Patio Cover Plants
Top 10 vines for pergolas, patio covers, and arbors
Should you grow vines on your patio cover?
- Filtered shade
- Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
- Messy - may drop leaves and debris
- Maintenance - requires sweeping and trimming
- Attracts bees, wasps and spiders
- Can be a good hiding spot for snakes and lizards
- Weight of vines and fruit can cause structural damage
- Vines retain moisture and promote wood rot
While some homeowners opt for the clean lines of a plant free pergola, vines will bring your structure to beautiful life. Living, breathing plants not only contribute shade and privacy (see Landscaping for Privacy), they also offer color, freshness, and soft, romantic fragrance. This helps create the ambiance most people want in garden living in the first place.
- Pro Tip: Hard prune vines once each year in the Fall season to prevent them from getting too large or adding too much weight to the structure. Routine pruning also deters birds and rodents from nesting in the thatch, a common concern with overgrown vines.
- Scott Cohen, The Green Scene
In addition, growing vines over your patio covers improves shade and helps cool off the patio area. To cool themselves off, people perspire, but did you know plants do the same thing? It's called transpiration and plants actually evaporate moisture to cool themselves off. This transpiration effect works like nature's own mist system and can actually cool a patio area by as much as 15 degrees! Below are my top ten favorite patio cover plants. Check your local nursery for these or comparable specimens.
- Pro Tip: If you want to grow grapes on your pergola, attach the vines to the structure from below. The birds can't clean out the fruit and it is beautiful in summer.
- Paul C. Westberg
Top Ten Vines for Patio Covers:
Bougainvillea Vibrant colors, full sun, sometimes thorny. Great for warmer climates, frost sensitive.
Royal Trumpet Vine (Distictis riversii) Showy Lavender flowers with a red throat. Full sun to partial shade.
Carolina Jessamine Fragrant yellow blossoms smell like Jasmine. Full to partial sun. Evergreen vine. Toxic when ingested.
Passion Flower (Passifflora) Large blue to purple unique flowers that look like they could be from outerspace. Some varieties produce "Passion fruit".
Bower Vine (Pandorea jasminoides, Bignonia jasminoides) Partial sun to partial shade. White to pink flowers. Very clean.
"Chinese Jasmine" (Jasminum polyanthum) Very fragrant pink or white flowers with pink throats. Evergreen climber. Easy maintenance.
Wisteria Fragrant flower blossoms hang in clusters from deep green and dense foliage. Purple, blue and white. Very messy when blooming , also loses leaves in Fall. Seed pods that form in late summer can be toxic to dogs when eaten.
White Potato Vine (solanum jasminioides) Abundant show of white flowers on dense foliage of smaller green leaves. Hardy. Sun to partial shade. Blooms frequently in mild climates.
"Alice Dupont" Pink Alamanada (Mandevilla amoena) Large pink flowers. Full to partial sun. Quick draining soil a must. Poor in high wind areas.
Climbing Roses Many varieties of roses have long pliable canes and can be easily trained to grow up patio cover posts. With roses come a little extra maintenance and more frequent pruning. My favorites are : "Joseph's Coat" multi-colored flowers, "Golden Showers" bright yellow, "New Dawn" lite pink, and "Fourth of July" red and white flowers.
See more Landscaping Plants
Scott Cohen, contributing writer for Landscaping Network and owner of The Green Scene
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