By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
If you’re discouraged by lack of growing room, a container trellis will allow you to put those small areas to good use. A container trellis also helps prevent diseases by keeping plants above the damp soil. Spend some time in your local thrift shop, unleash your imagination and you may find the perfect thing for a potted DIY trellis.
Trellis Ideas for Containers
Here are a few suggestions to get you started on using an upcycled trellis for pots:
- Tomato cage container trellises: Old, rusty tomato cages are ideal for relatively small patio containers. You can insert them into the potting mix with the wide end up or you can wire the “legs” of the cages together and use it with the round part down. Feel free to paint potted DIY trellises with rust-resistant paint.
- Wheels: A bike wheel makes a unique upcycled trellis for pots. A regular sized wheel is fine for a whisky barrel or other large container, while wheels from a small bike, tricycle, or cart can be a potted DIY trellis for smaller containers. Use a single wheel or make a taller trellis by attaching two or three wheels, one above the other, to a wooden post. Train vines to wind around the spokes.
- Recycled ladders: Old wooden or metal ladders make a simple, quick, and easy container trellis. Simply prop the ladder to a fence or wall behind the container and let the vine climb around the steps.
- Old garden tools: An upcycled trellis for pots from old garden tools might be the answer if you’re looking for something super-simple and unique for sweet peas or beans. Just poke the handle of an old shovel, rake, or pitchfork into the pot and train the vine to climb up the handle with soft garden ties. Shorten the handle if the old garden tool is too long for the container.
- A “found” trellis for pots: Create a natural, rustic, teepee trellis with branches or dried plant stalks (such as sunflowers). Use garden twine or jute to lash three branches or stalks together where they meet at the top and then spread the branches to form a teepee shape.
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These trellises are easy to make from readily available materials or are affordable to buy. Among them, there are many simple DIY designs that were used in gardens for centuries.
However, the “Simple” category can’t cover it all – there are practically no simple arbor trellises or the ones that would be strong to support tall creeping plants such as wisteria.
Let’s explore the basic trellis designs, ancestors of all other modern trellises!
Pole and Wire Trellis
If you are not looking to achieve aesthetic perfection, the simplest forms of trellis will do the job. Yes, they will be unsightly until the vines grow over them, but there’s your additional motivation to nurture healthy, lush plant growth.
Trellis made of poles and vertically stretched rope or wire are traditionally used to support grape vines. For something that takes little effort to build, they are very lasting – the old vines on my family property still grow over the pole & metal wire trellis my grandfather made!
“TeePee” Pole Bean Trellis
The same as the example above, these trellises are not here for looks, but for function – although their shape itself has a certain charm. They are a classic for growing beans and peas, but naturally, can be used to grow any other gentle creeper.
As you can judge by the photo, they are very easy to make – three sturdy poles are dug into the ground in a triangular pattern. Then the tops are leaned towards one another and tied together with a wire or a rope. The wire then descends towards the base of the trellis by being wrapped around the construction – providing horizontal lines for plants to latch onto.
“Tent” Veggie Support Trellis
If you have more climbing crop plants, consider this one. An “upgrade” of the previous design, these “serial” triangular trellis use similar logic, but in a more organized, space-saving way.
A lot like a tent base, it has wires coming down from the upper wooden pole axis along the entire length of it, creating a larger surface for vertical plant growth.
The Two-Side Garden Trellis
This one is also a garden classic. Made to fit the raised bed, the two-part tent-shaped wooden trellis will provide to support for whatever creeper you are growing beneath it.
The design is simple – if you want to make it yourself, it will likely be a one-day project. These trellises are often used in vegetable gardens.
Because of their banality, wire mesh trellis is probably the most unsightly on the list – when bare. However, they can turn into a beautiful spectacle if you are growing dense creepers to grow over the entire construction.
Mesh can be used to imitate pergolas for very little money – and they can look awesome when they are overgrown with greens!
Repurposed Curtain Rod Wall Trellis
This trellis was created by crossing a few old, antique-looking curtain rods and fixing them to an outer wall. Really simple right?
