They’re also perfect for small gardens, balconies, urban courtyards and other places where vertical space is one of the best options for planting. Climbing plants are a versatile lot, grown for their flowers, foliage, scent or even fruit. And many can be trained to grow in other ways, as shrubs, standards or ground covers, just as an example. Read on for inspiring reasons to include these versatile verticals in your garden.
There are disadvantages when using plants though, including leaf, flower and berry drop, insect attraction, and the fact that they provide little protection from rain.
Tip: Pergolas also need to be strong enough to support the weight of climbers, which can be heavy when mature.
Tip: Climbing roses need to be tied to their support structure (use flexible plant ties, soft string or even strips of pantyhose).
Wisteria can also be trained as a standard, a good solution in small gardens.
Bougainvillea needs plenty of sun, shelter from cold wind, and well-drained soil. It’s ideal for coastal gardens since it can tolerate salt-laden winds.
Tip: Some people even grow bougainvillea along walls for security purposes, as its spiny branches are quite the burglar deterrent. Vines can be cut back ruthlessly when necessary.
Many clematis produce scented flowers, as do yellow-flowered Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), lemon-scented jasmine (Jasminum azoricum), snail flower (Vigna caracalla) and vanilla-scented chocolate vine (Akebia quinata), so named for its chocolate-purple flowers.
Lilac vine (Hardenbergia violacea) is another climber that scrambles happily over the ground, covering hillsides and banks with a profusion of purple flowers.