Beautiful climbing plants on a wall or fence do so much more

Walls and fences offer the opportunity to put even more plants in the garden. In this article a practical guide for those who want to turn a boring wall into a living wall.

Why climbing plants

When we furnish our house, we take great care of the rooms. The walls are hung, the doors are painted and we usually also hang a painting or other decoration on the wall. Many houses are much barren on the outside and that is strange. No expense is spared when laying out the garden, but the outside walls are all too often uncovered. And that while there are plenty of climbing plants. You have a shady wall and you don't know how to make something of it? Put a climbing plant on it. Your problem is precisely a wall on which the sun is baking all afternoon. There is also a suitable climber for that. Walls and fences offer the possibility to place even more interesting plants in the garden without this costing a lot of space. Moreover, they make the garden a very personal whole in a way that paint can never reach.

A nice entry

In places where many people come, such as the entrance to the house or garden, a scented climbing plant is a good choice. For example, how about a honeysuckle or a jasmine? When you come home tired from work you will wonder how you could have done it all those years without such a scented welcome.
The reason that walls are not planted is perhaps due to the fact that they are often in the shade and therefore offer few possibilities at first sight. But the opposite is true. There are quite a few plants that prefer a limited amount of sun. That's how it grows Clematis 'Nelly Moser' preferably in the shade. North-facing walls, fences and climbing frames get the most shade. Followed closely by their east-facing counterparts: they only get a few hours of sunshine in the morning. In addition to the lack of sun, plants that face the north and east will also be able to tolerate the cold winter wind. It is therefore important to choose strong plants at those locations. And those are not just the types of ivy that are often used. Climbing hydrangeas, winter jasmine and even some roses will feel perfectly at ease in a cooler place in the garden. In addition to climbing plants that tolerate shade, there are also beautiful shrubs that can be guided against a wall.
Just think about it Chaenomeles and Pyracantha. Maybe here and there some contemptuously is done about fire thorns because they are used in many gardens rather unimaginative. Yet there are few plants that add to the beauty of one Pyracantha full of orange or yellow berries. If the blackbirds didn't start them all, those berries are often on the bush until Christmas.

Fruits and flowers

If you are looking for something that looks nice and also tastes good, you could think of a morel on the north, one of the few fruits that ripens well even without the sun and is delicious in cakes and jams. A morel against the wall is easier to protect against the gluttony of birds than a free-standing tree. As soon as the fruits start to ripen you just hang a net in front of it.
Plants on the north and east start growing and flowering a little later than plants in warmer places. Late night frost therefore causes much less damage. But never forget that the morning sun after an ice-cold night can mean the end of promising camellia buds. The temperature difference between night and day can be very large on the east. The plants cannot handle that and drop their buds. Always place camellias against a wall facing west.
The best location is undoubtedly a wall facing west. The place for gardeners to relax after work with a glass in hand, enjoying the sunset. Plants also have a preference for that spot. In the west, when the sun is at its highest, they don't get the full layer in the middle of the day. They can bask in the golden glow of the late afternoon sun.
If there is room to set up a seat near a wall to the west, it is certainly worthwhile to choose plants that look attractive and smell nice. Honeysuckle has the strongest scent in the evening and pale blue flowers, such as van Clematis 'Perle d'Azur', almost seem to give light.
It does not matter if you have time in the summer to enjoy a meal outside on the terrace next to your sheltered wall or just sit there in the winter to enjoy a pale February sun. It is important that you choose climbing plants that look good in that season that you spend the most time in the garden. For most that will be spring, summer or fall. In any case, a place on the west is a place where countless plants can thrive. Plants that are more sensitive to the cold can very well be planted on a western wall. But those few extra hours of sunshine just around the corner can make a world of difference if you opt for more exotic varieties. In the south, the sun's heat is absorbed by the wall and released again in the evening and at night. That is why even climbing plants and hoisters that actually belong in warmer regions want to grow here. Gardeners who like to grow fruit can also try a peach or a wine rank here. Both certainly benefit from the extra warmth and reward you with delicious fruits at the end of the season. A south-facing wall is also a great place for other shrubs. Because of the extra heat, they form new shoots for the winter. This applies for example to Chimonanthus praecox, a plant that in the winter carries waxy yellow flowers that smell wonderfully spicy.