The espalier vine that it will support looks happy with it. And as you can see, even when bare, the entire composition looks charming.
Rustic “Spider Web” Wall Trellis
Located above a grow bed next to a charming rustic English cottage this plant bed is simple to construct. Unlike a regular square shape, this one is shaped like a piece of a spider web.
The trellis doesn’t span over the entire wall. That is useful in two cases – when you want to limit the growth of your creepers, or when you are growing vines that are annual and not particularly dense (e.g., morning glory) and you don’t want to look at an entire wall of bare trellis for many months.
Wagon Wheel Trellis
Here’s one fully upcycled trellis – it is actually a cleverly repurposed antique wagon wheel, attached to the ground in the middle of the growing surface.
If you can’t find a wagon wheel, you can use a much more easily available bike wheel – or a combination of several bike wheels.
Repurposed Garden Tools Trellises
This project by Sadie Seasongoods is charming, affordable and easy. Besides the cute looks, there is more wisdom to using old garden tools – they often have high-quality poles which will make a sturdy base for your plants.
Since vertical boards are tied with a rope to connect the garden tools, this project doesn’t require use of tools – not even a hammer.
Circular stand-alone Trellis
Trellis don’t always have to lean against bigger surfaces or be straight. This circular garden trellis is a simple metal stand-alone structure – and refreshingly it creates an arrangement in the midst of a lawn.
This particular arrangement consists of clematis vine climbing the trellis, with red begonias in full bloom beneath them in the middle, providing both rich green and colorful appearance. The looming clematis plant borrows some unusual lushness to common begonias, and in return, begonias with their vivid reds in non-stop bloom throughout the season make up for the currently flowerless clematis.
Bamboo Grid Trellis
Bamboo Trellis will provide the same function as the classic wooden grid square trellis (check out the next section). However, it is easier to do-it-yourself, because it uses knots (instead of drilling, sawing, and hammering) to secure the bamboo poles in place and create a shape of the trellis.
Flower Pot Trellis - Easy and Cheap To Make, Looks Expensive
This flower pot trellis tutorial is a fun way to create elegant looking planters with the use of standard tomato cages.
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When we replaced our double front door with a single door, I knew that I would want to place flanking pots on the porch. I used to have a large black planter that sat to the left, and that just doesn't work with the new door. I think I'll place the old planter in the garden where our maple tree used to be. The two pots that I used in the garden for the color wheel post are now used to flank the front door.
To give them extra pizzazz and height I created a flower pot trellis to set on top of the pots.
To make the trellis purchase a standard tomato cage and flip it upside down.
I painted the cages and the pots black to tie them all together.
Next I used these baluster knuckles, normally used to decorate metal stair legs, to cap the top of the cage like a finial. I did use a rubber band to hold the legs together first, but I'm not sure it was necessary.
The one problem I had was the size of the pot, compared to the diameter of the lowest ring. They were just about the same. It would have been better if the pot was a tad bigger, or the cage a little smaller.
Either way I would have used something to stake the ring into the pot like these plant label stakes . They kept the cage firmly in place. You could use a heavy gauge wire and make your own stakes.
Sticking with my purple and green theme for the year, I planted sweet potato vine, lobelia, and callibroachia trailing around the sides.
Note: Add the plants to the pot before attaching the trellis.
The star of the planter, though small for now, is a black-eyed susan vine placed in the back. I used the twist tie that came with the plant to attach it to one of the sides of the trellis. I know from experience that this pretty flowering vine is a vigorous grower, and will shine in this planter. I'm seeing more and more of this vine in the nurseries this year. The yellow is pretty standard, but it also comes in a white, peach and pink.
The next day the vine already attached itself to the trellis and started growing.
9. Wood panel garden trellis
Her you can see a few ideas put together to create garden trellises for many plants. Tomatoes are supported by the A frame ladders, and cucumbers are supported by the shorter wood panels. ( Via Year Round Harvest )