Why use a climbing plant?
Climbing plants are great for covering walls, fences and unsightly features. A wooden or metal trellis, or even just wire laid out in horizontal lines or in a lattice pattern, can be used to train the plants onto and provide a support for them to grown onto.
Climbers can also be grown up and along an arch or pergola to create a pretty garden feature, and can work really well in dividing a garden or highlighting a bench.
Obelisks and free standing plant supports can be used with a climber to add structure and interest to a garden border.
They are great for small gardens as they take up very little ground space. Even on a balcony or a small patio, potted climbers can still be a part of your outdoor space, grown up trellis or railings.
Popular climbing plants and which to choose:
If you are after a wonderful scent jasmine, honeysuckle, roses and some varieties of wisteria will deliver.
For colour, clematis are clear winners, they are easy to grow and there are lots of varieties in ever so many colours – white, blue, purple and pink in many different shades and shapes. Some are vigorous growers and others compact climbers, choose a type to suit your needs.
Wisteria and Ivy offer a strong dense layer of shelter and protection for wildlife. Once the stems thicken enough they also form secure nesting sites for birds. Honeysuckle and clematis are beneficial for wildlife too, giving a great source of nest building materials and attracting a wealth of insects, especially bees.
Generally climbers prefer to have their roots in the shade so they can keep cool and moist, adding some bark or stones around the base can help.
Regular tying, using string or garden ties is key to training the climber to grow in the required direction and maximises coverage of the area.
If planting against a wall or fence, a rain shadow could be created, plant at least 30cm away. Check and water regularly to make sure it isn’t too dry, especially when first planted.
Contrary to popular belief, ivy is unlikely to damage a sound wall. Although, caution should be taken when it (or any climbing plant) is climbing into gutters or around pipes.