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Ten Best Climbing Plants - Climbers (And more)

Climbing Plants can give added height to gardens small and large, without taking up too much ground space. Vertical gardening at its best.

Our best climbing plants include some that are suitable for most garden situations.

Climbing plants are so versatile - climbing by way of twining and hugging, clawing and thorns, suckering and rooting, and some just flopping everywhere until they find support to start their climb. Not all climbers are invasive or adventurous. Some are dainty!

They an be found for all situations in the garden, shaded, or sunny, damp or dry, evergreen or flowering - sometimes evergreen and flowering. Some climbers need space, some are happy indoors, some are better suited to walls than fences and vise versa. Many can be grown in containers, and some can even be grown as groundcover plants. Most are shrubs or perennials. A few are annuals.

The list of best climbing plants will be changed from time to time - such is gardening. If you feel that a particular plant should be added to the list, then please email us, and if we feel that it is a good suggestion, we will add it.

Wisteria in bloom

Our mail box leads us to believe that Climbing plants are gaining in popularity all the time - year after year!
Welcome to our best ten (and more). It is the same with everything. We all have our own particular favourites and it is sometimes difficult to leave a certain one out. Maybe we should have foreseen that 'Ten Best' was going to be too restrictive.

Search our Climbers A-Z

Best Climbing Plants List

Solanum Jasminoides Album

Solanum jasminoides Album - The White Potato vine.

- Solanum crispum Glasnevin - The best blue one. Climbing potato, or Chilean Potato Tree-Vine! A great, long flowering evergreen wall shrub or climber. As fast growing climbing plants go, this one is a superb choice. It flowers through the summer and is easily controlled by pruning. Needs support as it is not self-clinging. One of the best flowering climbers. (Not really a climbing plant - more a floppy shrub that needs support!

Solanum Jasminoides Album

Wisteria Sinensis

Wisteria sinensis - Blue flowered Climbing plant.

- Needs to be kept under control, but what a show-off in mid spring. The Autumn colour is not too bad either. Pruning Wisteria This vine plant twines around any support, and once established, sends out new shoots up to 2m long in a season! Has to be one of the best for a sturdy support. Can be grown on stout wall wires or along a framework.

Wisteria - Care and Growing

Hydrangea Petiolaris

Hydrangea petiolaris - The Climbing Hydrangea

One of the best plants against a North facing wall. White flowers against bright green foliage, then bright yellow autumn foliage. It is self-clinging by way of adventitious roots, so should only be used on walls in good condition.

Climbing Hydrangea can also be used for an effective ground cover plant, if allowed to wander over a dry bank!

Hydrangea Petiolaris

Actinidia - Kiwi Fruit Plant

kiwi fruit blossom

Actinidia deliciosa – the Chinese Gooseberry – is a hardy climber which, in the right conditions, with the correct plants chosen, can also produce an edible crop of Kiwi fruit.

Fruit production should not however be the main reason for buying these vigorous climbing plants – rather as an added attraction if you are lucky!

Actinidia - Kiwi Fruit Plant

Campsis Radicans

Campsis radicans - Chilean Trumpet Vine

Self-clinging climber with showy orange/red flowers mid summer. Quite a quick growing climber when established.

Can be grown in a large container, and has flowers ranging from pink through to deepest scarlet. For flowering, it is best in sunny aspect, though will grow happily in light shade. Allow it room grow

Campsis Radicans

Clematis Armandii

Clematis armandi - Evergreen clematis with white flowers.

Clematis (Evergreen clematis) Pure white flowers in February - just what is needed in this normally dismal month. Good screening plant and fairly good rate of growth. Well suited to a shaded wall or fence.

How to grow Clematis. A Good climber - so much so that it would be easy to include ten varieties in this list!

Clematis Armandii

Eccremocarpus Scaber

Eccremocarpos scaber - Bright crimson Red flowers.

Also known as or more commonally known as the Chilean Glory Flower. An annual with dainty foliage and bright tubular gold to red flowers. Whilst it is not the easiest of plants to propagate from seed - it often seeds itself if left alone!

