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What is a climbing plant?
A climbing plant is one which has a mechanism for attaching itself to walls and structures to enable it to scramble upwards. Some of them have aerial roots to attached themselves to walls e.g. Ivy. Some have adhesive pads e.g. Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper). Some coil their stems around a support e.g. Wisteria, and others coil modified leaves or stems around supports e.g. Clematis.


How can climbers be used in the garden?
Climbers can be grown up house or boundaries walls to soften the solidity of the structure or can be used to cover unsightly elements such as a garden shed.

They can be grown up pergolas and arches to create vertical interest, perhaps creating a cool shady sitting area in the garden, or a secretive retreat. Scented flowers over a structure like this add an extra dimension.

They can scramble also be used to scramble over shrubs and up trees to extend the interest into another season.


What can they add to the garden?

A wide range of flowering climbers are available and you can find at least one for each season. They can be bold and bright or subtle, pastel shades.


Some climbers e.g. Parthenocissus quinquefolia have foliage that turns fiery red in Autumn. Others create a luscious mass of interesting foliage in the summer e.g. Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’.


e.g. Lonicera periclymenum ‘Serotina’ is a vigorous deciduous climbers with fragrant deep red/purple flowers followed by red berries in Autumn.


Many climbers offer scent and work well over a pergola where you can sit underneath and appreciate the scent.


If you want to disguise an ugly view or building, a quick growing climber is ideal e.g. Clematis montana is a vigorous spring flowering clematis that quickly covers its support.



Examples of climbers

Click on any of the images below to enlarge.
Actinidia kolomikta is a deciduous climber with striking pink and white leaves.

Clematis armandii is a vigorous climber with almond scented flowers in spring.
Clematis montana is a vigorous spring flowering clematis that quickly covers its support.
Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' is a deciduous climber with interestingly shaped leaves and hops in late summer/autumn. It is useful when you want summer shade only and more sun in the colder months as it covers a pergola rapidly in summer and is cut back to the ground in the Autumn.

Wisteria sinensis is a late spring flowering plant with beautiful pendants of sweetly scented lilac flowers in late spring.

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