27 Edible Plants to Climb an Arbor or Trellis

Are you thinking of taking your edible garden vertical? This is a great way to save space and keep your harvests bountiful. In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago lists 27 edible plants you can train to climb up your arbor or trellis.

'Wando' English pea pods display ripening peas and delicate foliage.


Growing fruits and veggies is a common goal of many home gardeners, but many of us don’t have the space to grow the fruits or vegetables we want. Growing edible climbing plants can help us make the most of our vertical space to expand what we grow in the garden.

Many of these sprawling edibles can be trained to grow up trellises or arbors. Some are natural climbers, while others might need your help to get them trained. 

Below is a list of 27 edible plants that will climb up an arbor or trellis. Use this list as an inspiration, and choose your favorite plants to enhance your edible garden! Let’s dig in!


Close-up of an espalier-grown apple tree in the garden. Its branches grow vertically along stretched wires. The tree features vibrant green, deciduous leaves of oval shape. The apple tree produces large, round fruits with shiny green-red skin.
Using the espalier method, you can grow apple trees against a wall, which is ideal for smaller spaces and aesthetics.
botanical-name botanical name Malus spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height Varies greatly by species 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Spur-producing apple trees can be grown espalier. This is a method of growing fruit trees flat against a wall, supported by a trellis or lattice system. While not technically a climbing plant, espaliered apples are a beautiful and space-saving addition to the garden.

These trees will produce apples just like their standard growing family members. You can grow these trees along the wall of your home or as a fence that could provide some privacy. It is best to grow these trees on a wall so that it will be able to support the weight of the tree. 

This growing process works best when the trees are planted very young, and the branches can be easily manipulated and trained to run along a trellis. It will take a few years for your apple trees to produce fruit, but don’t lose hope. This beautiful method of growing will be worth it. 

Bitter Melon ‘Number One’

Close-up of ripe Bitter Melon 'Number One' fruits hanging from the vines in the garden. The Bitter Melon 'Number One' is a vine that produces distinctive, oblong-shaped fruits with a warty, textured surface. The fruits are green. The plant also features deeply lobed leaves that are green and resemble the leaves of other melon plants.
These vines yield 9-inch-long fruits with bumpy, yellowish-green skin.
botanical-name botanical name Momordica charantia ‘Number One’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6-8 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones Perennial in zones 10 and up, annual elsewhere

If you are a fan of Asian cuisine, bitter melon is a great addition to your veggie garden. The bitter melon is a member of the gourd family. The flavor is bitter but will mellow out when cooked with other ingredients. 

This vine produces melons that can grow to nine inches long at maturity. The skin is bumpy and is typically a yellowish green in color. 

This vining veggie will grow from six to eight feet and grow best when climbing a trellis. Harvest the fruit before it turns orange for the best-tasting bitter melon. 


Close-up shot of a Rubus fruticosus plant growing along a vertical wall in a sunny garden. Rubus fruticosus, commonly known as blackberry, is a deciduous shrub with serrated, deep green leaves composed of multiple leaflets. The plant produces clusters of small, juicy, black or dark purple berries, known as blackberries, that are shiny and oblong in shape.
Contrary to expectations, blackberries can be trained on a 5-6 foot trellis for easy harvesting.
botanical-name botanical name Rubus fruticosus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 3 feet or more
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

You may think growing blackberries on a trellis sounds odd, which it does. Despite our preconceived notions, blackberries can be trained on a 5-6 foot trellis. This makes harvesting a breeze and gives our backs a break. 

Thornless blackberries are delicious and beautiful while growing in your garden. The deep, shiny berries offset the true green leaves.

Blackberries are ready to be harvested in mid to late summer. Look for dark black and plump berries. 

Cantaloupe ‘Hearts of Gold’

Close-up of Cantaloupe 'Hearts of Gold' plant in a sunny garden. Cantaloupe 'Hearts of Gold' features vibrant green, deeply lobed leaves that are typical of cantaloupe plants. The fruits of this variety are medium-sized, round, and covered in a textured netting.
Homegrown cantaloupes are sweeter as they ripen fully on the vine.
botanical-name botanical name Cucumis melo ‘Hearts of Gold’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height Up to 6 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

Growing cantaloupe at home is a great way to enjoy these sweet summer treats. If you don’t believe that you have the space for a sprawling cantaloupe vine, think again. These vining melons can grow vertically on a trellis or arbor and still produce delicious melons. 

‘Hearts of Gold’ is an easy-to-grow from seed heirloom variety that still wins taste tests. This variety of cantaloupe will produce six-inch melons weighing about 3 pounds each! 

Homegrown cantaloupes are much sweeter than store-bought melons because you can allow them to ripen on the vine fully. A fully ripened melon will be brown, not green. It will also have a strong, sweet aroma and will begin to crack near the stem. Harvest these sweet melons and enjoy them on their own or with a side of prosciutto! 


Close-up shot of a Sechium edule plant growing on a trellis in the garden. Sechium edule, commonly known as Chayote or Vegetable Pear, features sprawling vines with large, heart-shaped, and deeply veined leaves. The plant produces pale green, wrinkled fruits that have a unique, ridged appearance, resembling a wrinkled pear or gourd.
Chayote, known for its health benefits, thrives on a heavy-duty trellis and resembles a pear-shaped squash.
botanical-name botanical name Sechium edule
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height Up to 50 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

The interesting squash has all sorts of health benefits. It also does not like to get too wet once it starts growing, making the chayote a perfect candidate for trellis growing to ensure it has good airflow to dry out its leaves. 

Like other types of squash, chayote produces vigorous growing vines and leaves as well as tendrils, which help grab on and support the climbing vine. The squash itself looks like a pear. All parts of this plant are edible and can be used in various ways while cooking. 

Plant your chayote near a very sturdy trellis. It will only need a little bit of help to get climbing. This will help prevent diseases from affecting the fruit. Harvest your fruit when the skin becomes rough.


Close-up shot of a Melothria scabra plant growing on vertical trellis in a garden. Melothria scabra, also known as Mouse Melon or Mexican Sour Gherkin, has delicate vines with bright green, heart-shaped leaves. The plant produces an abundance of tiny, cucumber-like fruits that are about the size of a grape or marble.These fruits have a unique appearance with striped, green skin and resemble miniature watermelons.
This mouse melon, resembling a tiny watermelon with a tart cucumber taste, produces grape-sized fruit from yellow flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Melothria scabra
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height Up to 10 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

Also known as “mouse melon,” the cucamelon looks like a watermelon but tastes like a nice tart cucumber. 

This long vine will produce a bounty of grape-sized melons. These melons are formed from 5 petaled yellow flowers pollinated in the early summer, leading the way to miniature watermelon-looking fruit. 

Harvest the cucamelon when they are about 1 inch long. The larger they grow, the more sour they will be. Grow this melon up your trellis, or have it spilling out of your containers or hanging baskets. Harvest and use in place of olives, or pickle them for a fun treat. 

Cucumber ‘Telegraph Improved’

Close-up of Cucumber 'Telegraph Improved' plant growing on vertical trellis in the garden. The Cucumber 'Telegraph Improved' features lush, green leaves with a slightly serrated edge. Its vines produce long and slender cucumbers, typically reaching about one foot in length. These cucumbers have thin skin of dark green color.
Plant your cucumbers near the trellis base, help them climb, and harvest by cutting the fruit from the stem.
botanical-name botanical name Cucumis sativus 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height Up to 8 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Cucumbers are the perfect plant to grow on a trellis. The fruit will form more nicely because it will not come in contact with wet soil, which can lead to rot. 

Telegraph Improved’ is an heirloom variety that produces foot-long cucumbers. This burpless variety has nice thin skin and few seeds, making it perfect for slicing and adding to sandwiches or veggie platters. 

Plant your cucumbers near the base of your trellis or arbor. You may need to help them when they begin climbing, but they will be on their way before you know it. Harvest the cucumbers by cutting the fruit from the stem rather than pulling. 

