Choosing climbing plants? Here's what you need to know

Climbing plants can beautify an arbour, an unattractive shed, a wind barrier, or an old wire fence. Here is what you should consider before getting started with them.

Choosing climbing plants? Here's what you need to know

Tips for getting climbing plants

  • Depending on the species, climbing plants prefer different locations. They should be situated a certain distance from walls or climbing aids and provided with organic material to help them grow.
  • Evergreen plants like shady or partly-shaded north or northeast walls; varieties include ivy, evergreen honeysuckle, and winter jasmine. This is also a very comfortable spot for climbing hydrangea.
  • Deciduous climbers such as clematis, Dutchman's pipe, and trumpet flower thrive along sunny southwestern or southeastern walls.
  • Plant climbing plants in the spring so that they can become well-established before the fall season.
  • Cover the root balls of the plants with at least three to five centimetres (1.2 to two inches) of dirt.
  • Put a layer of coarse gravel over the planting site to keep the wall of the house from getting dirty when the plants are watered or when it rains hard. It also protects the soil against excessive drying out. Before adding the layer of gravel, wait until the dirt has compacted from repeated rainfall or waterings.
  • Remember that, like other climbing plants, clematis likes to keep its feet cool — in other words, it likes a base in the shade. Since it also needs sun, however, shade only the base with mulch, a circle of stone, a brick, or even a low plant.
  • Many homeowners fear that climbing plants will do harm to the walls. This happens only when there are cracks in the wall that the plant can get into. Normally, plants climb on walls with only suction cups, tendrils, or aerial rootlets. Make sure you survey walls before deciding on a location.
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