Summer is the highlight of the garden anyway. A sunny spot shows its best side during those warm months. Frost sensitive Abutilons can manage in such an extra warm spot in mild winters and also the Fremontodendron let us enjoy her beautifully shaped yellow flowers for years. For those who really want something eye-catching, the bright red trumpet-shaped flowers of the Campsis a must. Like so many powerful climbers too Campsis need strong support from trellis or strong wire work.
A traditional brick wall, especially when it is somewhat weathered, is the best backdrop for most climbing plants. The most beautiful is natural stone, but that is a material that unfortunately cannot be used in all gardens. If you have a wall that doesn't look that good, a layer of paint can provide a better background for your climbing plants. A strong color, such as Mediterranean blue or war-frilled terracotta, can produce a beautiful result and totally change the garden. Plant a few carefully selected climbing plants here and you will no longer recognize your own garden.
Climbing plants should be planted in well-fertilized soil, but that is not always possible in a small garden with a terrace adjacent to the wall. Removing a tile can be a solution, but many climbing plants also do it in a large pot or tub. Passionflower, clematis and annual climbing plants can all be grown in pots, as long as they get enough water in the summer.


A layer of fresh compost every year keeps most woody climbing plants in good condition for a few years. After that it is necessary to repot. Do this as soon as the plant flowers less nicely or starts to look less attractive. Annual climbers like Ipomoea and Cobaea scandens are re-grown from seed every year. Climbers that grow in the open ground can save themselves well and do what they do best: climbing and covering a wall. In some cases it is necessary to help runners find support by binding them, but once they grow, most climbers can find their way up.
Below you will find a number of climbing plants, arranged according to the place in the garden where it thrives best. In this way you can choose the plants that are most suitable for the walls and fences in your garden.

Climbing plants on the north side

Places where there is no direct light seem unsuitable as a location, but there are climbing plants that certainly thrive on the north. Avoid dark evergreen species, opt for fur leaves and light flowers that cause less gloom in such dark places.


A spot in the shade is no problem for that Clematis montana 'Alba' There too, the wall will be covered with white flowers at the beginning of summer. The pink one C. montana var. rubensen 'Tetrarose' are used more often but do not work so well in the shade. This one cle matis is a powerful grower that requires a lot of space and a strong support of wire or fencing. No pruning is necessary, but it is desirable for older plants that grow too large. Do this immediately after flowering.


Whoever has room for a climbing plant on the north would do well to choose Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolar. This is a plant that likes to be cool and in the shade. Support is unnecessary. Hydrangea grabs just like ivy, blooms in the summer with white lace-like flowers that contrast beautifully with the fresh green leaves. Also beautiful in winter with brown-red stems. It is not necessary to prune, but it is allowed if the plant grows too large.


Green ivy species look beautiful against a sunny wall, but in the shade a colorful variety is much more suitable, as it brings some light into the darkness. The large yellow spotted leaves of Hedera colchica 'Dentata Variegata' look beautiful all year round. Contrary to what is claimed: ivy does not damage walls, provided that they were in order when planted.


Because Cotoneaster horizontal both as a ground cover and against a wall, this is an extremely useful plant. Moreover, it is virtually indestructible, not critical when it comes to soil composition and suitable for deep shadow. Against a wall, the branches spread out nicely in fan shape into a dense layer that requires no support. Rich autumn colors and red berries are an extra bonus at the end of the year.


Anyone who leads a morel in wind against a northern wall makes this not only more beautiful but also productive. White blossoms in the spring turn into delicious ripe cherries in the summer. The fruits are a bit sour, but they are very suitable for pastries and jams. It is easier to protect a tree against the wall against the gluttony of birds. Buy a tree that has already been pruned in fan form and keep it in good shape.


Although roses like to be sunny, there are a few that also thrive in the shade. There it is of extra importance that the species continues to flower. Lei rose Rosa 'Zéphirine Drouhin' is one of the nicest. The fragrant flowers appear throughout the summer and fall on almost thornless stems. Old plants that only flower at the top come back to life by pruning a few older branches off the ground.

