Slinky Garden Hack and Trellis for a Favorite Flowering Vine

Favorite garden hack for a climbing vine: Use a Slinky as a trellis in the garden!

I’m sharing my favorite flowering summer vine and a creative way to help it climb that I discovered, with a Slinky!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information see my disclosure policy.

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 with 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.

The Slinky hack is one I discovered in Garden Gate Magazine in the readers’ tips section. Incidentally, if you have a garden tip, you can submit to Garden Gate, and if published, receive $25. You can also ask questions and get help with a design challenge.

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 residing 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 keep from springing back up.

What I like about this Slinky trellis is that the silver metal disappears to the eye while the vine is growing.


I guided the Black-eyed Susan vine over to the Slinky and watched it climb around and through the Slinky.


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.

You can also see a pink Morning Glory that volunteered and is intertwined with the Black-eyed Susan.



A pair of Carolina Wrens have since moved in and said they like curb appeal and landscaping the vine offers.


The garden has been thirsty and benefiting from our much-needed 3 inches of rain we received last week.


Mother Nature has been fickle over the last couple of weeks, with areas around us flooding while we wait for rain headed our way and then watch the system magically part like the Red Sea and go around us, leaving us dry.

I was happy to have a break from lugging the hose and have some relief from the heat.

We’re heating back up this week with the heat index in 100+ degree range with the humidity.

Some of the Limelight Hydrangea blooms are the size of footballs!

More than 300 million Slinkys have been sold since its introduction in 1945.

I found my Slinky on Amazon for $3.

Here’s a little history of the Slinky. I apologize in advance if you can’t get the jingle out of your head. ;)

“It’s Slinky, It’s Slinky. The favorite of girls and boys. Everyone wants a Slinky.”

Chalking It Up to Bees and Flowers Around the Potting Shed, here.

As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you purchase anything through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Slinky Garden Hack: Use a Slinky as a support and trellis for a climbing vine! #garden #trellis #hack #flower  #vine #blackeyedsusan ©

Thank you for your visit, sharing with:

 Metamorphosis Monday

  75 comments for “Slinky Garden Hack and Trellis for a Favorite Flowering Vine

  1. August 6, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Mary, Everyone wants a Slinky now after seeing it in your garden! Genius and thanks for the step by step photos showing it as it grows. I’m loving those big beautiful hydrangea blooms too!

  2. Vicky
    August 6, 2018 at 7:35 am

    I’m going out to buy a good supply of Slinky’s today! Thanks for the great idea!

  3. Linda GOODYEAR
    August 6, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Great idea Mary!!

  4. Granny Gay:)
    August 6, 2018 at 7:50 am

    What a neat idea for all vines…thanks again for sharing, Mary….off to buy a slinky!

  5. August 6, 2018 at 7:51 am

    If “Everyone didn’t want a SLINKY” before they read your piece, they will now!! Thank you for an informative PSA!! Your gardens look wonderful even with a slight drought!! I too am a hose lugger! HAPPILY! 🦋🍄🌺🌻🌸🌼

  6. August 6, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Brilliant Mary, I love this idea! I remember the Slinky and the jingle in the commercials, and yes, it will play a loop in my head now all morning :)

    • Charlitte
      August 12, 2022 at 12:39 pm

      I’m surprised the slinky doesn’t get hot and burn your vines. I’m not sure this would work in southern Nevada. But love how it looks in your yard.

  7. Coleen
    August 6, 2018 at 8:02 am

    How clever and perfect!

  8. August 6, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Mary, most of the blogs I follow are beautiful and entertaining. Yours is the most informative!

  9. August 6, 2018 at 8:16 am

    That’s a great idea!!! I love my black-eyed Susan vines, but have only been growing them up a boring old trellis!

  10. August 6, 2018 at 8:17 am

    A slinky! That’s a great idea for encouraging a trailing vine! How neat to have a blooming vine going up to your birdhouse. Will the black eyed susan vine come back next year?
    I think a wren family is in my blue bird box again. They built one year in my walking iris plant on my porch and it was fun to watch them.
    All your plants look heathy despite the drought. Glad you got some rain. We have been at the beach this week but my rain gauge showed 2 1/2 inches.
    Your limelights look so pretty. Blossoms as big as footballs are amazing! Lovely photos.I love the butterfly on your limelight.

