Diarmuid Gavin’s top picks for climbing plants

Diarmuid Gavin’s top picks for climbing plants

Create a mix between your home and garden with my top picks for climbing plants

Climbing plants are the first thing in vertical gardening, they help integrate the architecture of your home into your plot. They soften unsightly features and create a great habitat for wildlife. However, they can take some time and patience to establish. In my own garden (right), I planted a series of climbers at the base of cast-iron columns, which support the first-floor balcony, four years ago. I used a mix of wisteria, jasmine, roses and evergreen clematis, and now they are beginning to fulfill their potential, moving upward, creeping along the railings and framing the upstairs windows with gorgeous foliage and flowers.

High hopes: roses and wisteria climbing Diarmuid’s balcony

Planning and patience are really key. Start by thinking about what you want the plant to do. Would you choose something like the reliable ivy, which will take all kinds of abuse and will grow even in dry areas and will not be bothered by shade, or would you want something like a beautiful rose to decorate the outside of your home? hut? There is a huge amount of choice – evergreen, deciduous, as well as flowering and fruiting. But the trick is to understand what kind of conditions they like.

Climbers often gasp at the base of the wall as the concrete and foundations absorb any available water. Be aware of this and remember that getting a new plant into the ground will be a bit stressful. He is coming to you from ideal nursery conditions where all his needs are met and your environment may be inhospitable in some way. So, instead of planting directly on a wall, drive your new plant up a bamboo cane about eight inches. Taking time to prepare the soil is important no matter what you plant – dig in plenty of good compost if possible. Water the plant abundantly in the first month, especially if you are planting at this time of year.

Below I have lists of plants that are beneficial for height. My favorites include ivy called Buttercup (with a small, almost golden yellow leaf), purple wisteria, abutilon (which is a wall shrub), and of course that wonderful forest escapee, honeysuckle.

Climbers for north and east facing sides

Conditions here will be cold and dry in the winter and dry in the summer, so choose strong, deep-rooted plants.

Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris)

Sweat peas

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)

Scarlet glory vine

Jasmine in Montana

species of hedera (ivy)

Japanese rose hydrangea vine (Schizophragma hydranegoides ‘Roseum’)

Climbers for south and west facing sides

Suitable for more delicate plants that require moist and warm conditions.

Colomyxta vine (Actinidia collomicta)

Golden hops (Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’)

Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

Evergreen clematis (Clematis armandii)

Potato tree (Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’)

Jasmine (Jasminum officinal)

Passionflower (Passiflora cerulea)

Grapevine (grapevine)

Shrubs that can be trained against a wall


Fremontdendron ‘California Glory’

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles)



Smells good

Rose “Zéphérine Drouhin”

Rose “New Dawn”

Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasmonoides)

Honeysuckle (Lonicera pericylmenum)

Annual climbers

Not all climbers take time to grow. There are some plants that you grow as seeds or as young plants that quickly cover a few metres, often smothered in showy flowers with a wonderful scent. So, for instant solutions, why not plan to sow these selections directly into the ground when the fear of frost has passed next spring?

Heavenly blue morning glory (Ipomoea) – Gorgeous heart-shaped leaves, and the flowers are such gorgeous blue cones that you’ll want to dive into them. It also comes in pink, maroon and white. It is closely related to herbs but without any of the disadvantages. Young plants can be planted outdoors after the frost has passed.

nasturtium – Who wouldn’t want any structure covered with these bursts of sunlight in shades of orange, red, yellow, and some even with stripes! Again, the leaves are luscious and interesting too and you can eat the flowers and leaves in salads. The seeds are large, easy to handle and germinate quickly, making it an ideal plant to get children interested in a little gardening. Plant outdoors now in the location where you want to grow.

Sweat peas

Sweetened peas -This is everyone’s favorite (above). For a while it was dismissed as old-fashioned, the epitome of the English summer garden. The colors are a florist’s dream. Get a mixed batch of seeds, they will all match beautifully when you collect them in hand, but their most important asset should be their scent in the garden or in the house. You can now sow outdoors on the site or grow seedlings indoors to avoid frost.

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