A climbing plant can be the perfect addition to gardens that have empty space that needs filling up. There are two main types of climbing plant - a deciduous climber and evergreen plants. If you're looking for year-round growth and colour, you should opt for a semi-evergreen or evergreen climber wall shrubs. You will also need to know what surface you are planting your climber to, as different climber plants grow better on some surfaces and don't grow well on others. Climber plants, as the name suggests, tend to climb up surfaces like walls, fences and on trellis. Some even have aerial roots that sprout above the well-drained soil. Some climbers are less inclined to climb and are considered creepers because they spread rather than climb. Buy today with Gardeners Dream and get free UK delivery.
When deciding on the climber for your garden, you will need to consider the following;
The surface you're looking to attach the plant to, e.g. a house, a fence, a wall, etc.
What soil type you have (is it well drained soil, a bit chalky, etc.)
What sunlight is available to the plants (full sun, partial sun, fully shaded, etc.)
Whether you want intriguing foliage or beautiful flowers (or both)
The surface type is particularly important as some climbers and creepers are wholly inappropriate for some surfaces. Attaching a vigorous climbing plant to a wall could even cause damage.
When climbers twine, they need to wrap around surfaces and are best used on fences and trellis structures.
Because walls have none of the nooks and crannies needed for twining stems to latch onto, they make poor surfaces to grow twining climbers on.
In short if you're looking to use a twining climber, don't try to grow it against a wall or solid structure.
You should be extremely careful when planting vigorous or invasive plants against walls or property.
Vigorous climbers can penetrate the actual structure of the wall and cause costly damage.
Some species of climber can even devalue your property and aren't suitable for planting against any permanent structure (such as a house or wall). Even if they have pretty flowering blooms, it's not worth the damage caused!
Once you have decided the surface that you want to grow your climbing plant against, you can start to home in on the plants that will be best for best gardens.
You will also need to consider the amount of sunlight your back garden gets, as depending on the location, you may need plants that do well in sun or prefer darkness.
Common popular flowering choices for back gardens are;
Evergreen star jasmine
Roses (climbing varieties)
If you're worried about the amount of sun your plants will get, or you are concerned that frost could become an issue, there are a number of plants that do well in the winter. These tend to be evergreen rather than deciduous.
Some examples climbing plants for winter of these are;
If you grow climbers and you are wanting plants that do well during the winter, you should look for plants that are frost resistant.
Honeysuckle is particularly good if you want to grow climbers during the winter as it is frost resistant to -15 degrees Celsius.
Honeysuckle is also very hardy and does well in full sun and shade conditions - it's one of the more versatile flowers.
Don't be worried if you're looking to plant a climber against a wall, as there are a number of wall shrubs that are suitable for walls.
These wall shrubs grow best against stone rather than wood structures.
Examples of these are;
Kentish Belle (abutilon)
Jaqueline Postill (daohne bholua)
Many flowering varieties do well on a north facing wall or in warm regions of the UK, with a mild winter and warm summer.
Twining stems like to grow around things (wrap around). This can be existing structures such as fences or trellis but also around other plants.
Some twining stemmed varieties self-cling to their own stems and improve their own robustness as they grow. Pruning may be a tough task.
In the UK, there are many highly regarded climbers, many of which have gorgeous foliage and stunning flowers.
Some properties look spectacular when shrouded in wisteria and it can be eye-catching to say the least seeing a house covered in beautiful flowers.
Examples of the most popular plants in the UK are;
Hydrangea anomala subsp
Below we outline some of the most popular plants in more detail.
Climbing hydrangea do well in a UK garden as they are relatively frost resistant and grow well in ground up to -10 degrees Celsius in winter.
They're a self-clinging plant and produce beautiful flower blooms.
Moist soil is good for hydrangea although they don't fare well in waterlogged soil, so be aware of this if you're garden gets boggy.
The sign of a generous gardener is one who keeps and cares for climbing roses.
Climbing roses can be very labour intensive and you're probably aware that many gardeners prize their roses.
Growing climbing roses can be incredibly rewarding and look absolutely wonderful but they can need regular pruning.
The best climbing roses for the UK are;
Parkdirektor Riggers (rosa)
Claire Austin (rosa)
A Shropshire Lad (rosa)
Roses produce flowers that attract wildlife as well, something that is beneficial to both your roses and other plants in your garden.
A great way to get colour all year round for your empty space in the garden is to plant evergreen climbers.
Unlike deciduous varieties, evergreen climbers will grow year-round as well which means that if you're looking for faster coverage of an area such as a trellis or a fence.
Great evergreen climbing plants for UK gardens are;
You may opt to get a semi evergreen climber, which can be either pure evergreen variants or a deciduous climber.
For example, honeysuckle variants can be either depending on which type you choose.
Here are the most popular semi evergreen climbing plants;
Saucer vine is a perennial climber that is straightforward to grow and works well on most surfaces including wooden panels, walls, structures and arches.
It displays with purple flowers (bell-shaped) that are large and quite showy - although they have nothing on wisteria.
They are fast growing plants and can reach maximum height in as little as 5 years.
Sometimes flowers aren't the be all and end all, mainly because a plant will only display flowers for a certain amount of time each year - usually during the summer months.
If you want to grow climbers that hold interest for a longer period, even through winter, then interesting foliage is the way to go.
Perhaps our most favourite climbers are those with dark green leaves like ivy.
Ivy grows in the wild in the UK and is an extremely easy grower. In fact, it grows so well that it also makes a fantastic houseplant!
When grown around trees or in the shade of trees, ivy really stands out, providing extra greenery to otherwise forgotten areas of gardens.
Ivy also loves growing in shade.
Most flowering climbing plants will bloom in the spring or summer.
You will need to look at the specific plants when deciding how and when they are best to plant. Don't panic - we can help you with this at Gardeners Dream. Just click on any variety that catches your eye to read more about when and how to plant it.
Most climbing plants are best to plant in spring or autumn.
Sometimes this doesn't mean that you should plant outdoors in spring though, and many plants require that you sow the seeds indoors (in pots) before moving them outside at a later point.
If you have sowed seeds indoors, most of them will be kept inside before you replant them from containers, outside into the ground in the late summer or early autumn.
On rarer occasions you can wait until the last frost has passed and put plants into the ground during the winter.
Of course, as with most plant types, you won't want to plant climbing plants into frozen ground, no matter how frost resistant they are. This is not just bad for the plant, but quite difficult for gardeners too - frozen ground is tough to dig up.
As mentioned earlier in our guide, ivy loves growing in most areas but thrives best of all in shaded areas.
You will want to ensure any shade loving climbing plants aren't exposed to full sun and summer can be problematic for plants that dislike hot sunshine.
Summer is the one season you should be especially careful of, especially if the shade loving plant is grown on a sun-facing surface.
The best plants for shaded areas are;
Trachelospermum star jasmine
You will notice that just because a plant likes shade, doesn't mean that it won't produce stunning flowers.
Both roses and hydrangeas bloom with stunning and colourful flowers.
If you're looking for a plant that will flower in the early months of spring, then clematis amandii 'Apple Blossom' is a wonderful evergreen climber that flowers in spring.
Other early spring bloomers;
Bougainvillea (bougainvillea spectablis)
If you're looking for plants that will cover a surface area but not necessarily climb, then you should look at plants that fall within the creepers category.
Creepers spread and grow in the same way as climbers but tend to take the path of least resistance (instead of working upwards against gravity). This can make pruning easier too.
Great examples of creepers to consider are;
Flower carpet roses
Lily of the Valley
Below we have outlined some of the most frequently asked questions about climbing plants, their blooms, foliage, and associated wildlife.
Clematis is widely considered to be the fastest growing climbing plant. They can grow astronomically fast and, in some cases, have been known to grow a tremendous 30 feet in a 6-month period.
Climbing roses or wisteria look stunning on trellis and spread well across the lattices of a wooden structure.
Climbers need something upright such as a mini-trellis or bamboo shoot to grow up when germinated in containers.
Initially, it is an excellent idea to plant climbers in small containers, but once established they need to have something substantial to attach to and grow further. They certainly won't produce beautiful blooms if confined to a pot.
Like a trellis, fences require climbers that can spread as well as grow upwards. If you want flowers then once again clematis and wisteria are a good option, especially if you want to cover the empty space between the slats.
Other climbers like vines and ivy do well on fences.