A homemade trellis for clematis

Updated February 21, 2017

The clematis plant is a flowering vine that has over 400 different species. Since they grow upward, the plants need a vertical support system such as a wall or fence to grip as they grow. When one of these structures is not available, a sturdy trellis can be used. You can purchase a trellis at home and garden centres, or you can make one. You may already have many of the items you need to construct a clematis trellis.

Lay two 6-foot long pieces of galvanised pipe parallel to each other on the ground, spaced approximately 3 to 4 feet apart.

Lay a wire tomato cage on its side and use wire cutters or tin snips to cut the wires from the top to the bottom. Make the cuts as close to one of the vertical wires as possible so that the horizontal wires stick out on the sides.

Unroll the tomato cage and bend it with your hands until it lies flat on the ground. Lay the flattened tomato cage between the two poles (the pipes) so that each side of the cage touches the poles. Push the cage up towards one end of the poles to allow for the other ends of the poles to be inserted into the soil.

Look at the poles and use a marker to draw a small line where each of the horizontal wires on the tomato cage touches the poles.

Put on safety glasses and insert a 1/4-inch drill bit into a drill. Drill a hole into each marker location so that the hole extends only through one side of the pipe.

Place one pole 6 to 12 inches behind the clematis plant and pound it at least 1 foot into the ground with a hammer.

Insert the other pole beside the first one in the same manner, making sure that the holes all face toward the clematis plant and that they are spaced apart the same width as the tomato cage.

Pick up the tomato cage and insert the horizontal wires on one side into the holes in one of the poles. Bend the cage slightly until you can insert the horizontal wires on the other side into the holes on the other pole.

Wrap 8- to 10-inch pieces of gardening tape loosely around the clematis vine every 1 foot and tie them in a knot behind the trellis. Once the vines begin to wrap around the trellis, you can cut off the tape.


Instead of purchasing new galvanised pipe, you can use leftover poles from a chain link fence. If you want to make the trellis shorter, cut the lengths of the pipe down as desired, using a reciprocating saw and a metal cutting blade.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 galvanised pipes, 6-feet long
  • Tomato cage
  • Tin snips or wire cutters
  • Marker
  • Safety glasses
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Hammer
  • Gardening tape
  • Scissors
  • Reciprocating saw (optional)
  • Metal cutting blade (optional)
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.