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Wooden Pergola

I've got 4 posts.  Wish I'd chosen a design with more posts and can't seem to reduce my plant shortlist. (includes jasmine, chocolate vine, a rose, honeysuckle and some clemetis combinations.). Anyone got any advice?  My main queries are(1) like the idea of having 1or 2 evergreens for some winter interest but wondering if wood will last longer if I stick to deciduous to let it dry out in winter, and (2) if I put more than one climber on a post, will it get overcrowded? Should I force myself to max of 4? Or perhaps I could get away with 2 on each of the front posts which sunny are in the most demand!




  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,646

    It depends on how good the soil is.  If it's poor to medium fertility I would restirct myself to one plant per post but if it's good soil I'd plant two, maybe a rose and a cleamtis that would compliment each other in colour or flowering period so maybe a clematis for April/May and a rose to take over flowering from late May and June.

    Whatever the case, I would prepare really deep planting holes back filled with added garden or bought compost and some well rotted manure if possible.    Plant clematis at least 4" deeper than they were in te hpot and roses with the graft join 2" below soil level.   Soak the pots throroughly before planting out and water generously once planted.  Feed generously every spring and mulch every autumn.

    I would also stretch wires horizontally between the posts to allow the roses and clems to spread their stems horizontally as well as vertically as this encourages more flowers to form.

    Depending on how exposed you are you could consider grapes which would give you a crop as well as as attractive foliage.  Wisteria is very good on pergolas as long as you follow the pruning regime to encourage flowering spurs.

    I think honeysuckle is best on walls or trellises but you could look for forms of that which please you.   You could also grow morning  glory which is a tender annual so would allow you to have different colours each year.


    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • jatnikapyarjatnikapyar Posts: 419

    Hi Supernoodle, I agree with Nut, expect for the wisteria. I have a north facing pergola and I so wanted a wisteria. It did not like me at all and after 5years I had to move it. I think, despite giving it all it demanded, it just sat there and sulked as it did not like the north aspect !! So, do a bit of research and chose your plants wisely. Not only will you enjoy planting but watching them grow. I have ALL the plants in planters and they have done well. A few took longer to establish but the patience was rewarding. Do use BIG deep pots and they will  work(within reason). I have up to three plants per pot and surprisingly, they are Ok. As Nut says, clematis and roses are good companions and I have chosen ones that flower at different times.

    Besides the clematis and roses I have Rhiochiton, chocolate vine,coboea,golden hop, grapes and Acinidia Arguta.  

    The whole project is quite time consuming as it needs regular pruning,watering,feed and admiring!!

    So Noodle, have fun image

  • SupernoodleSupernoodle Posts: 954

    Cheers guys.  I think I've narrowed it down.  I'm going for 2 per post at the front - I've clay soil which is fairly good, and the whole bed will be conditioned first (bags of manure already waiting)  so now think they should be ok - thanks for your views on that.  I've got a splendid display in my head, flowering from march to sept - hope it turns out as good!  The reason for going for honeysuckle was that I thought it'd cope well with the site - the back 2 posts will be shady but once they reach the top they'll get lots of sun.  I think this is what honeysuckle's expect? Think they're used to scrambling up trees to get the sun above the canopy?

    very excited! Thanks for your help

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,646

    Honeysuckle very quickly gets shabby looking between the ground and the top of its supports as it puts all its energy into flowering at the top.    It's good for scrambling into trees and other rustic supports but I don't think it sits well with a pergola.  It is entirely your choice of course but I'd go for something that will perform well lower down the stems and not just at neck craning height and that can be kept in shape by gnetle pruning rather than major hacking which you honeysuckle will eventually need.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • SupernoodleSupernoodle Posts: 954

    Hi Obelixx.  Thanks for your advice.  I've been umming and ahhh-ing.   i was happy with the honeysuckle (slightly influenced by having a couple due a change of plan a year ago) as the pergola is to be in a border and the plan was to let the shrubs grow up around the back posts so it was the growth across the top I wanted.   But since your comments have changed my mind.  Will keep it more open and use clematis on the back posts.  And have changed my mind about the rose (another one I've already got- a freebie) - too spikey for that spot.  So, in short, a new plan! Now just need to find a spot for the honeysuckle and rose.... image

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