6 Beautiful Climbing Plants for Your Pergola (for Sydney Area)

A pergola is one of those outdoor items that adds so much more to your exterior living space. Not only can they be used as a walkway to connect different areas of the garden, but they also provide shade on hot days and give the garden an aged or established feel.

Conventionally, a pergola was a long structure with supporting beams and open latticework overhead, usually covered in a climbing plant. Nowadays, a pergola could be anything from an enclosed sitting area to a shaded walkway. Regardless of its size or shape, a pergola is perfect to use as a screen for enhancing the privacy of your backyard. But you have to choose the right fast-growing plant, or it may take years before you enjoy the full effect of your beautiful floral screen.

Here are some ideas provided by Sunscreen Patios & Pergolas, and will help you turn your pergola into a private, flowering space to enjoy some peace and quite in your backyard.

Bougainvillea

This thorny vine is a fast growing plant that does well in both warm and cool climates. It comes in a range of colours including cream, red, purple, orange, or pink, but is only recommended for pergolas that can hold a lot of weight, as a bougainvillaea is an extremely heavy plant.

Firethorn

Officially named Pyracantha, this plant is actually a shrub that can be trained to grow over a pergola. Even though Firethorn is known to have huge thorns — heavy gloves are recommended when pruning — this evergreen option will attract native birds with its display of brilliantly coloured berries. Although it’s a fairly hardy shrub, the Firethorn is best avoided in frosty, mountainous areas.

Clematis

This climber is best grown in cooler areas and is known for its easy-to-care-for nature. Once established, an annual prune is all that’s needed to encourage a summer display of white or pale pink flowers.

Wisteria

This plant does well Australia-wide, except for the tropical regions of the country. Wisteria flowers come in white, pink, or purple, and are incredibly fragrant. The foliage is luscious enough to block out the harsh summer sun, making a great shady spot to escape the heat. Fast-growing and easily trained, Wisteria is a relatively hardy plant but also has a lot of weight to it once matured.

Climbing Tea Rose

This plant’s delicate flower and hardy nature have made it a climber favourite. Even though it takes a few years for the Climbing Tea Rose to grow a decent size, the long term effects are well worth the time. With abundant floral displays, this plant does well growing in most areas. Again, this climber is recommended for strong pergolas as it also can bear quite a bit of weight.

Passionflower

This fast growing vine is a great option for lightweight pergolas. Easily trained and able to grow anywhere in Australia, the passionflower will captivate all with its exotic flowers over the summer. Although it dies off over the winter, with careful mulching, the plant will regrow next season.

When picking a plant or vine for your pergola, it’s important to remember the following:

How heavy will the plant be when it matures?

How much maintenance is required? Think pruning, training, and mulching.

What is the lifespan of the plant?

Will it provide the coverage or privacy that I am seeking?

If you’re unsure what plant is right for you, seek the advice of a professional who can help you make the most of your pergola and garden.