Installing a beautiful vertical garden can create a beautiful a focal point for your garden. But what if you don’t want to have to replant every year? Perennials can be the solution to your gardening challenge! I have been gardening for years and am happy to share my knowledge with you of the best perennials to grow in a vertical garden.
The 15 best perennials for a vertical garden are:
- Trumpet Vine
- Climbing Hydrangea
- Boston Ivy
- Climbing Rose
- Creeping Phlox
- Aurina, or Basket of Gold
- Lemon Balm
Perennials are defined as any plant that lives for more than two years. They are traditionally lower maintenance than annuals, but they do have their individual requirements in order to thrive. Keep reading to learn how to grow your perennials into the stunning foundation focal point that you want for your garden!
Vining plants work beautifully in a vertical garden. They can be planted in the ground at the base of your garden, or in planters on one of the levels, depending on the design of your vertical garden structure. They usually will just need something to cling to for support, such as a trellis.
Honeysuckle is a hardy perennial that is very common. It is known for its heady perfume when the blooms are at their zenith. They prefer an area with full sun and rich well-drained soil, although they may tolerate less than ideal conditions.
Provide them a trellis, and they will spread all over. They can also be grown in containers, so long as they are still provided with support so the vines can grow outwards.
You will want to prune the upper vines when the plant is dormant to allow ample air and sunlight to reach all parts of the plants.
With is gorgeous orange and red-orange tube-shaped flowers, trumpet vine will add a vibrant splash of color to your landscape. They are very attractive to hummingbirds so are a great addition if you are a bird lover.
Trumpet Vine grows so quickly and easily that it is considered invasive in some climates. It can grow 30 to 40 feet in a season, so you will want to keep it pruned back so it does not take over everything.
You should not grow wisteria too near your home or other structures as it can be very aggressive. Asian types of wisteria are more so than the North American versions, so if you are concerned about the plants taking over, you should choose one of these types instead.
One beautiful example of a non-invasive type of wisteria is Amethyst Falls Wysteria. It is deer, drought, and disease resistant and won the Georgia Gold Medal in 2006.
If you are looking for a plant to cover an ugly brick or stone wall, climbing hydrangea is the plant for you. It is a hardy climber with full dark green leaves and white flowers in the spring and summer. In autumn, the leaves turn a rich golden color.
The plants take a couple of years to reach full maturity, but when they do, they will completely transform wherever they are grown.
They put out small fingers or rootlets to support themselves as they grow, so no trellis is necessary. That being said, they should not be planted to grow on wood siding or planks as the suckers can damage the structure.
Climbing hydrangea is very versatile and can be grown in areas regardless of sun, so long as the soil is rich and fertile.
Boston Ivy is a beautiful green-leafed vine that turns a rich red color in fall. It is a perfect backdrop plant or to combine with other flowering plants, especially climbing roses. It is very easy to grow and requires little maintenance other than pruning to keep it where you want it.
It is a self-clinging climber, so it does not need a trellis, just something to hang onto as it climbs.
Your options for climbing roses to trellis up your vertical garden is limited only by your imagination. Climbing roses are available in hundreds of varieties, depending on your preferences.
English type roses have the best old-fashioned rose scent and large multi-petaled blooms. They are usually heirloom, non-hybrid types so they require more care and maintenance. They are not engineered to have the same dise102ase resistance as the newer hybrid roses.
While hybrid tea rose gardeners sometimes trade some fragrance for hardiness, they do not lack for color. These kinds of roses can be a single blooming type that blooms once a year or ever-blooming, which has an ocean of blooms all season long.
Roses like full sun, and fertile well-drained soil. They need to be watered daily during the long hot days of summer and benefit from monthly fertilizing with a good organic rose fertilizer.
Cascading Plants grow lush and full and are perfect if you are container planting as they will spill over the planter tops and grow down your vertical garden in waves of color.