  11. Barb Zuleski
    August 6, 2018 at 8:28 am

    We love your slinky vine trick, I am sharing it with my garden club this evening… thank you!

  12. Cristy Bennett
    August 6, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Happy to see you are growing your black-eyed Susan vine this year…cool idea using a slinky! It is beautiful! As I shared with you earlier this summer, I planted two of these vines (yellow flower) this year after seeing your post from last year. Each are on their own obelisk trellis. I love the vertical height each gives in my garden. They are doing well in spite of our heat and drought conditions here in Michigan. Glad to learn that the flowers are affected by the heat. I have been thinking I need to fertilize more. Thank You for sharing your green thumb talents and inspiring garden ideas!

  13. Rita C.
    August 6, 2018 at 8:43 am

    This is so brilliant, thank you for sharing! ♫♪It’s slinky, it’s slinky…..♪♫ oy, it’s stuck.
    Also brilliant is that photo capture of the wren tiptoeing onto the ledge outside the birdhouse entry! Love that!

  14. Nancy
    August 6, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Thank you for your wonderful ideas. I just received a beautiful trellis with copper ornamentation on top this weekend. The black-eyed Susan is a good suggestion, and I really like the slinky idea.

  15. August 6, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Wow Mary, that jingle sure brought back memories of the slinky!! What a great idea of using the slinky for helping the vine climb. I need to remember the black-eyed Susan vine since it is heat tolerant. I love seeing the Carolina wrens that have taken up residence in pretty birdhouse…I don’t blame them!! May you have a happy week of gardening, Mary. xx

  16. Pam Schrantz
    August 6, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Thanks for the awesome idea and photos!!

  17. Cyndi Raines
    August 6, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Thank You! What an awesome idea! Next time to town, I’ll be stopping at Target. My Morning Glory vine is doing great, love the Heavenly Blue version. I was too late this year to purchase the Black-eyed Susan vine, they were all gone, but I really enjoyed last year’s and discovering the deep hole in the center of the flower! Note to self for next year, get to the greenhouses a bit earlier so I can purchase a bright yellow version. Thanks Mary, Love the little wren!

  18. August 6, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Simply a brilliant idea! Love your black-eyed susan vine. You have given me great inspiration for another year ~ thank you!

  19. August 6, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Brilliant tip…love it. All the lushness you have must be hard to deal with for dry weather. We, too have had rain all around us for a month. TODAY, first measurable rain since the 4th of July…YAY!

  20. Donna Milazzo
    August 6, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Another use for Slinky! One I’ve heard is to attach them on the pole beneath a bird feeder. The squirrels can’t climb the pole and watching them try is entertaining. I have to move my Black-eyed Susan vine because mine was too close to my bird feeder and giving the rats a way to get on them. Maybe I’ll give this a try in another location. Thanks as always for the inspiration and stay cool!

    • Sandy
      February 21, 2021 at 10:03 am

      My squirrels climb right up the slinky to the bird feeder! Brats!

  21. Nancy
    August 6, 2018 at 11:38 am

    What a great hack! Thank you for all the info on the black eyed Susan vine. I have never grown one but now you have peeked my interest and it’ll be on next years list. I also adore your tuteur with the little watering can man on top. Where did you find such a treasure? I so enjoy your blog, all the gorgeous pictures, and wonderful tips, like slinky’s, that you share.

  22. Betty Butkiewicus
    August 6, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Mary what a great idea. I use it on my bird feeders, trying to keep the squirrel’s from raiding.

  23. Betsy
    August 6, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Everyone at the Slinky factory will be wondering why sales suddenly increased!

    I am in complete envy of the beautiful hydrangea blooms! Our hydrangea season is over thanks to multiple weeks In triple digit heat. Always my favorite flower in the yard and in arrangements; yours are gorgeous!

  24. August 6, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Great idea and fantastic post!

  25. Linda
    August 6, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I’ve loved Slinkys for as long as I can remember! Your idea for the garden is great! I want to try it! I’ll have to have two – one to train vines on and one to play with! Thanks for you post – I like the Blak-eyed Susan vine.