The fact that it can be grown as an annual should not deter you from growing this plant as a climber. It is well suited to growing in a container - or open ground against an otherwise difficult dry wall base.

Eccremocarpus Scaber

Pyracantha Firethorn

Pyracantha assortment of berry colours.

Really a shrub, but with training, can be used against a wall, with great cream flower display in may followed by the berries in late summer. Can be in berry for as long as 3 months. The hungry birds are the deciding factor.

Have no hesitation in recommending this as a wall climber of sorts, for that is the way it is normally grown. Shade or full sun - dry or damp, the Pyracantha will give years of interest for many months of the year.

Pyracantha Firethorn

Vitis Coignetiae

Vitis cognetiae - probably the best autumn colour of any plant.

A great climber vine with huge heart shaped leaves that give spectacular Autumn colour of gold through to deepest orange. Will grow in any situation, but needs support of sturdy trellis or a tree on which to ramble.

I rate this as being probably the best autumn colouring foliage of all plants! It can be rambled almost anywhere, and is particularly spectacular in autumn when allowed to forage its way up through some evergreen conifers.

Vitis Coignetiae

Schisandra Rubriflora

Schisandra button

Schisandra rubriflora is one of a couple of Schisandra that we feature on this page. A very useful climber where there is sturdy support by way of trellis or pergola.

Schisandra Rubriflora

Passion Fruit Vine

Passiflora Passion Fruit Vine

A great evergreen climbing plant - Passiflora - with spectacular flowers, and attractive foliage.
If you are lucky and have good sun - you may even get edible fruits.

Passion Fruit Vine

Climbing Roses

Climbing Rose Vanity

The variety depends entirely on your favourite colour. Pink Perpetue, Golden Showers, Climbing Iceberg, are a few to consider. If I had to chose one, then it would have to be Graham Thomas: An old English Yellow climbing rose - quite fragrant with large cupped flowers, flowers throughout the summer if dead-headed. A vigorous healthy variety that will reach 8'-10' (2.4 - 3.0m) in a few years.

Climbing Roses

Virginia Creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia Creeper. A self clinging plant that can reach 40-50ft (12-15m) in height. Fantastic Autumn colour, and can be grown in a variety of ways. this runs a very close second to the more varied colours of the related Vitis coignetiae. But its vibrance is first rate and not superseded for autumn colour.

Virginia Creeper

Akebia Quinata – The Chocolate Vine

Red Spider Mite Colony

The Chocolate Vine

Akebia Chocolate Vine is a semi green climbing plant from South East Asia, mainly in Korea, Japan and China, where it grows naturally on the edges of forests. Chocolate Vines are very hardy, they have five-segmented palmate leaves and drooping clusters of chocolate coloured flowers which start to appear in early spring. Each cluster of drooping flowers bear both male and female flowers in the same cluster.

Others Climbing Plants to consider

Climbers for a North Facing Wall or Fence.

Hedera - Ivies  are good for North Facing situations with full shade. Some take a while to get established, but thereafter  are generally good growers.
'Goldheart', which starts off with small leaves, but getting larger as they mature is good, as are the larger leaved varieties such as Hedera canariensis Variegata and Hedera colchica Dentata - Also hedera sulphurea Paddies Pride.

Climbing Roses for shade  will include Golden Showers or the beautiful 'Danse du Feu'.

Hydrangea petiolaris - as above - is probably the best of all self-clinging climbers for that situation.

The Vines such as Virginia Creeper or Boston Ivy will do well in shade.

Clematis are often overlooked for shade situations. Evergreen Clematis armandii is good, and of course Clematis montana Rubra. Most Clematis will grow well in shade, but some prefer to be able to grow up towards the sun.

Jasmines - especially the Jasminum nudiflorum (winter and yellow), which is not a true climber, but can be trained against a wall or fence.

Pyracantha varieties will also do well in shade - especially if cut back to spurs each year. 

See Also

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