Climbing Plants – Climbers produce some of the most magnificent floral displays of any plants. They can cover bare walls, fences, trellises and pergolas with sheets of bloom in every color in natures range. Yet even the largest and most rampant takes up an area of ground only the size of its trunk. Because climbers grow up first, then spread out, they actually expand the garden by growing on to otherwise blank walls or other suitable supports, leaving the beds tree for non-climbing plants.
Climbing plants will transform a bare wall and form a beautiful backdrop for your garden. Some climbers cling with suckers or aerial roots and need no support.
Virginia creeper and Boston ivy are sucker plants. Common ivy (take to it with the secateurs occasionally, otherwise it might raise the roof) and the spectacular trumpet vine, with its brightly colored trumpet-like flowers, have aerial roots. Some climbers twine their stems around a support and need a trellis or strong wire-mesh support. Examples are wisteria and the gloriously-scented Jasminum polyanthum (like common ivy, both need to be kept in check).
Many plants with long, arching stems, such as climbing roses, can be grown to cover a wall, but as they aren’t strictly climbers, they will need training and support. Decide whether you want a light cover or a heavy disguise. Some climbers such as Parrot’s beak feel their way delicately; others, Russian vine for instance, scramble over everything in sight. Most climbers are easily trained and generally grow fast so, whatever your choice, you’re sure to have a beautiful wall cover in a season or two. A large brick or stone wall can create an ideal microclimate for plants by excluding cold and strong winds, and radiating heat from the sun. Soften it with a partial covering.
Perfect in limited space
Climbers are a godsend for tiny gardens and courtyards, providing color and sometimes fragrance without intruding on the limited ground space. In any garden there can be awkward corners or passageways too narrow for shrubs. As the climber grows up and spreads over a wall, it will visually extend your garden.
Privacy and shelter
Climbers are more than just decorative, they’re practical, too. If you want more privacy or shelter from wind, a simple trellis could soon become a leafy screen and a sensational cascade of blooms. If summer shade is a priority, a climber-covered pergola makes a cool retreat – but choose deciduous types if you want winter sunshine.
Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’
With support, climbers will grow up and shade a hot, bare wall, cooling the interior noticeably. Some, such as Boston ivy and Virginia creeper, will climb walls without additional support and they’re deciduous, too, so you won’t miss out on winter warmth. Even if you want none of these things, you’re still bound to have a fence that needs hiding.
Most climbers flower in the warmer months, but there are winter bloomers, too, making dramatic displays possible all year. A very long show can be had by planting together a number of climbers that flower at different times. Choose plants of similar vigour that grow to about the same size, and include a couple of deciduous types. They will all intertwine and flower one after the other.