Beautiful Flowering Climbers For Your Garden
Flowering climbers serve a number of uses in the garden. They can be used to screen an ugly view, give privacy from the neighbours or from a road and give shelter and shade to other parts of the garden. Training climbing plants is easy. Just give them a framework of netting, wires or timber and gently attach the tendrils as they grow long enough.
However consideration needs to be given to a few factors before randomly planting climbing plants. Some grow rapaciously and become a pest. Rampant growers can be nightmare to control once they are established. Supports for climbers need to be sufficiently sturdy for the plant. Some climbers can become very heavy over time.
Fast growing climbers include the clematis and Clematis Montana is the fastest growing of all. It is a deciduous climber with tendrils and an open habit.Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clematis_Montana_02.jpg
It is easy to grow and under ideal conditions may grow to 12 metres. It likes cooler, mountainous zones and a sheltered spot in full sun. Cutting back after the first flowering period will encourage strong growth. The roots need cool, well-mulched soil. The flowers are a soft pink or white.
Chilean Bellflower (Lapageria rosea) is suitable for very cold areas. It is an evergreen, twining plant. The flowers are large waxy and bell-shaped. Red, pink and white varieties are available. It prefers at least partial shade in a sheltered position. The disadvantage of the Chilean bellflower is that it can be hard to source and it attracts snails.
The ornamental grape is a vigorous climber which is ideal grown over a pergola. It will provide shade in the summer and then let light and warmth through in winter. The autumn foliage is brilliantly coloured in reds, oranges and yellows. In humid climates it can suffer from powdery mildew. It likes a sunny position and well-drained soil. It does not produce fruit.
Hardenbergia is also known as Coral pea. This is a native climber of Australia and all forms are attractive. The 'Happy Wanderer' has purple flowers but others have white flowers washed with a reddish pink or purple. It is a vigorous plant which is also useful as a ground cover. It is evergreen and can be grown in full sun or dappled shade. It likes well-drained soil.
Bougainvilleas love the sun and heat. The 'flowers' are actually coloured bracts. Bougainvilleas now come in a range of colours from red, apricot, orange, cream and the ubiquitous purple. They are easy to grow in warmer areas and are great at hiding unsightly fences, walls or sheds. However some varieties are very thorny.Credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e1/595_bouganvillea.jpg
Allamandas are also a very pretty plant with buttercup yellow flowers. Orange stripes in the throat of the flower add to their appeal. It is a vigorous evergreen vine which likes a sheltered warm position. It needs a fair amount of water and will need some support. Train it on its support while it is young.
The Thunbergia grandiflora is one of those that can become a vigorous weed in the wrong habitat. It likes full sun and plenty of water. The flowers are sky blue.Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thunbergia_grandiflora.jpg
Stephanotis (Madagascar Jasmine) is a small climber with perfumed white flowers. The star-shaped blooms are often used in bridal bouquets. It likes warm areas and does particularly well in the tropics. It needs well-drained soil and a sheltered position.
The Virginia creeper needs a horizontal support. It is a hardy, prolific climber and its warm red foliage in autumn is very attractive. Small forked tendrils are tipped with strongly adhesive pads enabling the plant to cling to smooth surfaces. The blooms are small and greenish, maturing into small hard purplish-black berries which are sought after by birds. Because it clings by adherence rather than penetrating roots, it will not harm masonry but will keep a building cooler during the summer.
Honeysuckles are vigorous and hardy. Flowers range from a pale creamy white to a bright orange red. The flowers are strongly scented. Honeysuckle does best in light shade. It doesn't like having wet feet and it will need plenty of compost.
Russian vine may be recommended on some websites or by some garden centres. It will certainly cover an area in a very short time. Also called 'mile-a-minute' it is probably best left alone. It is tough and virulent and almost indestructible once it is established. It may grow 5 metres in a season.
Annual creepers can be used to supply a splash of colour during the summer. Sweet peas come in a range of beautiful shades. Their dainty, perfumed blooms also look great as an indoor arrangement. Picking the blooms encourages more prolific flowering so it is a win-win situation. Sweet peas grow easily from seed but need a support.
Black-eyed Susan is another of the thunbergia family and is suitable for milder regions. It has attractive orange flowers with dark centres. It likes the sun and will grow to perhaps 3 metres in a season.Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thunbergia_alata1.jpg
These are only a few of the many beautiful climbing plants that are available. Don't forget there are also many rose varieties which make wonderful climbers, providing colour, scent and beauty for long periods. Your local garden centre will be able to help you choose some suitable for your conditions.