  26. Laurie
    August 6, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Just brilliant!!🌺🌸

  27. Kathy M
    August 6, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    What a great idea for using a slinky for climbing vines. Glad you got some rain. We got about eight inches all told in Greensboro but now the sun has returned along with alot of heat
    and humidity. The weeds are loving it. More info on the blacked eyed Susan vine. Check around the area they were planted last year. I always find volunteers and have dug and moved them successfully. Also quite easy to start from seed . Great plant and so heat tolerant.

  28. Cathy Wright
    August 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    When will you order your seeds for next year?

    • August 6, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Hi Cathy, I bought a small plant from a nursery in April, but seeds are available here:

      • August 6, 2018 at 5:05 pm

        I would order seeds next spring and plant them when the threat of frost is over.

      • Cathy Wright
        August 8, 2018 at 6:09 pm

        Thanks Mary!

  29. August 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    I remember how amazing your black-eyed Susan vine was last year! It is truly amazing, as is your ladder trellis with all of the watering cans! I love that slinky idea! That was such a creative idea! Next year I can garden as our backyard construction will be finished!

  30. August 6, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Such a fun post, slipping back into my childhood, great bird shots, stunning garden and clever tricks, what’s not to love! At least you get rain, ca never gets rain until late fall, I am dragging daily, Scott gets a new sprinkler station working and I then plant a new area with no water, I never get ahead of this water game!

  31. Sheran
    August 6, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Love your post! And what an awesome picture of the bird ‘stepping out’ of his house!
    The butterfly with the limelight hydrangea is also stunning.

  32. August 6, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    I have a purple bean vine growing up and pole and now across the deck railing! This is my first year having it. My neighbor has the black eyed susan vine in yellow and I love it and will try it next year too. Thanks for the idea of the slinky!

  33. August 7, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Mary, your black eyed Susan vine is just beautiful, the color is divine. I haven’t heard of the slinky trick, but it certainly works. Next year this vine will be added to my garden. I will be singing the song for the rest of the day😊. A walk through your garden is always pure pleasure with so many lush plants. Your limelights are thriving and they remain a favorite of mine. Your wren capture is amazing. I am so glad you received rain. We had a lot of rain last week and extremely hot weather that followed. I think I am ready for autumn. Thank you for joining Gardens Galore. Have a wonderful week❤️

  34. Sharon
    August 7, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Oh gosh, that will be in my head all day!! What a great idea I’m going to go out and get some slinkies for next year. This was the first year I didn’t have a black eyed susan vine, miss them. I’ll be ready for next year Your garden is always inspiring, I’m steeling your ladder and watering can idea !

  35. Linda L Hovgaard
    August 7, 2018 at 11:25 am

    What a “fun” post! I didn’t get a black-eyed Susan vine in this year and I miss it. Can’t wait to try the slinky hack. I remember getting a slinky when I was a child and just loving it! You brought back great memories and now I can get another slinky and use it as an adult…how fun. What a summer……I live in Oregon and this is the dryest, hottest summer I can remember. I can relate to lugging those hoses around…..better get out there now. Thanks for always making my day with your posts.

  36. Marie in AZ
    August 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    What a great tip! Love it!

  37. August 8, 2018 at 6:27 am

    A slinky?!!…genius!…I think I shall definitely plant the Black-eyed Susan vine in the next house. I did not have much luck with the Confederate Jasmine in the last one….your gardens are truly beautiful and lush…we have been having lots of rain here lately…and every time I see your little garden makes me smile!! Have a great day Mary!

  38. Barbara Hearn Hearn
    August 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I loved all the flowers and the birds, but the thing that caught my eye was your adorable dogs. Are they poodles?? They are just so cute!

    • August 8, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Thank you Barbara, no they’re Bichons 🐾🐾😀

  39. Cyndi
    August 13, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Wow! What a STUNNING garden! We just bought our forever home in December, I hope to have a beautiful again one day.

  40. Colleen Morton
    August 25, 2018 at 5:21 am

    Thank you for sharing. I will be going to get some this weekend. What a great ide.

  41. Nancy
    August 26, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Nobody has a garden that rivals the beauty and creativity of yours! I love seeing your posts!

  42. June 12, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    I recently bought a pink one. I just might buy another one in a different color.

  43. Debi McCready
    June 13, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Thank you the slinky idea. This is the mosr beauyiful garden I have ever seen.

  44. Lin
    August 1, 2019 at 9:17 am

    What a terrific idea, the slinky. I also love the watering cans on the ladder with the vines. Thanks so much for sharing!

  45. Melanie Ulrich
    August 1, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Love it ! I’m going to share this idea with a friend or two. Although it may be to late this year I’m first online for a slinky for next year!

  46. Michele A. Tatro
    August 1, 2019 at 11:07 am

    You have created a beautiful garden of Eden!

  47. Lucinda Michael
    August 3, 2019 at 9:52 am

    I love your slinky idea for climbing vines. Too bad it does not work for cucumbers or squash since they produce heavy fruit. I sent this article to my sistdr

  48. Jai
    February 28, 2020 at 1:09 am

    What creativity you possess! I love it & I’m going to dig out my children’s long forgotten Slinkys. What inspiration you share. Thank you for bringing smiles to my face and others you inspire. Blessings to you and yours.

  49. March 1, 2020 at 7:26 am

    Been in my home for a year i wanna make it beautiful in my back yard all.these pictures has gave me ao many idea. Love them .. Thanks

  50. Janet Jory
    April 15, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Lovely. Do you buy plants or seeds. I would love to copy this idea.

    • April 15, 2020 at 11:11 am

      You can do either. Seeds are easier to find and more readily available than plants.🌼

  51. Barb
    May 18, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Your garden is so beautiful and picturesqe. Love it!!

  52. July 31, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    This is so clever!! Can’t wait til next year to try it!

  53. Sandra Lee
    August 24, 2020 at 9:57 am


  54. Sandy
    March 26, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Could you share where you purchased that sweet garden tuteur with the gardening lady?

  55. Sharon Caulineau
    April 4, 2021 at 9:03 am

    Love this idea! I will be using it is several places this year. I think the Dollar Tree carries Slinkys. Blessings, Sharon

  56. Susan Warren
    April 9, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    I had to laugh when I saw your slinky. We use a slinky on the shepherd pole to keep the squirrels away from the feeder. They are an amazing toy. So glad I grew up during the period they were popular!

  57. April 10, 2021 at 9:47 am

    Sending this to my gardening husband, daughter that liketo garden like thier dad.

  58. April 10, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Sending this to my gardening husband and our gardening daughters. appreciate your clever affordable ideas1

  59. Kathy
    May 10, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    So happy you shared this! We have a satellite pole we want to cover with a climbing flower vine and this will work perfectly!

  60. Kim
    August 1, 2021 at 4:53 am

    This is a great idea! I was wondering how the slinky is holding up after a few years?

  61. Ashley
    April 28, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    When starting out the vining black eyed Susan’s.. how many seeds did you plant? The packages I found have 20 seeds!

    • April 28, 2022 at 4:35 pm

      Hi, Plant 2 – 3 seeds in each hole, they may not all germinate. Once they do, leave the healthiest plant and pinch off or cut the others to the ground. I would plant them in several spots around by your Slinky or trellis. You can start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the average last frost, and plant outside once all danger of frost has passed and night temperatures remain above 50F. Soaking the seeds in warm water overnight before sowing will speed germination. Happy planting!

  62. Jenny Bellamy 😊🌞
    August 12, 2022 at 9:49 am

    Hello Mary, I’m a newbie to your AMAZING garden. And the slinky idea? Pure genius. Thanks for giving a blow by blow account of how that Susan loves the slinky. New plant name. It’s a Slinky Susan!

  63. Kim
    August 12, 2022 at 10:42 am

    What a clever idea. I have a vine that taking over I have put up stakes for them to climb on besides my fence. Off to the store I go. Thank you

Leave a Reply to SheranCancel reply

Discover more from Home is Where the Boat Is

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading

%d bloggers like this: