10 Best Climbing Vegetable Plants

The best trellis vegetable plants for your garden

If you’d like to grow your own vegetables but have limited space, why not try growing your vegetables vertically?

Climbing vegetable plants are great for growing on trellises, arbors, pergolas and fences.

Here are 10 easy to grow climbing vegetables to maximize your garden space.

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climbing vegetable plants in the garden


1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables for beginner gardeners to grow and they look great growing up a trellis or wire frame.

There are many different varieties to choose from including small cherry and grape tomatoes to large beefsteak tomatoes.

The large varieties will need sturdy support because the plants will become heavy when they’re laden with fruit.

Tomato plant

2. Cucumber

Cucumbers are popular climbing vegetables that are ideal for a vertical garden.

Growing cucumbers on a trellis makes them easier to harvest and they’re less likely to be affected by pests and diseases.

It’s a good idea to harvest cucumbers regularly to avoid the plant becoming too heavy.

If there are too many fruits left on the vine, the plant will stop fruiting.

climbing cucumber plants

3. Beans

Beans are an easy vegetable crop to grow vertically on a trellis.

Runner beans are a popular choice or you could also try yard long beans or golden wax beans.

It’s best to pick beans while they’re small and tender, because they can become stringy and tough if left on the vine for too long.

Bean plants

4. Snowpeas

Snow peas are a cool season vegetable that are fairly frost tolerant.

They can be grown on a trellis, wire or netting and produce an abundance of vegetables.

Snow peas can be added to salads, lightly steamed or added to stir fries.

RELATED: 15 Frost Tolerant Vegetable Plants


5. Bitter Melon

Bitter melon is from the same family as cucumbers, squash and watermelon.

They’re an easy to grow climbing vegetable that is great for a trellis or pergola.

Bitter melons grow best in tropical or subtropical climates and they need full sun.

Bitter melons grow to about 8 inches (20 cm) in length and each plant produces about 10 to 12 fruits.

As their name suggests, bitter melons are very bitter and they’re an acquired taste. They can be added to soups and stir fries.

RELATED: How To Grow Bitter Melons Vertically

Bitter melon climbing plant

6. Chayote

Chayote, also known as choko or mirliton squash, is a small pear shaped climbing vegetable.

They grow best in warm tropical or sub-tropical climates and each plant can produce between 50 to 100 fruits, so one plant is enough for an average family. [1]

Chayotes are best picked when they are young because the skin toughens as the fruits grow larger.

Chayotes can be steamed or boiled and taste similar to marrow.

Chayote vegetable

7. Pumpkin

Small pumpkins can be grown on a trellis but they’ll need a sling or hammock made from pantyhose or an old piece of clothing to support their weight.

Some pumpkin vines can reach up to 20 feet (6 metres) long but they can be pruned to keep them manageable.

RELATED: How To Grow Pumpkins Vertically

grow pumpkin vertically

8. Gourd

There are many different types of gourds including ornamental gourds, edible gourds and vegetable sponge gourds.

Gourds grow best in warm areas and can take up to 5 to 6 months to mature.

The vines can grow up to 40 feet (12 metres) long but they should be pruned back when they reach 10 feet (3 metres) long to encourage them to spread out.

Gourds look great growing over a pergola or arbor.

Ornamental gourds should be harvested when they are fully ripe, otherwise they won’t cure.

RELATED: 12 Ornamental Vegetable Plants

climbing gourd plants

9. Luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca)

Luffa, also known as loofah or sponge gourd, is an interesting climbing plant that has many different uses.

The fruits can be eaten when they’re young and tender or they can be left to mature on the vine to create natural sponges.

Once the fruits reach maturity, the skin is peeled off to reveal the fibrous tissue inside which can be used to exfoliate the skin.

Luffa plants grow best in warm climates and they need sturdy support because the vines can grow up to 30 feet (9 metres) long. [2]

luffa vine on a trellis

10. Malabar spinach (Basella alba)

Malabar spinach, also known as climbing spinach, is a creeping vine that is ideal for growing on a trellis.

It’s a popular leafy green vegetable in Indian cuisine and it can be propagated from seeds or cuttings.

Malabar spinach can be grown as a perennial in warm climates or treated as an annual in areas that receive frosts.

climbing spinach plants

How to grow climbing vegetables

There are many different ways to grow climbing vegetables:

climbing vegetable plants on a trellis

So there is my list of the best climbing vegetables to grow vertically.

Training vegetables to grow up trellises, walls or fences is a great way to maximize your garden space.

Growing vegetable plants off the ground also helps with air circulation and can prevent diseases and pests from attacking your crop.

Here’s a handy video to show you how to make a few different DIY trellises for climbing vegetables.


Have you tried growing any of these climbing vegetables in your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Vegetable Gardening and Climbing Plants that you may enjoy. You can also find me on Facebook.

climber vegie plants

Trellis vegetable plants for your garden

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Scott J DeNicola

    Years ago we grew a pumpkin in our yard and let it die in the dirt. It wound up decomposing and the seeds then went into the ground and the next year we had a mini pumpkin field. I’ve grown all of these vegetables in my yard before with the exception of Chayote and bitter melon. Tomatoes are always a good grower as are cucumbers for me. Great list.

  2. Dreams Abroad

    Thank you for this veggie list! I’m a rather new gardener and lucked out putting up trellises that my vegetables liked the first few years, however last year I grew flowering vines and they took over the vegetables. I will have to pull them out and start over.

  3. Thuy

    My family basically raised us on bitter melons and a couple years ago they started growing their own. I really like eating raw tomatoes myself

  4. Subhashish Roy

    This post of yours made me so happy and took me back years to my childhood home where we had a huge garden with all vegetables being grown. And all these eight vegetables were invariably there.

  5. Melanie williams

    This is fab, I always keep thinking about growing my own vegetables. I would love to do this because then you know exactly what you are eating xx

  6. Lindsay Brown

    I always do well with growing tomatoes, for some reason tomatoes just love the trellis set up I have in my beds. This year my cucumbers didn’t do so well, but I heard that Alberta had a rough year for cucs all around so I don’t think it was just me (or so I hope lol) There were a couple veggies on your list that I hadn’t heard of like bitter melon – looks interesting for sure! But I’m not sure it would grow in our cold Canadian climate!

    Great informative post on climbing veggies!

  7. Sonia Seivwright

    I love tomatoes and cucumbers. My mum has always wanted to start growing vegetables. I will encourage her to grow some of these climbing vegetables.

  8. daphne takahashi

    My parents-in-law are Japanese and they grow the bitter melon at home. It is widely consumed in Japan and a really good climbing vegetable plant.

  9. Your post has inspired me to add a trellis for Spring to grow some tomatoes and cucumbers. With limited planting space I’ve shied away from attempting to grow vegetables but your post reminded me of an area that I could add in some vertical plants. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Charlene

    I have a large trellis and I would like to grow multiple veggies up one trellis. What grows well on the same trellis without cross pollinating?

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