English Pea ‘Wando’

Close-up of English Pea 'Wando' plant in the garden. The English Pea 'Wando' is characterized by its vibrant green, pinnate leaves with multiple leaflets. The plant produces elongated, slender pods containing plump, round peas. These peas are bright green in color and have a sweet, crisp texture.
Peas climb gracefully on trellises, and ‘Wando’ is an heirloom variety that yields nice large pods.
botanical-name botanical name Pisum sativum ‘Wando’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 2-6 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Peas produce a large harvest, climb beautifully up a trellis or arbor, and are elegantly beautiful. The pretty green leaves accent the lovely white pea flowers perfectly. 

‘Wando’ is an heirloom English pea that produces large pods with about eight peas in each pod. This variety of pea does well in warm and cool weather, making it versatile and easy to grow!

Sow English pea seeds in the spring and again in the summertime to get the largest harvest possible. If you live in a warmer region, you can sow seeds in the fall for a winter harvest. Harvest pea pods about three weeks after flowering when the pods are plump.  


Close-up of a climbing vine plant in the garden along wire trellis. Vitis vinifera, commonly known as the grapevine, is characterized by its large, lobed, and serrated green leaves. These leaves are heart-shaped. The plant produces clusters of medium-sized grapes of a dark blue-violet color.
Grapevines bear fruit in the first or second year and are ready for harvest when clusters are mature.
botanical-name botanical name Vitis vinifera
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height Varies greatly by species 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-10

Grapes may seem intimidating to grow at home, but they are easy and are gorgeous hanging down from an arbor or pergola. Before you get started, make sure you take some time to select the right variety for you. Do you want to eat the grapes or make wine from them?

There are specific cultivars for different uses and regions. Grapes come in many varieties of both red and green fruit. The vines are gorgeous, and their leaves are edible as well. 

Grapes will produce fruit in their first or second year. Harvest them when the clusters are mature and robust. 

Honeydew ‘Sweet Delight’

Close-up view of Cucumis melo 'Sweet Delight' plants growing in a greenhouse and suspended for vertical growth. along trellis. The Cucumis melo 'Sweet Delight' plant is characterized by its lush green leaves that have a somewhat rough texture. The fruits it produces are melons that are round in shape. These melons have a pale green to cream-colored skin that is covered in a fine netting.
Homegrown honeydew melons can be trellis-trained for space-saving.
botanical-name botanical name Cucumis melo ‘Sweet Delight’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 3-6 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Why buy store-bought honeydew when you can grow your own right at home? Honeydew takes up some space when left to crawl, but training them up a trellis is a great way to utilize space while still harvesting delicious melons. 

‘Sweet Delight’ produces melons that weigh up to eight pounds and measure about eight inches long. The vine will produce small, discreet yellow flowers that will soon transform into melons. 

Removing a ripe melon from the vine should not take much force. You will notice a sweet aroma from the melon itself and a crack in the stem near the fruit. 


Close-up of the Humulus lupulus plant growing along a trellis. Humulus lupulus, commonly known as hops, is a climbing perennial plant with distinctive features. Its leaves are palmately lobed and serrated, resembling the shape of a maple leaf. These leaves are medium to dark green in color and have a rough texture. Hops produce cone-like structures known as strobiles or hop cones, which are the plant's flowers. These cones are light green. They are made up of papery bracts and contain the lupulin glands.
Train hops vines early and harvest when the cones dry and emit a beer-like aroma.
botanical-name botanical name Humulus lupulus 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full to partial sun 
height height 20-25 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

If you enjoy beer, you know that hops are crucial to many types of beer. But did you know they are a beautiful vine you can grow at home and harvest the hops to make your own beer?

Unlike many of the other edibles I have listed here, this is a long-living perennial vine. The thick foliage makes a great screen if you are seeking privacy from neighbors or hiding an air-conditioning unit or other item in your yard. 

Train your hop shoots early when they reach about 6 inches long. Once they get climbing, you will not need to do much to maintain this pretty vine. Beware that they can spread quickly. Pick the hops when the cones begin to dry out and smell like beer. 


Close-up of an Actinidia deliciosa plant growing on trellis in a sunny garden. Its leaves are large, heart-shaped, and dark green, with a slightly fuzzy texture on the upper side. The plant produces medium oval fruits. The outer skin is brown and covered in fine, edible fuzz.
Kiwifruit vines need both male and female plants for pollination and take 3-5 years to fruit.
botanical-name botanical name Actinidia deliciosa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 10-20 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-9

If you love kiwis and have a large, extra sturdy arbor in your yard, this plant will become quite a conversation piece. These woody vines are beautiful and hardy.

You will need both a male and female kiwi plant to produce fruit. These vines will take 3-5 years to produce fruit. There is a bit of maintenance when it comes to kiwifruit. Remove suckers from the base of the vines, and prune new growth without flowers a few times of year to ensure your main kiwifruit vine will be strong. 

Harvest your kiwifruit when it is soft to the touch. Eat as soon as possible, or freeze and enjoy later. 

Malabar Spinach

Close-up of a Basella alba plant growing by trellis in a garden. Basella alba, commonly known as Malabar spinach, is characterized by its lush, vibrant appearance. Its leaves are heart-shaped, glossy, and dark green. This species has purple stems. The plant's fruits are small, dark purple and berry-like.
This variety is a heat-loving substitute for traditional spinach with green or red leaves and stems.
botanical-name botanical name Basella alba
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6-10 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

Malabar spinach is a perfect choice if you love spinach but want it available in the summer as well as in the spring and fall. Spinach is a cool season crop, while Malabar spinach will thrive in the heat. 

While this is not a true spinach, it resembles it in appearance. A few different varieties are available, with leaves in either green or red and some varieties with red stems. This edible is wonderful when grown for its ornamental value. 

Harvest larger leaves and eat them raw or saute them like spinach. Don’t harvest too much at once. Harvest just what you will need for your next meal so you can consume it without waste. 

Nasturtium ‘Alaska Variegated’

Close-up of a flowering Nasturtium 'Alaska Variegated' plant. It has lily-pad-like leaves with a variegated pattern, featuring shades of green and cream. The flowers of this variety bloom in vibrant yellow color. These colorful, trumpet-shaped flowers stand out beautifully against the variegated foliage.
Nasturtiums are perfect for salads when the flowers bloom.
botanical-name botanical name Tropaeolum majus ‘Alaska Variegated’ 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 10-12 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11, perennial in zones 10 and 11

Nasturtiums are stunning flowers, and the fact that they double as edible flowers almost makes it a requirement for your edible gardens. 

Like other nasturtiums, ‘Alaska Variegated’ has lily-pad-like leaves, but this variety has variegated leaves, adding a touch of whimsy to these beautiful plants. The flowers will bloom in red, orange, yellow, and bi-colored shades. They have a peppery taste, adding a splash of color and flavor to your dishes. 

Nasturtiums can grow up to 12 feet tall and climb very nicely up a trellis or an arbor. Once the flowers open, they can be picked and added to your salads. 


Close-up of Passiflora edulis with ripening fruits. Passiflora edulis, commonly known as passion fruit, features distinctive, deeply lobed leaves that are dark green and glossy. The fruits are round in shape with green glossy skin.
Passionfruit vines offer striking flowers and tasty fruit but require some maintenance.
botanical-name botanical name Passiflora edulis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 10-15 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

This plant offers the ultimate trifecta: lush foliage, uniquely stunning flowers, and delicious fruit. Passionfruit can take a bit of maintenance and is not suggested for gardeners looking for a low-maintenance plant.

Passionfruit is an evergreen vine that will begin to bloom in the early spring, followed by fruit in about two months. The fruits will be purple or yellow, and the flowers will range in colors, typically red, white, purple, or a combination of the three.

Be ready to harvest your passionfruit when the rind becomes wrinkled and soft. Or you can collect them from the ground. Passionfruit will not bruise when it hits the ground, so you can take your time harvesting.  