Creeping Phlox, also known as “moss pink”, is a spreading mass of spring flowers that will cover up to two feet in diameter in a dense carpet of green and tiny flowers. You can find it in a variety of colors including pink, purple, blue, red, and white. Its dense growing habit makes it wonderful for a vertical garden as it will grow right down a wall.
Butterflies are attracted to it, but deer are not, so it is a good choice if you live in an area where deer are an issue.
Creeping Phlox grows best in full sun and well-drained and fertile soil. It gets about 6 inches tall and will spread as much as two feet in diameter. It is cold hardy up to garden zone 9 and a great low maintenance option that will come back year after year.
Clematis is traditionally considered a climber, but when planted on the top level of your vertical garden, it will grow out and down. These vines produce large colorful flowers all summer long and the plants will grow full without much assistance whatsoever. Plant them in a sunny spot, give them water once a week and watch them cover your wall with color.
Clematis is available in a variety of colors and bloom types, such as The President’s Clematis, which is a deep purple, or the Piilu Clematis, which has a pale pink-purple double bloom, or the Henryi Clematis, which is a pure white.
Aurina, or Basket of Gold
Basket of Gold blooms in sunny golden flowers in spring and the rest of the year the gray-blue foliage spreads out to create a carpet of cool color that will spread down your vertical garden.
Basket of Gold is drought resistant an actually benefits from being left alone. Cut the top half of the plants after the blooms fade, and fertilize once every two years, if you really feel like you need to.
This plant is fairly new genus made by crossing Coral Bells and Foamflower to create a cascading plant with colored foliage and unusually cut leaves with dark centers. They are shade-loving, ground covering plants that are available several shades from green to rust to orange.
Heucherellas are tolerant of hotter temperatures and some sun but prefer afternoon shade. If you have a shady area that you would like to add some greenery too, you should plant Heucherellas there.
These plants grow well in dry conditions but will need to be watered occasionally in the summer.
This plant will spread beautifully in a blanket of tiny white flowers. It has fuzzy silvery leaves and each plant will spread around to around 18 inches wide.
Snow-in-Summer prefers well-drained, poor soil and full sun, but they do not like really hot temperatures. They spread by reseeding and are so prolific that they are considered invasive in some areas. This makes them ideal for growing in planters to help contain the plants to where you want them.
Herbs are one of my favorites for a vertical garden. They grow fantastically in containers and most of them smell amazing. They can also be grown in an indoor vertical garden for easy access when cooking. This is a short list of my favorites for an outdoor vertical garden. For more information on herbs, see our other post on How to Make an Indoor Vertical Herb Garden.
Mint is very easy to grow. It will spread quickly and can take over if not contained. This trait makes it preferable to grow it in a container where it can’t spread. Mint can be grown almost anywhere and thrive, but prefer at least four hours of sun per day and well-drained soil.
There are a lot of different varieties of mint, including peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint, apple mint, catmint, and orange mint. Try a couple to find your personal favorites.
Sage has gorgeous silvery leaves that smell wonderful when crushed. You will want to prune it every spring to promote new growth. It needs a lot of sunlight and well-drained sandy, loamy soil.
It does not like extreme heat, so if you live in a climate where temperatures soar in the summer, this plant may not work for you as well.
Lemon Balm is a large leafy plant that is part of the mint family. Its leaves have the scent of lemon with a hint of mint. It will grow to 24 to36 inches but thrives on being cut back. It smells amazing and is wonderful in tea.
There are a lot of different varieties of thyme to choose from, such as English, Creeping, and Lemon, and each one has its own distinct flavor. Thyme takes a long time to grow from seeds, so you should just start with plants from a nursery if you want immediate results. It likes well-drained sandy soil and does not need to be fertilized.
Enjoy the Benefits of Perennials
Since perennials return every year, they are the perfect option for the low-maintenance garden. They can be the foundation for you to plant more colorful annuals around or the sole focal point of your vertical garden. If you choose any of the plants listed above, you should have no trouble creating the results that you are hoping to see from your vertical garden.