Climbing plants are vines…vines have a growth habit of climbing, sending out runners or trailing.
They twine or send out hooks, some will climb on their own, others need a support such as a wall, fence or host plant. Some vines will grow as shrubs if they cannot find suitable support.
Here in the UK vines are usually termed as climbers.
We invariably use ornamental climbers to add height and texture to an outdoor space, to cover a fence, wall, building or to add further colour to other plants such as trees and shrubs. Some vegetables plants are also classed as climbers, the most obvious and well-known are runner beans, cucumbers and grapevines.
There are lots of climbers to choose from for your garden,whether you are looking for colour, scent or cover or indeed all of these there is something available for every situation.
In fact, you could have climbers throughout each season, including evergreens and winter flowering ones.
So let’s look at some of the most popular choices and I will also introduce a couple of not so widely known plants that you may like to add to your gardens.
My Top Pick of Climbers.
These are a must for me, purely for quick growth and scent, they are easy to grow and to care for.
There are evergreens, winter flowering varieties that give wonderful bright colour and coverage.
- Jasmine nudiflorum ( winter jasmine ) is a vigorous, tough and reliable climber with masses of vivid yellow flowers. Easy to grow.
- Star Jasmine is highly scented, flowering from late winter right through spring and summer, the fragrance is what they are mainly grown for, again easy to grow and maintain and offer quick coverage.
Quintessentially English… For me a garden is not a garden without roses. These are a popular choice of climbing plant offering 100’s of beautiful varieties for every garden style and situation.
They bring an abundance of height, colour, and perfume to a garden.
Well maintained they will flower prolifically with a natural inclination to climb. Some are repeat flowering, giving pleasure throughout summer into autumn.Best Secateurs review
- Iceberg. Ideal for walls or fences Iceberg climbs to about 15ft. Repeat flowering it is a beautiful white rose with a sweet, light fragrance bearing large clusters of semi double blooms.
- Crimson Shower. This has small lightly scented blooms from mid summer through to at least September. It grows to about 15ft and is perfect for walls, fences, arches and pergolas.
Clematis is a genus of around 300 species, belonging to the Ranunculaceae family ( buttercup) and have been a staple in gardens for decades. There are new hybrid cultivars available every year. They originate mainly from China or Japan.
These are another popular choice of climbing plant for gardens, they grow and scramble happily over arches, walls, pergolas or fences. These are great partner plants that will climb through trees and shrubs too, they can also be grown in containers. You could have various clematis in flower each month! Clematis …How to Grow
- Winter Clematis Armandii is evergreen with creamy white flowers from late winter through into spring, highly scented.
- Both Clematis “Freckles” and “Winter Beauty” are winter flowering.
- Spring Clematis, Montana are really well-known and reliable. These are spring flowering in shades of pinks and mauve.
- Summer Clematis, again 100’s to choose from…Jackmani, Ville de Lyon, Taiga, Countess of Lovelace. Often flowering a second time after a light prune giving you a longer season.
- Autumn Clematis, these flower from mid summer through to September and Oct, bell like flowers, great for pots too, Princess Diana, Bill Mackenzie both are colourful and prolific flowering with pretty, fluffy seed heads.
Lonicera are highly scented ramblers, an old-fashioned style of plant, they are perfect in many situations.
They happily climb over pergolas, fences, arches and walls.
- Lonicera Halliana is a dark leafed evergreen bearing white flowers from spring into summer.
- Graham Thomas has a fabulous perfume…it drifts on a summer breeze…white/yellow flowers in summer.
Commonly known as the variegated leaf, hardy kiwi this is an unusual deciduous twining plant.
Plant in full sun to encourage the pink and white leaf variegation
Grown for its foliage is has bright green leaves with white and pink.
Campsis or Trumpet vine, these are vigorous, deciduous, perennial climbers.
Large trumpet shaped flowers of red, orange, yellows and apricots are borne in summer.
Ideal site to grow a Campsis is a warm south or southwest facing wall in moist but well-drained soil.
Fruit and Vegetables.
As mentioned earlier, there are also climbers within the world of vegetables and fruit. Runner beans, peas, cucumbers, grapevines and squash are just a few and as with ornamental climbing plants they offer interest, height and colour to the veg plot or greenhouse, not to mention delicious edibles too!
Lots of Choice.
There is so much choice of climbing plants and with careful maintenance, love and attention they will be a huge asset to any garden. Even if you have just a few containers, there is a climbing plant that will be suitable for your little space. Climbers add more interest and height.
Wildlife such as bees, butterflies and other pollinators love the open blooms that are full of nectar for these creatures. In established climbers it is not uncommon to find garden birds making their home within the foliage and stems.
I really hope that you find something here to spark your enthusiasm and give you motivation to try some climbing plants in your own beautiful outdoor space. Pergolas, obelisks and arches make for wonderful focal points in gardens, what could be better than having a variety of plants scrambling all over them. Choose plants for different seasons and you will have colour and interest all year round.
Scented plants are best located by seating areas or somewhere that you will be passing regularly so that you can benefit from their lovely perfumes. There is nothing better than walking along a garden path and inhaling delicious scents as you brush by clematis, roses or honeysuckles for example.