Creating a stunning garden display doesn’t always require vast expanses of space at ground level. You can bring the thrill of vertical greenery right to your doorstep with climbing plants for pots.
Whether you have a balcony, a patio, or a small porch, these versatile plants will bring colour, texture and interest to any space.
The best low maintenance climbing plants for pots and containers
In this article we’ll explore 19 fantastic climbing plants for pots, including fast growers, perfumed delights, shade lovers and edible plants.
Get ready to elevate your gardening experience with these compact yet powerful vertical wonders!
Things to consider when choosing climbing plants for pots
Before you start to browse climbing plants, take some time to think about the following:
- How big is the pot you are planting in?
- How tall do you want the plant to grow?
- What growth rate would you like from the plant?
- How much support are you able to provide for the plant? Is it a fence, a trellis, an arbor etc.?
- Where is your pot located, and what conditions does that location provide? Is it in full sun, shade, shelter, wind etc.?
- Do you have a preference for flower colour, foliage type, or scent?
Considering these areas will put you in a great position to choose the right plant for your outdoor space.
Best climbers for pots
Ready to find your perfect climbing plant for a pot? Here are our top picks for common garden conditions.
Fast growing climbing plants for pots
Clematis Montana boasts an abundance of pink or white flowers from April to June, and flourishes in a sunny or partial shade location.
This rapidly growing climbing plant can reach 30 feet in height, but if you grow it in a container you can keep it under control.
Other great clematis varieties for pots include ‘Nelly Moser’, ‘Jackmanii’ and ‘Prince Charles’.
Honeysuckle has twining vines with very fragrant flowers, and will attract hummingbirds and butterflies all through the summer months.
Although these plants prefer a sunny spot, they will also tolerate partial shade in a sheltered area. If you grow Honeysuckle in a pot it needs regular watering and *plant food to keep it happy.
Honeysuckle is a fast-growing climber and should not be planted to grow up a tree, as it can strangle it.
Morning glory (Ipomoea)
If you like the idea of growing from seed, this is a great option when it comes to annual climbers. Morning glory will produce masses of flowers in summer and early autumn, and has a vigorous growth habit.
Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata)
With its cheerful flowers and perennial nature, this perennial plant is an excellent choice for a container garden. You can train it up a trellis or let it spill over pots and hanging baskets.
Plant black-eyed Susans in full sun and away from strong winds for best results. You also need to provide frost protection in colder months.
This plant is perfect for adding interest to your container garden in winter and early spring. Winter jasmine produces delicate yellow flowers and when grown in a pot will trail over the edges.
Winter jasmine needs full sun and soil that drains well.
Climbing plants for large pots
Virginia Creeper will give you a stunning show of warm red and burgundy leaves in the autumn months.
It’s a tough plant and happy with shade or sunny spots; it’s also a drought tolerant plant. Growing it in a pot keeps this vigorous climber under control.
Do bear in mind that Virginia Creeper’s sap contains oxalate crystals that can cause a skin rash in people that are sensitive.
Passion flower (Passiflora caerulea)
Passion flowers grow fast and big, so make sure you choose a suitably large container. They will reward you with highly unusual blooms that are ideal if you want to complement tropical plants.
Passiflora needs a warm position and winter protection when temperatures drop.
English ivy (Hedera helix) is an evergreen climber that thrives in pots. It’s a useful trailing plant for a hanging basket, where it can cascade over the edge of the container.
Plant ivy in a potting medium with good drainage, and provide it with plenty of water.
Trumpet vine (Campsis)
This fast-growing perennial vine has trumpet shaped, showy flowers throughout summer and into autumn.
Trumpet vine will thrive in full sun and is also a great plant for making your garden wildlife-friendly. It can get out of control when grown in the ground, so a pot is an easy way to keep it in check.
Fragrant climbing plants for containers
Climbing roses in pots
Climbing roses are plants that do double duty with their lovely rose scent and beautiful full blooms. They’re the perfect choice for a wall or fence with solid support where they can spread out and cover the area in flowers.
There are many varieties of climbing rose in a variety of colours. Good options for pots include ‘Strawberry Hill’, ‘Bathsheba’ and ‘Open Arms’.
Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’
This compact climbing rose variety is well-suited to a pot. The stunning deep pink double blooms will fill a patio with wonderful scent from July to September.
Wisteria is a popular choice for gardeners looking to add beauty and fragrance with warm-weather perennials to their outdoor spaces. This flowering vine is known for its large and fragrant white or blue-purple hanging flowers.
If you grow wisteria in a pot, make sure you *feed it regularly.
With their delicate scent, sweet peas are beautiful flowers available in an array of colours. Picking the blooms for indoor use only encourages a greater number of them to grow on the climbing plant.
Good climbing plants for pots in shade
Climbing hydrangea has heart-shaped green leaves, making for a very appealing plant even when not in bloom. It boasts lacy white blossoms in summer, and can cope with a shady or sunny location.
Climbing hydrangeas are vigorous growers, so they will need support. Prune immediately after flowering to give the plant enough time to develop new growth for next year’s flowers.
Star jasmine (trachelospermum jasminoides)
Also know as common jasmine and confederate jasmine, star Jasmine has small, dark, shiny leaves and produces highly scented flowers in mid to late summer. It thrives in light shade.
These low maintenance evergreen climbing plants work well in pots in a small space, more for ornamental use than as a privacy barrier. It will work well on a trellis or pergola; to make the most of the scent position it somewhere that you walk past or sit near.
Canary creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum)
Another speedy annual, Canary creeper can reach twelve feet tall and is related to the nasturtium. The flowers resemble yellow birds, hence the name.
This climbing plant can cope with shade, but still needs plenty of indirect light.
Edible potted climbing plants
Tomatoes and Cucumbers
In the warmer months, tomatoes and cucumbers thrive well in pots with *stakes. Plant these vegetables in large containers at least 12 inches in diameter in fertile, well-draining soil.
Good tomato varieties for pots include ‘Sungold’, ‘Micro Tom’ and ‘Tumbling Tom’ (this last one is great for hanging baskets).
Cucumber varieties likely to succeed with limited space include ‘Salad’, ‘Picklebush’ and ‘Hybrid’.
Common grape vine
Robust grape varieties, such as ‘Muscat Bleu’ and ‘Ortega’, do quite well as potted patio plants. Plant these potted vines in containers 14 to 16 inches in diameter and add a sturdy stake to the pot.
It’s a good idea to re-pot vines every two years.
Why choose a climbing plant for a pot?
There are several reasons to grow a climbing plant in a pot in your garden or yard.
- A potted climbing plant with a trellis can be used to make an outside wall more attractive.
- Climbing plants in pots can be an effective way to acquire privacy from a neighbour’s garden.
- Climbing plants increase the amount of available space for gardening, so they’re ideal if you’re short on space at ground level.
- Potted outdoor plants can be moved around easily, so they’re ideal if you rent your property or are planning a move in the near future.
- If you have a decorative arbor or gazebo in the garden you can use climbers in pots to soften the structure and introduce colour, texture and scent.
- If the soil in your garden is poor you can provide more fertile conditions in pots and containers.
Types of climbing plants
As will all plants, you can categorise climbing plants into the following categories:
Annual plants typically grow, flower and die in one growing season. They will usually need to be replaced every year.
Perennial plants grow year after year, and usually don’t need to be replaced for several years. They can be evergreen, which means they retain their leaves throughout the year, or deciduous, which means they die back in colder months.
Take a look at our guide to perennial vs. annual plants for more information.
Providing support for climbing plants in pots
The support available for climbing container plants plays a key role in how well the plant can grow and how good it looks.
You can grow flowering vines and climbing plants in pots using stakes or poles. Smaller climbing plants may only need some canes or a small trellis in the pot, while larger climbers will need a more significant support structure.
If your climbing plant is growing against a fence, wire and vine eyes work well. In more open areas you could use wooden stakes and wire, or a sturdy *obelisk.
From cascading blooms to lush greenery, the versatility of potted climbers can add a touch of magic to any corner of your outdoor space. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice with a penchant for greenery, the charm and versatility of growing climbing plants in pots makes them a must-have for plant lovers of all kinds.
More container gardening resources
For more tips and advice on gardening in pots, take a look at these articles: