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Climbing Plants for a Wall

Finding the Right Climbing Plant for a Wall

One of the best ways of making the most of precious garden space is by using the third dimension and going upwards. Most houses have at least one wall that can be planted against and the front entrance is a particularly important place to consider what, if any, climbing plants are chosen to welcome visitors.

Design a Garden with Climbing Plants

When planting against the wall of a house, the mutual flattery between plants and the building is crucial. Put dark red or blue flowers against a strident red brick wall and they tend to vanish. However, put pale flowers against it and they leap out with extra clarity, with the wall acting as a strong foil. Against a white, rendered wall the Japanese quince, Chaenomeles ‘Rowallane’ with its bright red flowers will make a wonderful contrast colour. or Chaenomeles ‘Geisha Girl’ makes an ideal combination with a sandy-buff, modern brick wall. A cool limestone is warmed by a rosy-mauve wisteria or a bright crimson climbing rose, such as Rosa ‘Paul’s Scarlet.’ A harsh, red brick is cooled by the white flowers and dark leaves of Clematis armandii, or the creamy flower clusters of the climbing hydrangea, Hydrangea perteolaris. A hint of purple in a sandstone wall is picked up by a velvety purple Clematis x jackmaii ‘Superba’ and honey coloured Cotswold stone is the perfect backdrop for a deep yellow rose, such as the David Austin rose ‘Graham Thomas.’

Getting the right position for climbing plants

The smaller the space the more it is worth taking time over the choice of climbing plant and getting it right.  One of the most important considerations is to choose plants that will thrive as opposed to merely survive where they are planted. When deciding what plant, or indeed plants to choose, it is especially important to know the amount of sun a wall receives. A south-facing wall will most likely be hot and sunny with the base being dry for much of the year. Any plant in such a position will require extra irrigation, especially while it is establishing itself, but many slightly tender plants will thrive. Ceanothus can be trained against a south facing wall for a stunning spring display, the slower growing, evergreen Ceanothus ‘Concha’ is perfect for such a position. The attractive, highly fragrant, Tracheleospermum Jasminoides will be very happy in a south-facing position, as will the early flowering Clematis balearica. However most clematis as well as honeysuckles and some roses dislike hot, dry conditions, so will do better in an east-facing or west-facing position.

A north-facing wall will be in shade for most of the day and although the number of plants that will grow in the shade is more limited, Clentais montana will cope as will the gorgeous climbing rose, ‘Madame Alfred Carrière.’

All climbers should be planted away from the wall and angled in so they are less likely to dry out and to give them room to grow. Most climbers will need strong supports fixed against the wall before planting, horizontal wires are best for plants like roses and wisteria, but clematis and honeysuckle are best supported with a trellis screwed to the wall.

Climbing plants are an excellent option for a garden, even in a small space they are a wonderful opportunity to have a strong, floral display going upwards, for creating your very own lush, green wall.

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