Winter jasmine

A plant that covers a north-facing wall with flowers even in winter is of great value to the garden. Jasminum nudiflorum is such a plant. The sunny yellow flowers appear from November to February on the bare green branches. The dark green leaves only appear after flowering. Prevent the branches from becoming woody by pruning back to three buds after flowering. The thin branches need some support.

Climbing plants on the south side

For many climbers, a sun-drenched wall is the ideal place, especially for species from the south. But not all plants are happy with summer heat. Limit yourself to the true sun worshipers and use them to turn your walls into a vertical exotic paradise.

Blue rain

Every summer steals Wisteria sinensis the show for a few weeks. The waterfall of blue flowers appears just before the leaf comes out. A powerful climber that is kept in check by pruning. Flowering can be promoted by shortening shoots that are too much after flowering to 15 cm. Shorten it further in the winter to 3 buttons.


Anyone looking for a striking climbing plant has it Actinidia column ikta found it. A sunny wall is covered with green and pink spotted leaves in no time. Young plants do not immediately have leaves with pink and white spots, but after a few years they adorn the plant all summer. Older plants can be pruned back in the winter.

Ornamental grape

Beautiful leaves can be just as decorative as flowers, especially when it comes to leaves Vitis coignetiae, a decorative grape that proves that large can also be beautiful. The leaf of this strong grower changes from green to yellow and orange in the course of the year to end up in rich orange-red in the fall. This ornamental grape is therefore especially beautiful in the fall. Pruning is possible mid-winter. The stems need support.

Blue IDE

The short-lived flowers of Ipomoea purpurea appear in large numbers on the plant and make it a real eye catcher from summer to autumn. Blue IDE can be grown well in pots and then be led outdoors by another climber. Because the plant is used as an annual, you grow new specimens from seed every spring indoors or in the cold greenhouse. Planting is possible from the beginning of summer.


Once you have tasted a sun-ripened peach like that from the tree, you want more. A sunny south-facing wall is ideal for growing peaches tastier than they are ever for sale in the store. Choose a reliable breed like 'Peregrine'and manage it in fan form for the best result. Protect the tree against curling disease in the spring with a simple plastic greenhouse that leans against the wall.


A south-facing wall is not complete without clematis. However, the choice is not easy, because there are many suitable varieties. Those looking for always green leaves and fragrant flowers in the spring opt for Clematis armandii 'Apple Blossom' . The flowers of this species have a soft pink blush that contrasts beautifully with the dark leathery leaves. Apart from pruning too many offshoots, this species needs little care.


Have masses of trumpet-shaped flowers in red or yellow Campsis radicans made famous. A warm summer ensures a maximum number of flowers from the summer to the first cold autumn nights. Campsis grips on the wall or fence like ivy. The strong stems are covered with beautifully incised blades and need a lot of space. Older plants should be pruned every year in winter.

Climbing plants on the east side

On the east, plants get the coldest wind every winter. Only the real tough guys make it there. Whoever covers his wall with robust evergreen shrubs can brighten it up with strikingly flowering climbers.


This close relative of the climbing hydrangea carries even larger flower heads that get a lot of attention late in the summer. It takes a little patience because it takes a few years for that Schizophragma integrifolium feel at home and really goes climbing. Once growing, he can completely cover a large wall. S. hydrangeoides 'Roseum' has bright pink flowers.


although P. henryana related to the well-known wild winner, this plant is much more worthwhile because of the high ornamental value of the leaves. The bronze-green leaves are silvery-veined and discolour after the summer to a deep scarlet red that adorns the plant all fall. Just like the regular vine P. quinquefolia this plant quickly forms a dense foliage that requires little care and is self-adhesive.


"Nelly Moser" may be an old acquaintance, this clematis is still worth 100 years after introduction. The first flowering takes place at the beginning of summer and is followed by a short second flowering in the fall. A place out of full sun protects the flowers against fading. Pruning back to a few strong buds in the spring and removing dead wood is sufficient care. May go well with for example Pyracantha to grow.

