Slinky Garden Hack and Trellis for Climbing Vine

2 Materials
30 Minutes

I’m sharing a garden hack and my favorite flowering summer vine with a creative way to help it climb, using a Slinky!
A $3 Slinky provides an easy trellis as it wraps around a pole and hangs to the ground, allowing the leaf stems to grow around and through the Slinky.
Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) is a favorite easy-to-grow flowering summer annual and an excellent climber for a trellis or fence. No relation to Black-eyed Susan(Rudbeckia hirta), it climbs 8 to 10 feet in a single growing season, and up to 20 feet in frost-free areas, Zones 10 and 11.
This is my fourth summer planting Black-eyed Susan vine. It blooms all summer until frost, which is typically November here in North Carolina. Last year I planted it to climb up a  ladder as a trellis.The wood ladder lived a hard 4 years in the garden and was repaired twice before finally being laid to rest this spring.

This year I planted the vine on a 3 foot tuteur and trained it to climb up a birdhouse pole next to the tuteur with the help of a Slinky.
My birdhouse pole is 6 feet tall and 2 inches in diameter. I lifted the birdhouse from the pole (after I made sure no one was nesting in the birdhouse) and slid the Slinky over the pole.

The Slinky stretched easily back up to the top of the pole. I bent the end of the Slinky with pliers to wrap around a wood screw I placed on the base of the birdhouse. For added insurance, I added a cable tie attaching the end of the slinky to the screw and cut off the extra length.
I used cable ties at the bottom of the pole to secure the Slinky to the pole to keep from springing back up.
I guided the Black-eyed Susan vine over to the Slinky and watched it climb around and through the Slinky, up the pole.
What I like about this Slinky trellis is that the silver metal disappears to the eye so isn't obtrusive while the vine is growing.
Black-eyed Susan vine is long blooming, heat tolerant and doesn’t require deadheading. The most common varieties are yellow or orange, but you can find it available in other colors by seed.

It prefers full to part sun, with afternoon shade ideal here in the hot, sunny South. Water it until established and then weekly during the heat of the summer and you’ll be rewarded with blooms all summer long until frost! Blooms slow during the heat of summer, but pick back up in the fall.
I added the Slinky the end of June and the Black-eyed Susan vine climbed the 6 feet to the top of the pole in about 4 weeks time.
A pair of Carolina Wrens have since moved in and said they like curb appeal and landscaping the vine offers. :)
back of Slinky vine trellis on birdhouse pole
More photos and details of the chalkboard door and bees and flowers around the Potting Shed here.

Resources for this project:

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Kristy Williams Tillman
    on Aug 11, 2018

    Will it rust? Can it be used for more than one year? I’m thinking of perennial stuff. Love this idea! 💕

    • Jamie
      on Sep 6, 2018

      Kristy, They have off brand slink's that come in plastic, no need to worry about rust with these.

      You could even use this idea to grow cherry or Roma tomato's.

  • Gurmeet Kaur
    on Aug 27, 2018

    Never seen black eye Susie wine u plant seed where to buy and where can I buy slinky pls tell me.

    • C Chandler
      on Sep 2, 2018

      The dollar tree has slinky's in our town. Try there.. every things a dollar!

  • Lovesunique
    on Aug 29, 2018

    Far better than plastic netting and could even be called rustic. I'm in zone 9 and will try this vine. Do you think a sneaky cat could climb the pole using the vine and support of the slinky? My cat has been laying in wait for the humming birds coming to my flowers; so disgusted with him!

    • CC
      on Sep 2, 2018

      just plant some catnip in a big planter he will be so invigorated and happy with the catnip he will forget the birds lol.

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