One of the most common pictures you’ll see of well-established pergolas is with vines and plants growing up and across the entire structure. Not only does having a living and growing pergola give you more protection from the sun, but it also smells incredible and is a great way to introduce some much needed diversity into your garden plants.
Not all plants grow tall enough to cover your pergola, and you’ll need plants that will not only grow tall enough to cover the cross beams as well as the posts, but also that have naturally curling stems that will grip the wood as it grows. The best plants for growing with a pergola in Calgary include:
- Roses – these are one of the classic plants for pergolas because they are instantly recognizable by your guests, and the soft pastel tones set a romantic backdrop to your furniture. They have a relaxing aroma and pull in plenty of interesting wildlife and insects.
- Clematis – this speedy climber lends itself to pergola growing as it twists around anything solid that it touches. It flowers beautifully all the way along the plant, meaning that your pergola will quickly become hidden in purples and whites during the blooming season.
- Honeysuckle – honeysuckle plants have a heady aroma that people often associate with the countryside and childhood. Be warned — these plants are enormous, and a single bush can be trained to cover your entire pergola.
- Trumpet vine — the distinctive shape of these flowers makes a trumpet vine immediately recognizable, and as it produces a lot of nectar during the spring, your pergola will become a haven for birds and bees; perfect for watching with a cup of coffee in the early spring morning.
- Ivy – finally, ivy will give your pergola a classic old-fashioned look. Of all the plants listed here, it requires the least maintenance, and is the most resistant to cold temperatures. If you’re looking for a simple solution for growing with a pergola, ivy should be your go to flower.
One unusual but practical way to grow using your pergola is to replace the cross beams with plastic or metal guttering. By drilling small holes for water seepage, you can then plant non-climbing flowers in the guttering, allowing the flowers to spill down through the roof of your pergola. Spider plants look spectacular as they arch towards the ground, but strawberries are even better. Imagine just being able to reach up and pick a fresh fruit from the dining table!
Above all, when you’re picking plants to grow with your pergola, you need to take into account the amount of sunlight that your pergola gets throughout the day — both the posts and the cross beams, as well as the amount of pruning involved. Each plant will take time and effort to climb, and you’ll need to be prepared to spend some time each week during spring pruning and shaping the stems to get the desired effect. However, the time spent will be well worth it when your pergola looks like it came straight out of a glossy magazine.