The Best Wisconsin Plants for Your Pergola

One of the true joys of owning a pergola is selecting and cultivating climbing plants to compliment it. There’s nothing quite like looking up to see a lovely canopy of greenery and flowers winding in and out of a custom-made Northern White Cedar pergola.

Combine the scent of the cedar with the scent of your favorite flowering plant, and you’ve got yourself a slice of sweet Heaven ready to last you all summer long.

Now all you have to do is choose plants ready to survive Wisconsin’s climate. Most everyone in our service area is in Zone 4, as is most of the state, so the key is to choose climbing plants hearty enough to take the cold Zone 4 climate.

Here are a few options that might work really well.


Select the hearty Climbing Rose to get both a survivor and a climber. If you want to compliment the pergola with additional rose varieties out in the yard, you can also look into English or Shrub roses.


You’re looking for one of two varieties: Jackmanii or Sweet Autumn. The bold purple bloom of a Jackmanii is hard to beat. Sweet Autumn gives you delicate white flowers that cluster together and spill out like a summer snow.


If you really want to take advantage of your sense of smell, honeysuckle is a great choice. It’s one of the most fragrant plants you can invest in. There are over 180 varieties, but you’re looking for the aptly named “Winter Beauty.” These white flowers are especially attractive to bees.


There’s something innocent about the bright yellow flowers of a Winter Jasmine plant. It starts blooming early, sometimes as early as January, making it the perfect visual interest plant for a winter landscape.


The grapes that do best in Zone 4 aren’t the ones you typically see on grocery store shelves. This will be true whether you choose Alpenglow, Beta, or Bluebell. Alpenglow gives you pale red berries.  The dark purple of Betas will almost make you think you’re growing exceptionally fat blueberries. Meanwhile, the hearty Bluebell produces huge grapes that are nearly black. Bonus: if you’re a home brewer you can get great wine out of any of these varieties.

Golden Hops

Speaking of stuff you add to brews, golden hops are also an option. It’s so named for the golden tint on its leaves. It grows really fast, so it’s a good plant to consider if you don’t want to wait too long for pergola plant bliss.

Bleeding Heart

A distinctive shape and a range of colors from blazing scarlet to pale pink, each streaked with a creamy white center, means the Bleeding Heart has “visual interest” written all over it. A great flower if your pergola happens to sit in the shade.

What about you?

What kinds of flowers would you add to your custom-built pergola? Let us know in the comments below!

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