Close-up of a pear tree growing flat against a trellis.This method of cultivation creates a compact and decorative tree with horizontal branches extending in a fan-like pattern. The leaves of espalier pear trees are slightly elongated, oval, dark green. Pears are medium-sized fruits with a distinctive pear shape. They have smooth, thin skin with a pinkish color.
Espalier training for pear trees offers beauty and practicality, enabling gardeners to place trees against sunny walls.
botanical-name botanical name Pyrus spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height Varies greatly by species 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Pear trees produce beautiful fruit and can also be trained espalier. This will train your tree to grow flat against a wall. You could train it into a unique shape to fit around windows on a sunny wall or train the branches to grow horizontally along the wall.

Different cultivars will produce beautiful green or red pears with subtle flavor variations, just like the standard trees. 

Harvest the pears when the skin becomes smooth and darker-skinned fruits begin to lighten. Of course, you can wait for the fruit to fall to the ground, but you may risk bruising. 

Pole Bean ‘Kentucky Wonder’

Close-up of Phaseolus vulgaris 'Kentucky Wonder' plant. The Phaseolus vulgaris 'Kentucky Wonder' is a pole bean variety. It produces long, slender green pods. The leaves are a lush green color, wide, heart-shaped.
‘Kentucky Wonder’ heirloom beans produce tender pods up to nine inches long.
botanical-name botanical name Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Kentucky Wonder’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 5-7 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Pole beans speak for themselves when it comes to plants that climb. If you are growing your beans without a pole, trellis, or arbor, they will not be happy. Pole beans will produce beans a bit later than bush beans, but your vines will continue to produce, whereas bush beans usually do a single crop before dying back. 

‘Kentucky Wonder’ is an heirloom bean variety that produces tender pods that can grow up to nine inches long!

Carefully remove the pods from the stems, but don’t pull on the branches too hard; use a pair of garden shears if needed to harvest your pods. You will know your pods are ready to be harvested when they “snap” cleanly in half. 

Pole Cherry Tomato ‘Rainbow Blend’

Close-up of ripe Solanum lycopersicum 'Rainbow Blend' tomatoes against a blurred garden background. It produces small, cherry-sized tomatoes that come in an array of colors, including red, yellow, green, and orange. These tomatoes are round, smooth, and have a glossy skin.
Indeterminate tomatoes are perfect for trellises, with the vine’s size depending on your preference.
botanical-name botanical name Solanum lycopersicum ‘Rainbow Blend’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 3-10 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Many indeterminate tomatoes are great for climbing up trellises. Indeterminate tomatoes do not have a set size, and they tend to be vining and will continue to grow and grow.  You should select the variety you like best. However, the smaller the fruit, the easier it is on the vine. 

The ‘Rainbow Blend’ pole cherry tomato mix can grow up to 10 feet tall and makes a spectacular sight climbing on an arbor. The tomatoes this mix produces appear in various colors, such as red, yellow, green, and orange. Each plant only produces one color of tomato, so growing multiple plants gets you a beautiful rainbow of fruit!

Help your tomatoes get started on the trellis by using velcro straps or plastic tomato trellis clips to train the stems. The plant will begin climbing and producing beautiful fruit before you know it.  

Pumpkin ‘Casperita’

Close-up of Cucurbita pepo 'Casperita' pumpkins on straw with "Casperita" sign. Pumpkins are small, white, round in shape, slightly flattened and have pronounced ribbing.
Growing small pumpkins on an arbor creates a charming garden spectacle for autumn enthusiasts.
botanical-name botanical name Cucurbita pepo ‘Casperita’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6-8 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

If you are a fall-loving gardener, growing mini pumpkins on an arbor will add a touch of splendor to your garden. When pumpkins are grown on arbors, their fruit will hang down and create its own creepy season canopy.

‘Casperita’ pumpkins produce cute white pumpkins that weigh just about one pound and will only grow to about 4 inches. The vine itself grows large leaves and flowers that are both edible!

Allow your pumpkins to stay on the vine if you want them to decorate your arbor, or harvest them and place them inside or around your yard and in window boxes.  

