Top 10 climbing plants for fences & walls

Top 10 climbing plants for fences & walls

Are you looking for plants that will transform your fences or walls into lush green vertical gardens? These ten climbers are just the right choice.

If you want to enjoy your garden in peace without being disturbed by curious glances, a wall or a fence is usually the only fool proof option. Unfortunately, artificial privacy screens are often anything but aesthetically pleasing and do not really fit into the otherwise green gardens. Thankfully, nature provides a solution for this problem. Climbing plants are nature made screens that effortlessly grow up various surfaces, enhancing them with their luscious foliage and gorgeous flowers and sheltering the gardens from unwanted looks. The ten climber plants discussed below are perfectly suited to every garden.

The best climbing plants

You don’t always have to resort to ivy to add green to walls and fences. These are the 10 alternative climbing plants that will secure as well as embellish your garden.

1. Morning glory

While most perennial climbers often need years to reach their full size, the Mexican morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor) conquers their area in record time. Sowed in spring, it winds its way elegantly along fences and walls in summer and can reach an impressive height of up to three metres. The plant thrives best in sunny and sheltered places, such as by a south facing wall of a house. In summer, the morning glory should be watered and fertilised regularly, so that the plant can enchant us with the full grandeur of its flowers. The flowers have a funky funnel shape, which makes them especially eye-catching. The morning glory first blossoms pink, later the flowers turn sky blue but remain snow-white on the inside.

2. Sweet pea

If you are looking for a plant that will delight not just your eyes but also your nose, you will make a perfect choice with the sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus). The annual climbing plant is extraordinarily vigorous and can grow up to three metres tall. From June to August, the sweet pea forms numerous blossoms reminiscent of butterflies that glow in shades of violet, red, pink or white. But the plant is not just a feast for the eyes – as its name suggests, the flowers of the sweet pea also exude a honey-sweet scent. This plant prefers locations with an abundance of sun and a shelter from wind. It should be fertilised and watered regularly (waterlogging should be avoided!). What is more, the sweet pea also looks great as a romantic bouquet in a vase.

3. Black-eyed Susan vine

Vibrantly coloured flowers with a contrasting deep black spot in the middle: the flowers of the black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) are the main event in the garden. It is no wonder then that this beautiful climber is a popular tenant in the European gardens. The black-eyed Susan vine feels most at home in sunny and warm locations and can reach an impressive height of two metres. In addition to its predominantly yellow or orange flowers, the black-eyed Susan vine also impresses with her adorable heart-shaped leaves. With a sufficient supply of nutrients and regular watering without waterlogging, the vine is a beautiful and practical screening plant all in one.

4. Winter jasmine

The winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) reaches its full glory in spring already. While other plants are still in hibernation mode, the winter jasmine boasts its numerous small and bright yellow flowers. Depending on the temperature, this spectacle can take place even before Christmas, so the winter jasmine is undoubtedly one of the rare colourful plants in winter. Until April it retains its great flowering splendour and even after that the evergreen climbing plant is a true ornament. The winter jasmine prefers the semi-shade; in the sun it flowers less lavishly. In addition, the winter jasmine should be cut back regularly, otherwise it can become woody and barren.

5. Clematis

The clematis is one of the most fascinating climbing plants to have in your garden. The astonishing plant can grow to an incredible ten metres in height. In May and June, the clematis blooms with dainty flowers, which appear in colours ranging from bright white to dark violet and sometimes even exude a delicate scent. Clematis is also quite diverse in its varieties. The plant itself is not a climber so it should be given a proper climbing aid to crawl up walls and fences. Interestingly, clematis likes to keep its feet cold, so adding groundcovers to grow below it to provide a cooling carpet of leaves is a great idea.

6. Boston ivy

You are not the most skilled gardener of them all but would really like a privacy screening plant? Then the Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), also called grape or Japanese ivy, is the perfect fit for you. The extremely vigorous self-climber will cover any fence or a tall wall in no time. The Boston ivy is particularly popular as a climbing plant for house facades, as it does not need any climbing aid, yet reaches astonishing heights of up to 20 metres. At the same time, it requires very little maintenance and is extremely hardy. However, regular pruning is mandatory if the Boston ivy is not to spread unchecked. Especially in autumn, when its leaves turn scarlet red, this plant becomes especially stunning, but the green leaves in summer are also not to be overlooked. The small, yellow flowers look rather inconspicuous but are nonetheless valuable. As one of the bee-friendly plants, clematis provides ample source of food for bees and other pollinators.

7. Hydrangea

Large, radiant white inflorescences in contrast with dark green, glossy foliage – the climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris) is a real vision. In countless gardens in Europe, the hydrangeas with its many varieties is a popular garden plant both as a climber or an ordinary garden bed plant. The climbing hydrangea is an exceptional plant because of its tremendous flowers and its ability to grow up to 15 metres tall. Some might assume, that to achieve this flowering splendour, the hydrangea demands a lot of care. But the opposite is true: in fact, hydrangeas are robust and very easy to maintain. The one aspect of care, that should be taken into account, is the right location and soil, which should neither be too calcareous nor too compacted. However, if this is provided, the hydrangea is suited for every fence or a wall.

8. Climbing roses

When one thinks of flowering climbing plants, the climbing rose (a rose hybrid) is the first plant that comes to mind for many. The queen of flowers has always been one of the most popular plants in garden design and is also perfect for walls and fences. With their leathery dark leaves and lush blossoms, the roses offer an enchanting sight right out of a fairy tale. In addition, there are now a large number of varieties of climbing roses, so everybody will find the right fit for their gardens. With the right care, the roses can reach a height of up to 3.5 metres. But for the climbing rose to truly thrive, it needs the full attention of the gardener. The location of the climbing rose should be prepared before planting and the plant should be regularly supplied with a fertiliser. Additionally, regular pruning and winter protection are a total must to preserve the beauty of the rose for a long time.

9. Firethorn

The firethorn (Pyracantha hybrid) offers a splendour of decorations all year round: from May to June the shrub is covered with beautiful white flowers, which then transform into orange shining berries in October. In addition, the firethorn is an evergreen shrub that keeps its shiny leaves throughout all the seasons. When grown on fences or walls, the firethorn is a sight for sore eyes every month of the year. Moreover, the plant is also extremely easy to care for. A light to semi-shade location with loose, nutrient-rich soil, is the perfect place for the firethorn. It tolerates pruning very well, too. The only thing that should be kept in mind is that the firethorn is not a fan of exposure to the direct winter sunlight or ice-cold winds.

Firethorn can add a dash of colour to otherwise bare walls and fences [ Bobkeenan Photography]

10. Chinese wisteria 

When the Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) blooms in May, it turns fences and walls into a glorious waterfall of flowers. With its huge flower panicles, which come in blue, violet, pink or white, it is the unrivalled beauty of any garden. But even after flowering, the wisteria remains a stunning garden element because of its feathered foliage. If it is kept in warm and sunny locations, the magnificent exotic plant thrives even in temperate climate gardens without any problems. However, this plant requires a lot of water especially in summer and should therefore be watered regularly and thoroughly. Cutting back is also a must with the Chinese wisteria. Since the plant blooms exclusively on the lower buds of the side shoots, the wisteria should be pruned routinely in order to achieve a spectacular and bountiful flowering.

You can find the 10 best winter-hardy climbing plants here in our special article.

Here we have summarized which 7 evergreen climbing plants are ideal as privacy screens.

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