Upward Climbers

2nd February 2015

Climbing plants are a great way to add a vertical dimension to your garden – especially if you have limited space. They are also great for softening hard lines in the garden or on the exterior of your home. As an added bonus, climbing plants generally grow very quickly. This is because they have adapted in nature to grow quickly in spring to reach the sunlight, before the leaf cover of the tree against which they are growing has become too dense. Here are a few climbing plants to consider for your garden :
  • Mandevilla splendens – an evergreen climber with pretty white or pink flowers.
  • Pandorea Jasminoides – an evergreen climber with attractive pink or white flowers, quick growing, excellent climber and is ideal for containers.
  • Star Jasmine – a fast growing woody evergreen which produces dainty, star-shaped white flowers. It is less strongly scented than conventional garden jasmine.
  • Climbing roses – prefect for pergolas or patio areas where you want an attractive display of flowers.
  • Clematis – available in many species, this plant gets its name from the ancient Greek clématis, which means “climbing plant”.
Due to their climbing habit, these plants don’t have the benefit of dense leaf growth lower down. For this reason, it is essential to keep the soil and the roots well mulched. Use compost, peach pips, or a living mulch like a perennial groundcover. It’s tempting to plant a climbing plant right next to the wall or pillar which you want it to climb, but make sure that you always plant at least 30cm away from the solid structure, as the climber’s roots need enough space to develop optimally. Unless the climbing plant has suckers (such as ivy or creeping fig), you will need to provide climbing supports on the wall or pillar. Climbers in nature are used to having many tree branches to wrap their tendrils around on the way up. Experiment with trellises, steel wire cordons and galvanized steel hoops.