Scarlet Runner Beans

Close-up of a flowering Phaseolus coccineus plant on a trellis. It features large, vibrant green leaves that are palmate in shape. The plant produces showy, scarlet-red flowers. These beautiful blooms give way to slender, elongated bean pods.
These fast-growing vines yield colorful pods and attract pollinators, including hummingbirds.
botanical-name botanical name Phaseolus coccineus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6-12 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-11

Scarlet runner beans are as beautiful as they are delicious. The vines are quick-growing and will produce plenty of flowers followed by fruit throughout the growing season.  Runner beans attract all sorts of pollinators, including hummingbirds. 

Scarlet flowers will bloom and give way to pods that hold multi-colored beans. Runner beans are edible, but many gardeners will grow these plants as ornamentals. They are perennial in zones 7-11. 

Harvest your beans when the pods snap cleanly in half. Or, if you enjoy the look of the vines, leave everything on the vine and enjoy the beauty of the flowers and the pods.  

Snap Peas ‘Sugar Snap’

Close-up of Snap Peas 'Sugar Snap' plant. Snap Peas 'Sugar Snap' is a charming garden plant with bright green, pinnately compound leaves that grow on climbing vines. The foliage forms a lush backdrop for the plump, edible pea pods. These pods are 3-4 inches long and house perfectly round, sweet peas within. The vines produce delicate white flowers.
Harvest snap peas when pods are plump and glossy, taking care not to damage the vine.
botanical-name botanical name Pisum sativum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6-8 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Is there anything better than grabbing a fresh snap pea off a vine and eating it right in your garden? Snap peas grow best when climbing up a trellis or pole, reaching heights of up to eight feet. 

Sugar snap peas are great for trellis gardening because the vine is attractive. The leaves are a soft bluish-green, and the flowers are elegant, blooming in soft shades such as white or pink. 

Harvest your snap peas when the pods are plump and glossy. Gently remove them by hand or use snips to cut the pods away without damaging the vine. 

Sweet Potato

Close-up of a flowering Ipomoea batatas plant in a garden. Ipomoea batatas, commonly known as sweet potato vine, is a vining plant with distinctive, heart-shaped green leaves. Sweet potato vines produce trumpet-shaped pink flowers.
Sweet potatoes prefer crawling but can be trellised upward if space is a concern.
botanical-name botanical name Ipomoea batatas
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 10-20 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-11

Using a trellis to grow sweet potatoes can benefit gardeners in a few ways. If you don’t have room for the vine to sprawl, the trellis will handle that. Grow them in grow bags if you do not have the ground space. 

The vine of the sweet potato plant looks very similar to the ornamental sweet potato vine but is a standard green and a little less lush. 

Sweet potatoes prefer crawling to climbing, so they need some help getting established on your trellis, but it can be done! Harvest your sweet potatoes about 150 days after you have planted them. Dig them up, allow them to dry for about two weeks, and rinse them off before baking or adding them to your favorite dish or pie.

Summer Squash

Close-up of a yellow summer squash plant with ripe fruits. The plant has large, broad, and deeply lobed dark green leaves. The squash fruits are cylindrical or slightly tapered, with smooth, glossy, yellow skin.
Select from various yellow or green varieties up to one foot in length.
botanical-name botanical name Cucurbita pepo
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 2-5 feet tall
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Summer squash is a treat in any garden. Using it in a vertical space is unexpected and makes harvesting a breeze. 

Choose a variety with a vining rather than a bush habit. ‘Emerald Delight‘ and ‘Max’s Gold‘ both have compact vines. These squash can grow up to 1-2 feet in length.

Plant your squash plants close to your trellis or arbor and use twine to secure them to the support structure. As the vine grows, you may need to add a few more ties to continue to support your squash, depending on how heavy it gets

Tomato ‘Sun Gold’

Close-up of Solanum lycopersicum 'Sun Gold' plant with ripe fruits. The Solanum lycopersicum 'Sun Gold' plant is a vigorous indeterminate cherry tomato variety. Its leaves are typical of tomato plants, featuring deep green, serrated foliage. The fruits it produces are small, round, and golden-orange in color.
If you’re a tomato enthusiast, ‘Sun Gold’ is a must-try, producing sweet golden-orange cherry tomatoes on tall vines.
botanical-name botanical name Solanum lycopersicum ‘Sun Gold’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6-8 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

You are missing out if you are a tomato lover and have not tried ‘Sun Gold’ yet! This pole cherry tomato produces sweet, jewel-like tomatoes that are easy to snack on right off the vine.

