The Most Popular Climbing Plants and How to Care for Climbers

Bare walls, fencing and obelisks are just waiting for a climber or two.

Or maybe three.

This little lot will clothe your naked vertical surfaces in no time at all.

And that can only be good news. 

purple clematis climbing white trellis



Always trendy, always rewarding and always full of flower at this time of year.

There are so many to choose from.

A few of my favourites are the ever-popular Nelly Moser, the boisterous Pamina and evergreen Armandii.

Get ahead of the game and try Bill MacKenzie: yellow blooms, superb whiskery seed heads and easy to grow. It’s a real treasure. 

pink sweet peas


Sweet peas

Great for containers placed against fences and walls, even hanging baskets and any obelisk you care to mention.

Sow seeds in autumn or spring and delight in a perfume-filled garden all summer.

Sweet peas are also great as cut flowers for the house. 

a close-up of an ivy plant



Don’t pull that face!

Ivy can be a delight in the garden and can do a fantastic job in clothing bare walls, trees and fencing.

Sulphur Heart adds a splash of yellow to the evergreen display. 

a pink climbing hydrangea


Climbing hydrangea

The go-to plant for those shadier spots, such as a north facing wall.

Be patient - it will take a year for the roots to become established but then whoosh, a plant will quickly cover 25ft of wall or fencing in the blink of an eye.

And the frothy, white blooms in late spring and early summer are a treat for you and the bees. 

Guidelines for Climbers

Whichever climber you choose there are a few guidelines to think about before planting: 

  • When planting against a wall, position the plant a foot or two away from the base of the wall. Too close and it will be dry, and you will quickly hit the wall footings. And so will the roots. Plant away, leaning the plant into the wall. 
  • Some plants will self-cling, others need help. Check out your plant and provide wires where required. Or a piece of trellis attached to a wall is great. 
  • When planting directly against a wall, ensure the mortar is sound. Ivy, the much-maligned ivy, will not damage good mortar but will flake away at loose mortar. 

Tips Before Planting Climbing Plants

Planting is easy if you follow these few tips: 

  • Water plants a few hours before you plant them. It helps plants get over the shock and stress of being wrenched from pots and plunged into soil. 
  • Dust all roots with mycorrhizal fungi. It helps plants to become established and will produce a better specimen. 
  • Water plants after planting. Give newly planted specimens a good soaking especially in any warm weather. You’ll soon see fresh growth and you’ll know all is good in the soil. 
  • Plant at the same depth the plants are growing in their pots - except clematis. Plant clematis a little deeper - 10 cm or so. This encourages buds to grow and will help produce a bushier plant. 

Buy Fencing Direct love climbers. Please click here to view our superb range of trellis panels.


Image credit for chocolate vine: Hunda on VisualHunt