5 ways to support climbing plants and vegetables

Keep your climbers healthy this summer by giving them the support they need, from trellises and stakes to architectural archways

Phyllis Bide climbing rose
(Image credit: David Austin Roses)

Climbing plants like wisteria and roses look stunning in a garden, adding charm and interest to bare walls and fences. Even crops like tomatoes and raspberries can look beautiful thanks to the creeping vines and lush greenery – not to mention that pop of colour when the fruits finally ripen.

Unsurprisingly, though, these plants often need a little support as they grow. Providing a structure for them to cling on to will keep them off the ground, making sure they get the nutrients they need and preventing them from going mouldy. You can also use structures to train plants to climb a certain way – over a doorway, say, or framing an arch.

Not sure where to start? Gardening Express has offered up advice for selecting the best support for your garden based on the plants you're growing and the style you love.

'Several plants that tend to grow tall, such as tomatoes and raspberries, need  support to ensure the plants don’t flop and break,' a spokesperson said. 'Flowers such as roses also require support and can become a great statement piece in any outdoor area.

'Supports can come in many shapes and sizes, so it’s important to think of the style of your garden and the kind of plants that they will be supporting to ensure you choose the best one for your needs.'

Read on for the best ways to support your climbing plants.

1. Trellises

trellis on a balcony with modern furniture and outdoor rugs

(Image credit: Ikea)

Possibly the most popular support, trellises can be placed on a wall or fence and painted to blend in, or stuck in the ground to create a feature in its own right. They come in various sizes depending on the type of plant: heavier plants will, of course, need a thicker trellis than dainty species like wisteria. Wood lattices, like the Ikea one above, are the most common, but you can find trellises in a variety of designs to suit your taste and budget.

2. Stakes

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Most commonly used for crops like tomatoes, a simple wooden stake placed directly in the ground will encourage even the youngest plants to start growing upwards. Encourage healthy growth and keep your plant on track by tying it to the stake using twine or strips of fabric as it gets larger.

Alternatively, striking metal designs like this spiral stake from Garden Trading add a sculptural element to your garden while still providing the support your plants need.

3. Archways

(Image credit: Harrod Horticultural)

Gardens big and small can benefit from the focal point an archway brings, and as well as adding charm to a space, it's also a great structure up which to grow climbing plants. Ideal for roses or clematis, a simple wood or metal design, like this one from Harrod Horticultural, will look bare at first, but with a bit of patience you can create a stunning feature.

4. Cages

(Image credit: Crocus)

Not as imposing as they sound, cages are an effective way to grow climbers like tomatoes, controlling the direction of growth and keeping wandering tendrils in check. They can commonly be bought in circular or square shapes and can look quite elegant against a wall or fence, like this design from Crocus. Alternatively, create your own with wood and pliable metal for a DIY option.

5. Weave

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Best for allotments or to create a full wall of climbing plants, a weave is a quick and easy way to provide support for lots of plants. Place two stakes at opposite ends of a row and tie string or twine to either end at different levels. The plants will grow between the woven string. In this setup from Garden Trading, the twine structure is combined with a trellis to create a feature of the wall.

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