Climbing plants give height and structure to a garden and make a spectacular feature in their own right, such as Wisteria (image top left). Many climbing plants are vigorous which means although they are easy to grow, it is important to check the eventual size of the plant against the space available.
This group plants come in all shapes and sizes, perennial, annual, evergreen and deciduous. The smaller climbing plants, such as compact clematis,and annual sweet peas look just great in the border climbing up an obelisk. A natural way of planting into a border is to allow the climber to scramble using adjacent plants for support and is a popular way of growing Clematis letting it scramble and wind its way around a border.
Since many climbing plants are vigorous they are also ruthless in grabbing, scaling around, clinging , flattening and basically growing over anything in their way. If you let the plant grow through a border, as opposed to tied into an obelisk or a structure, you may need to check its growth as there is a tendency to swamp everything around. It can stunt the growth of plants around by clinging and sometimes pulling more fragile plants down.
The Best climbing plants
The range of climbing plants is very varied, some are easy to grow such as Passion flower, (image top centre) reliable and easy which looks exotic, but in fact will grow in most gardens quite easily with little maintenance,
Some climbing plants such as the very popular Clematis are more difficult requiring time, attention and pruning. Although one of the most popular flowering plants, Clematis can be tricky to grow although there are hundreds of different species to choose from flowering all through the year. Some varieties of Clematis are easier to grow than others, generally those requiring little or no pruning, such as the Montana group.
In addition, there are some great annual climbing plants if you are a keen gardener, such as Lathyrus (Sweet Pea). A very lovely climbing plant but a real thug is Fallopia, not for nothing known as the "mile a minute plant".
Some of the very best climbers are illustrated below with links to pages with growing information.