We’re really super proud of our Clematis ‘Jackmanii’. Every year it climbs a trellis that stretches up about 12 feet, all the way from the ground to the roof gutters.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ 

This past weekend I cut back the ‘Jackmanii’ vines, which revealed an unpleasant truth: while our Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is a beauty, the trellis it grows on is a mess.


This should not be too surprising. The trellis was put up by a guy named Eddie. Eddie was capable, cheerful, and honest – but this sort of job was really not in his area of expertise, as general as that expertise is.


His trellis was made of crisscrossed wooden lath fencing. It looked ok initially, but it is not holding up well. What we need is something sturdy and sleek and not so ramshackle.

Also, something tall. Which raises the question, why are so many of the trellises sold in garden centers uselessly short? How many vines are there that only grow to 6′ or less? Not many, in my experience, or at least I haven’t bought many.

Photo from Gardener’s Supply Company. Our garden looks NOTHING like this. 

So anyhow, I went searching on the internet for a reasonably tall trellis. Before too long, I found the Panacea Giant Wall Trellis on the Gardener’s Supply website. I would call it an adequate, not a giant, wall trellis. It’s 9 feet tall, sufficient but not quite as tall as I’d like.  It’s also 2 and a half feet wide, which means I’ll probably need 3 of them.

Our ‘Jackmanii’ stretching up to the heavens.

Now at last we can have a more suitable trellis to display Clematis ‘Jackmanii’. Ironically, though, this year our ‘Jackmanii’ might not be so hale and hearty. Construction of the new driveway narrowed the root run, and I’m not sure how that will impact the plant. Hopefully any diminution will be temporary.

In any case, I’m looking forward to installing the new trellis. It comes with brackets for attaching to the wall, so you don’t need to set it in concrete or anything like that.

What’s the tallest trellis in your garden?

42 Comments on “Climbing a Trellis to Heaven”

  1. Funny you should write about taller trellises. I am in need of taller trellises too. My tallest is not tall at all maybe 6 ft. I have a Jackmanii that balls up on itself on a mere 5′ trellis. Best of luck with your trellis replacement.

  2. Gonna be gorgeous, Jason! I watched the video on Gardeners Supply website. Do you, too, plan to maintain all 9′ aboveground by not sinking the posts into the soil and just wall mounting it? Seems as if two panels would do the job, three would extend beyond wall? Hope the excavation during the paver project didn’t damage this happy clematis! My tallest trellis is a 4′ by 8′ but it loses a foot when I put it in the ground. Good luck with your project. I look forward to the post on installation.

  3. I’ve noticed the same thing~trellises and arches are woefully small and flimsy. Most of the tuteurs I’ve found are, too. You are right to be proud of this magnificent clematis! Beautiful. Since the trellis you found is wall-mounted, perhaps you could mount it a bit higher in the middle section, to gain another foot or two?

  4. I remember those flowers. Who could forget them? It might not work because of the plant’s nature, but since the trellis is wall mounted, could you gain a foot or two of height by rigging up something at the bottom for the plants to climb until they get to the trellis itself?

  5. I do not work with trellises, but my colleague here does. Some are pretty shoddy. Fortunately, the vines that are on them are mostly docile. Some climb into adjacent trees. The biggest vine is an unknown grapevine (dago wisteria) that I strung from a split rail fence at the top of a high retaining wall to another iron fence on a building across the way. Yes, it is pretty shoddy too, but I sort of like it. I don’t know how it will get pruned next year.

  6. Hello Jason, I’ve always been jealous of your Jackmanii Clematis from the first time I saw it, it’s just so eye-arrestingly beautiful. I agree the majority of trellis is useless and the hight advertised (short as it is) also tends to include the bit you need to sink into the ground. I wonder if a more custom trellis would be better – made of very tall fence posts (concreted in), braced across the top and infilled with wire mesh or wire runs?

  7. Your Clematis looks indeed heavenly, absolutely gorgeous.
    My highest trellis is only about 4 feet tall and it’s not enough for the Wisterias that grow in containers, but it’s ok, because the plants must be moved indoors for the winter and also the trellis is stored indoors. 🙂
    Soon it’s March, yippee! Happy gardening!

  8. Hi Jason .. I am glad you found suitable ones and at a price that doesn’t make you cringe I hope ?
    That is my problem here .. trellises cost a fortune .. I am always on the look out for them so some of my clematis can really stretch out .. I usually have them going sideways .. I have a nice purple one against the side of the house in a raised bed (this morning my brain refuses to remember the name of it of course) but that is how I got around the need for it to “run” .. a sideways course ? LOL
    Gorgeous Jackmanii.
    I do have the President running up the frame of a dead lilac tree .. so that was another problem solver.

  9. I love the clematis and the new trellises. I have 3 – 8 foot long trellises with confederate jasmine growing on them. I used 4 ft high iron fence sections turned on their ends and had a fence company install posts and weld the fence sections to the posts. They are strong and I have no worries that they’ll be too flimsy. And the best part is that I got the fence sections nearly free. The only cost was getting the fence company to install them. The trellises, with the evergreen jasmine, shade a section of my house that gets direct sun all summer. I couldn’t be happier with it.

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