Climbing plants, climbing roses, climbing fruit bushes, climbing shrubs – there is so much choice if you want to liven up a wall, fence or pergola. This forms an attractive feature in a large garden, but it is an excellent option for small gardens too. Climbing plants can be very impressive or they can create a subtle effect. They take up very little space, so they are suitable for all gardens.

Most varieties can be planted in March. Now the planting period has begun, it is definitely worth considering a decorative climber. Read on to get an idea of all the possibilities.

Climbing plants can be distinguished according to their climbing method:

  1. Clinging plants climb by clinging on with their adhesive roots. If they have nothing to cling to, they will trail along the ground as ground cover. As soon as the adhesive roots come into contact with the ground, they develop into normal roots.
  2. Twining plants seek support by winding their long stems or branches around any available structure.
  3. The so-called tendril climbers have tendrils or petioles that cling to a support.
  4. Clambering plants have such long stems that they readily grow over anything. This makes them easy to train.

Several semi-shrubs and creepers, such as roses and climbing annuals, are also classed as climbing plants. However, this is not strictly accurate. These are actually trained plants, as they need a helping hand in order to climb.

All in all there are only five true clinging plants, which only need to be guided in the right direction in order for them to cling firmly to a wall, pergola, gate or fence. The adhesive roots that develop along the shoots act as suckers, attaching the shoots to any available surface.

One of the most common clinging plants is ivy (Hedera). This exceptional plant is one of the few plants to have a juvenile phase and a mature phase. As long as the plant has a surface to climb up, it stays in the juvenile phase. Timely pruning will therefore give it eternal youth! Ivy has many appealing characteristics. It is an undemanding evergreen plant that is happy in almost any soil and will thrive in full sunshine, semi-shade or full shade.

Another useful clinging plant is the Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus Quinquefolia), which has glorious red foliage. This easy climber is also happy in almost any soil and position. It can spread over an entire wall in just a few years, although it should never be planted against a north-facing wall.

Clematis is a perfect example of a tendril climber. The decorative charm of this richly flowering climber has to be seen to be believed. It is one of my favourites! It also makes excellent ground cover with its rich wealth of flowers. Clematis grows well almost anywhere, but prefers partial shade. The roots must always be kept cool and sufficiently moist.

There are many more climbers worthy of a mention, such as the robust and delightfully fragrant honeysuckle (Lonicera), the long-flowering sweet pea (Lathyrus) and the unique winter jasmine (Jasminum Nudiflorum). Other outstanding garden subjects are the glorious climbing roses and decorative trained fruit bushes.

Climbing plants add that something extra to a garden. They brighten up walls and fences, and they require a very small area in order to grow. Furthermore, as many climbing plants keep their leaves in winter they make bare winter gardens look far more inviting!