How to Grow Plants and Vines up Your Fence

When you look out of your window do you see lovely flowers and garden displays to be proud of or do you have an unwanted eyesore, perhaps an unsightly chain-link fence or old wooden fence? There is a perfect answer, you can plant a living screen, not to just cover this area up but to make it smell sweeter and/or to look better. Trailing plants come in all different kinds to suit different soil types and for fences that are either in sunny places or less sunny areas.

You will find that planting climbers to grow on fences is not rocket science and it is a relatively easy job even for new gardeners, whilst it can offer an interesting enough challenge for the more seasoned planter!

First steps

Before deciding on the ideal climbing plants or vines that you want to use to brighten up your garden, you need to find which way your fence is facing, is it sunny side up or more in the shade! Use a compass because just guessing can cause you heartaches later on. If you have a west facing fence then your climbers can appreciate the warm sun in both the afternoon and evening. South facing fences can accommodate plants and vines that can tolerate milder winters. An east facing fence can be exposed to differing temperatures that only hardier plants can master, and north facing fences are always in the shade.

Next steps

Once you have completed this previous step, the next steps fall easier into place. You can then look at what kinds of plants you want and narrow them down by features, such as by colour, fragrance or hardiness. There are also annuals and perennials to choose from. Some plants can grow quicker than others, and provide a beautiful living fence that your neighbours will envy! There are evergreen climbing plants and vine varieties as well that can prove very versatile for trailing along your fence or pergola.

Rambling vines and plants can easily be trained to climb where you want them, and this useful feature can be especially handy if you have a particular part of your garden or fence that needs to be hidden. Some plants are self-clinging such as the fragrant Jasmine ‘Clotted Cream’. There is such a vast variety of plants to choose from and you will be spoilt for choice.

The planting and care of any twining plants chosen will of course depend on the individual ones you pick. As a helpful guide, information on two common choices, Morning Glory and the very fragrant climber – honeysuckle, are detailed below. 

  1. Morning Glory 
    Morning Glory is a very popular choice because of its pretty blue flowers, sweet scent, and because it flowers over the summer, Morning Glory vines can withstand dry and poor soils. Plant these annual climbing vines about ½ an inch deep and allow about 8 - 12 inches of space between each plant. 

    After care 
    They will require some support structures to grow on, but once established Morning Glory is a relatively easy option, you can water them in dry spells, and they can tolerate some water but not over watering or wet conditions. Deadhead the climbing flowers to avoid them spreading more than you want them to! 

  2. Honeysuckle
    A pretty perennial climbing vine is the highly scented - honeysuckle. They are great lovers of sunshine and can be happy with a little shade too, they are good in various well-drained soil types. 

    After Care
    These graceful trailing climbers will need support on your fence, as they quickly begin to cover your unsightly space with their lovely flowers and distinctive scent. Make sure you thin out any dead woody areas on the upper parts of the plant, it is best to do this in the autumn or winter. This tip will help maintain it along with doing some general pruning. The honeysuckle vine can actually withstand quite heavy pruning and will happily bounce back. Each year you will be rewarded with a beautiful display of flowers for little effort and it will attract wildlife of all kinds.

Some plants will need more attention than others, however, the beauty of having plants that grow on your fence/s, is that they have a will of their own that is free and laid-back. There will be some care needed to prune, or train your climbing vines and plants, however your living fence can provide a fantastic addition to any size of garden.

Fancy setting up your own garden? Take a look at our video on raised beds and planters, or check out our range here.