How to: Use Climbers

Climbing plants deserve a place in any garden. They create interest above ground level, making use of every inch of space.

Lonicera Serotina Red Gables

Climbers are versatile garden plants. They’re great for scrambling up a wall or garden building, giving your garden a much-needed vertical element.

Climbers come in all shapes and sizes, with evergreens, prolific flowerers and scented ones all on offer. There’s also something for every growing condition, so whether you have a sunny or shady plot there’ll be a climber for you.

Some climbers come back every year, while others are annual and just last for one summer. The permanent ones include clematis, roses, honeysuckle and jasmine. Annual climbers include sweet peas and morning glory.

  • Climbing plants on walls

Cimbers are useful for covering a wall or garden building, particularly if it’s a little on the ugly side. Most need something to cling to as they climb, so attach trellis or taught wires to the wall before planting.

Climbing hydrangeas and ivy will both do well on a shady wall. Ivy also has the added bonus of being evergreen, meaning it provides year-round interest.

  • Arches and obelisks 

Climbers can also be grown up arches and obelisks. Use an arch to create a focal point or lead you from one area of the garden to another. Most climbers are suited to arches, although roses are a classic choice.

Obelisks are ideal for positioning in borders. They add instant height and create a point of focus in the planting. Use them as permanent features planted with climbers that return every year. Alternatively move them from year to year, using annual climbers to ring the changes.

  • Combining climbers with other plants

Climbers combine beautifully with other plants. Consider growing one up a tree or through an established shrub. Choose a climber that will complement the plant it’s scrambling up, and you’ll be rewarded with two elements of interest at the same time.

Climbers also work well in containers. Grow annual climbers up wigwams, planting colourful bedding plants at the base – it’ll create a beautiful feature for a patio.