Sun Gold’ is an indeterminate tomato that will grow to 6 feet and often even taller. The tomatoes are the typical cherry tomato size but are yellowish-orange in color and much sweeter than their red cousins. 

Give your tomatoes a little bit of help getting started on the trellis. Before you know it, the stems will twine around your trellis, using it for support. 

Watermelon ‘Sugar Baby’

Close-up of Citrullus lanatus 'Sugar Baby' fruit in a large container. The Citrullus lanatus 'Sugar Baby' plant is a compact watermelon variety. The leaves are bright green, oval, strongly lobed. The fruit is medium-sized, round in shape, feature a dark green rind with a slightly dull appearance.
Growing ‘Sugar Baby’ watermelons can save space, as they’re smaller and can be supported by a trellis.
botanical-name botanical name Citrullus lanatus ‘Sugar Baby’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 6-10 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Watermelons require a lot of space, and the fruits are also large. ‘Sugar Baby’ produces a smaller size of melon that benefits from being lifted up off the ground with some support from a trellis. 

This variety of watermelon vine can creep to heights of 10 feet. The melons it produces will weigh about 8-10 pounds and grow to just under one foot in length. 

You will know your watermelon is ready to pick when the skin becomes duller and more firm to the touch. ‘Sugar Baby’ melons will sound hollow when you give them a light thump, and they’ll be heavy for their size.

In most watermelons, the tendrils will start to turn brown and dry when the melon is ripe, but for this specific variety, wait one week after the tendrils have browned to maximize their sweet sugary goodness. 

Winter Delicata Squash ‘Honey Boat’ 

Close-up of three fruits of the Winter Delicata Squash 'Honey Boat' plant on the grass. The Winter Delicata Squash 'Honey Boat' plant is a vining variety known for its sprawling growth. The fruits are elongated, featuring creamy yellow skin with green stripes.
Delicata squashes grow to about 8″ long and have attractive yellow and green stripes.
botanical-name botanical name Cucurbita pepo ‘Honey Boat’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 9-12 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Delicata squash is as delicious as it is beautiful. The vines of this squash can reach heights of 12 feet, easily filling your vertical space. 

Honey Boat‘ delicata squash will self-trellis quickly, climbing your desired arbor or trellis. The squash themselves are elongated and will grow up to 8″ in length. The squash will be striped in yellow and green. The beautiful skin does not need to be peeled before eating as it softens with cooking, and the color adds to the overall appearance of your dishes. 

Harvest your squash when the rind has hardened. Snip them off the vine with scissors, and enjoy!

Rocoto Peppers

red, green, and yellow harvested rocoto peppers lay together in a large pile.
Rocoto peppers are incredibly spicy vining peppers.
botanical-name botanical name Capsicum pubescens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 3-9 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Also known as tree pepper, this unique vining pepper can be trellised upward. It is native to Latin America and may be one of the oldest domesticated peppers, with cultivation dating as early as 6,000 BCE!

Beware, this selection is only for true hot sauce lovers! The fruits reach up to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale of hot peppers, which means it’s 20 times hotter than a jalapeno.

The plants grow much taller than a standard bell pepper or hot pepper bush, so you can easily tie them to a trellis and train them upward. They are tender perennials in zones 8-11 but are usually grown as annuals in zones 4-8.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to remember when selecting plants to climb up your trellis or arbor is to plant things that you or your family and friends love to eat. The varieties I have listed above are just a small example of what you could grow. Starting your plants from seeds offers you more flexibility on what you could grow. However, selecting plants you can buy at your local garden center will also give you plenty of options. Have fun filling your trellises and arbors with yummy treats!

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