Plant suggestions for a tall pergola in small yard downtown


Our 20+ year-old pergola has just collapsed due to age and likely the weight of a same-age wisteria growing on it. To replace the pergola, we need to cut the wisteria to the ground. Is it likely to survive this? In fact, I would like to replace the wisteria with something less invasive (there are trees close by). Can you recommend plants, including climbing roses, that would cover the pergola fairly quickly to provide shade, but be non-invasive? The plant would get lots of sun at the top of the pergola, but less at ground level. I attach a photo of the current situation. Thank you.


Oh dear, what a lot of work your old wisteria is causing.  Firstly, let’s deal with getting rid of the wisteria and then move on to the list of things you can plant to replace it.

  1. Cut the main wisteria trunk down to ground level.
  2. Hand pull or dig up any young sprouts.
  3. Chop up and bag, for disposal with your local municipality, all branches, twigs & seedpods. This is important as even the smallest twig can regrow.
  4. Contact a licensed tree service company to come and grind out & remove the stump.

If this is all too much for you to accomplish, contact the tree company and have them do all the work.  If you need assistance finding a company in your area, contact Landscape Ontario (website below) for some recommendations.

Next, the fun part, having re-built your pergola, what to plant?  Below you’ll find a small list of some of my favourites, just as a guide to get you started.

Trumpet vine – Campis radicans;  Woodbine/Virgin’s Bower – Clematis virginiana;  Chocolate vine – Akebia quinate;  Kiwi vine – Actinidia kolomikta;  Honeysuckle – Lonicera spp.;  Dutchman’s pipe – Aristolochia durior;  Climbing roses – Blaze, John Cabot, Royal Sunset, Graham Thomas (are some of my favourites but there are more options available, check your local nursery).

For information on these vines and more, I’ve attached another link from Landscape Ontario, see below: