Climbers are an excellent way to green up a wall, add canopy to a pergola or add a vertical accent where space may be limited. There are lots of different types of climbers too, those that need a frame to climb on, those that are self-attaching, evergreen and deciduous so there’s bound to be a climber for every garden.
You would have to be living under a rock to not notice the Wisteria out at the moment, and I am lucky enough to have this over my outdoor pergola. Wisteria has the most intoxicating scent and incredible pendulous purple flower that sets the garden alight for the 3 weeks that it is out. To get the most out of this climber improve the soil with lots of organic matter and water well to establish.
If scent is what you are after Jasmine must be near the top of the list as well however for some it can be too much and an irritant to the senses. This climber has the potential to take over other plants so give it some space and don’t be scared to hack it back if it takes over.
If you don’t want something with a scent the Banksia rose is a fragrance free evergreen climbing rose that is perfect for covering unsightly buildings such as sheds or garages. This rose is thornless and gets covered in yellow or white rose like flowers in spring.
If yellow or white doesn’t have enough pop for you and you don’t want fragrance but you can cope with a few thorns then the ultra-hardy and reliable performer is the bougainvillea. This plant thrives in hot dry positions and gets saturated in colourful bracts (adapted leaves that look like flowers) all through summer.
If you want a self-attaching climber (one that doesn’t require a frame to climb up) the evergreen foliage plant Ficus pumila is a great thick cover. The trick to making this climber work is constant trimming to maintain the juvenile foliage. If left the adult foliage gets large and the stems woody so keep up the regular maintenance.
If you want something unusual the climbing Hydrangea is a self-attaching climber with dainty white hydrangea like flowers. This climber must be in a morning sun only position, it takes time to establish and requires lots of compost in the soil and regular water but it is well worth the effort as it adds a sese of country charm to a garden.
If you want produce from your climbers the passionfruit is a must. Make sure you get a grafted variety for the best tasting fruit and a sturdy frame for it to climb up. After a couple of years in the ground they will become quite drought tolerant but keep them well fed when fruit is forming for the juiciest of fruits.
Sweet peas are an excellent edible climber too, they are annuals and a great way to get children into the garden as they are fast growing and delicious! Once your kids discover peas straight off the vine don’t expect to find any in the kitchen. I like to pick the flowers to promote more flowers and bring them inside as they work well as a fragrant cut flower too.