Climbing Roses

 

Pink and yellow climbing roses on a faded wooden fence

Image from T.Kiya on Flikr shared through Creative Commons license.

Climbing roses are extremely popular in the USA and come in many different varieties. They bloom usually in the late spring to early summer and have a sweet perfume-like fragrance. You can also choose thornless varieties.

Zones: Most zones have multiple varieties that can be a suitable fit

Growing Speed: Slower, 3-5 years to maturity

Height: 12 to 14 feet for most varieties

Care: Climbing roses require medium maintenance. They must be watered regularly, provided with proper soil acidity, and pruned annually.

7. Chocolate Vine

 

Chocolate vine flower in purple with buds

Image from Mark on Flikr shared through Creative Commons license.

Chocolate vine produces clusters of cup-shaped flowers in a deep purplish-brown color. Their aroma is similar to chocolate with a slightly malted scent. They’re a great option for growers who are looking for climbing plants that are less well-known but make sure to see if it is considered invasive in your area.

Zones: 4-8

Growing Speed: Very fast

Height: 15-30 feet

Care: Chocolate Vine requires frequent pruning because of its extremely fast growing speed. Similar to Winter Jasmine, you will need to pay more attention to training it to climb up your pergola with adhesive outdoor plant clips.

8. Wisteria

 

Purple wisteria on a wooden pergola

Image from Selena N. B. H. on Flikr shared through Creative Commons license.

Wisteria is the iconic pergola addition. It produces beautiful cascading flowers in white, lavender-blue, pink, and most shades in-between. They can give off a sweet to slightly musky fragrance depending on the variety.

Zones: 4-9

Growing Speed: Very fast, but it can take up to 20 years to fully mature

Height: 25 feet

Care: You’ll need to regularly monitor Wisteria and prune runners. It also requires a large prune in the winter to clear room for new growth. Besides pruning, it is a low-maintenance plant.

9. Dutchman’s Pipe

 

Dutchmans Pipe flower in purple and green with bright green heart-shaped leaves

Image from Dinesh Valke on Flikr shared through Creative Commons license

Dutchman’s pipe is a cheery plant that has huge vibrant heart-shaped leaves. It’s a great vine to choose if you’d like to create a fully shaded section of your pergola. Ducthman’s pipe creates large burgundy and cream flowers like the image above.

Zones: 4-8

Growing Speed: 

Height: 15-30 feet

Care: Dutchman’s pipe requires minimal maintenance. It just needs aqeuate sunlight and well-drained soil to thrive.

10. Crossvine

 

Pink and yellow crossvine flowers in a cluster

Image from carlfbagge on Flikr shared through Creative Commons license.

Crossvine is a beautiful evergreen vine that produces orange, yellow, red, and pink trumpet flowers. It attracts many hummingbirds and pollinators and is known for its ability to withstand extreme heat. 

Zones: 6-9b

Growing Speed: Fast

Height: 50 feet

Care: Crossvine is low maintenance. It just needs minimal pruning/trims when it begins to grow outside of the area you’d it. You can deadhead it if you prefer, but this can be very time-extensive given how many flowers it produces.

 

If you’re still indecisive about whether or not to add a climbing plant to your pergola, hopefully this post has helped make your choice a little easier. Climbing plants can be beautiful additions to any outdoor space, and with a little research, you can find your perfect addition! 

If you’re interested in purchasing a pergola, reach out to ShadeWorks to build your custom structure!

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