Bridal veil

When an ugly wall needs to be covered really quickly, then Polygonum baldschuanicum the first choice. The correct name is, incidentally Fallopia baldschuanica, but those who ask for bridal veil will get the right plant. Give it space and the plant will be a cloud of white flowers in the summer. Large pruning after flowering promotes even more powerful growth. A few centimeters a day are no exception in humid summers.


One of the most used wall coverers is Pyracantha and not without reason. The berries are beautiful in the fall. Very beautiful "Orange Glow", a fire thorn that carries very rich berries, remains compact and is therefore ideally suited to plant against a wall. With evergreen leaves, this is a plant that is attractive all year round. Pruning unwanted growth is possible throughout the summer.


Winter does not have to be boring for whoever Garrya elliptica "James Roof" against a wall facing east. Long silky catkins appear against a background of dark green leathery leaves. In order for the branches to grow close to the wall, they must be loosely tied, for example to a fence or wire attached to the wall. Pruning is not really necessary, but branches that grow away from the wall can best be removed after flowering.


Undoubtedly one of the best plants for a wall in cool shade Berberidopsis corallina. Although this plant is hardy, a sheltered place is recommended, as the exotic-looking flowers will appear there in even larger numbers. The horizontal branches can best be tied or grow by another climber. Planting next to a purple-leaved vine produces a beautiful contrast.

Climbing plants on the west side

We must cherish garden walls that are illuminated by the evening sun. Put down a comfortable garden chair and enjoy the latest sun rays. Of course a few beautiful climbers also have to grow there that provide color and scent, so that it is easier to relax after a busy day. There is plenty of choice for this ideal place.

Golden hop

Every year hops die and from spring onwards grow into a substantial wallcovering in a few months. Humulus lupulus "Aureus" can easily reach a height of 6 m and is covered with beautiful yellow-green leaves. Female plants form beautiful hop cones that remain on the plant until the winter. Cut the old stems to the ground in the spring. Rosa glauca forms a great combination.


Combining climbing plants not only looks much more natural, it also often produces very harmonious color combinations. Here are the golden yellow flowers Lonicera tellmanniana interwoven with the lilac of Solanum crispum. This honeysuckle does not smell, but the color makes up for a lot. One of the best scented varieties is L. japonica "Halliana" with cream white flowers.


We owe to plant collector Ernest Wilson that we can decorate our walls with the exotic Schisandra rubriflora. Provided a female and a male plant are present, scarlet red berries are created which make the plant an asset to any wall fencing even in the fall. It is not necessary to prune, but it is allowed if the shoots are too long.

Canary cherry

Annual climbing plants like Tropaeoleum peregrinum are indispensable as a supplement to regular climbers, certainly towards the end of the summer when many other species have had their best time. Can easily be grown indoors from seed and in the beginning of summer at the same time as the annual bedding plants. The silky seed pods from clematis form a nice contrast with the sunny flowers until the first frost.

Fixed lathyrus

Sweet peas belong to the summer and those looking for a classic climbing plant can hardly ignore it. For those who do not like to sow new seeds every year, the perennial forms Lathyrus latifolius a good alternative. Although not fragrant and often smaller in flower, this is an equally attractive climbing plant that becomes more beautiful every year and requires relatively little care. It is also virtually indestructible and even flourishes in poor, stony soil.


Although it can come from hot Morocco Argyrocytisus battandieri rescue it in our country in sheltered conditions. This plant, which is related to ordinary broom and smells like pineapple, is nevertheless usually grown as a tub plant. The silver-green leaves stay on the bush almost all year round and form a beautiful background for the yellow flowers. Protruding branches can best be shortened to 2/3 of their length after flowering.


The vine-like Ampelopsis glandulosa 'Elegans' is worthy of respect for months. With beautifully marbled leaves, bunches of purple-blue berries, this variety is of high ornamental value until autumn. Since this is not such a powerful grower, it can be combined with other slower climbers such as the wine red Clematis viticella 'Kermesina' ideal for smaller gardens or a not too spacious place.

Video: How to Plant and Train Vines on a Fence. This Old House (February 2020).

Leave Your Comment