Climbing plants are enjoying a newfound popularity with landscape gardeners. The benefits of incorporating climbing plants into a home garden or landscape design setting are extensive. Climbing plants are generally faster growers, they require little formal maintenance to thrive as long as basic growing conditions are met, they are attractive, they quickly cover or fill in problem areas such as wall cracks or open spaces where privacy is desired, and they provide protection for structures when temperatures climb. Climbing plants are also beautiful and decorative, often featuring lush foliage, lovely flowers, and interesting berries and fruits. The key to landscaping with climbing plants is to understand how and where to best place vines and other types of climbing foliage to best effect without impacting neighboring plants or ending up with coverage in areas where it is not desired. Follow these steps to incorporate climbing plants into your home garden or landscape design.
Identify the most appropriate placement for a vine or climbing plant. A freestanding tree, fence, brick wall, handrail, outdoor staircase, or other existing structure can provide natural support for a climbing vine as it grows. Staking or trellising can also provide support for a freestanding climbing plant or vine. Since climbing vines do grow very quickly, it is important to determine the best placement and visualize the plant at its mature growth to avoid having to move the vine once it is established.
There are a wide variety of lovely climbing plants to choose from. Each has benefits and drawbacks. Climbing plants that produce berries may also produce unwanted garden visitors such as squirrels, raccoons, or birds, and may also produce a mess as the berries fall. Additionally, since some climbing plants produce berries that are poisonous to humans, households with children should be wary of these types of climbing plants. Flowering plants will also attract insects with their pollen, so this may be a factor in deciding whether to plant a flowering climbing plant.
Some climbing plants will produce an upwards growing pattern, making them idea to cover walls, handrails, gazebo pillars, and handrails. Other types of climbing plants grow flat and sideways, making them a better choice for covering flat structures or producing dense ground cover in hard to maintain spaces.
Different types of climbing plants prefer different climates and soil conditions. Assessing what the landscape space has to offer in terms of soil type, access to sunlight or shade, drainage, moisture, and other factors can assist in narrowing down the choices for climbing plant options.
Some popular types of hardy climbing plants include the following:
Climbing Plants for Walls and Structures: wisteria, clamatis, jasiminum, honeysuckle, English ivy, trumpet creeper, Boston ivy, wintercreeper euonymous, woodbine, silver fleece flower, and passiflora
Climbing Plants for Food: pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, sweet peppers, strawberries, blackberries, dewberries
Climbing Plants for Upright Growth: tuberous begonia, coleus, purple shamrocks, impatiens, moss rose, dusty miller, fushia, creeping zinnia