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Planting And Caring For Your Climbing Plants..

Planting climbing plants in the garden is easy to do they bring long seasons of interest to beds, borders, walls, trellis, fences, pergolas and obelisks, and can also cover a multitude of unsightly areas in the garden. All climbers need some additional training to begin with even self clinging climbers such as Ivy's and Virginia Creepers this can be in the form of canes or wires. Whatever support is given ensure that it is secured properly as the plants become extremely heavy once established. It is possible to grow certain shrubs as wall shrubs these will need training along wires but can look very effective.

How To Plant Your Climber
Dig a planting hole in your chosen area this needs to be in deep fertile soil.
Position the hole around 45cm away from the structure that the plant is to grow up so that the roots receive plenty of moisture.
Ensure the hole is the same level as the pot unless planting Clematis, when planting Clematis the plants will need planting 5-6cm below the level of the pot.
Angle the pot slightly towards the structure it is to grow against and backfill firming down gently then feed with a multi-purpose granular feed and mulch to retain moisture.
Remove any ties around the plant and spread out any stems and tie them into the support with garden twine, water well and make sure the soil doesn't dry out during any dry spells.

Where To Plant Your Climber
North facing walls are cold with little to no sun but there are some climbers that will grow in these conditions to brighten up a shady spot such as climbing Hydrangea, Hedra (Ivy), Pyracantha and Jasmine Nudiflorum.

East facing walls can also be cold areas only receiving early morning sun this can result in damage to young buds and shoots during spring with its cold frosty mornings. However there are many climbers and wall shrubs to suit these areas Chaenomeles, Clematis Montana, Cotoneaster Horizontalis, Parthenocissus (Virginia Creeper), Jasmine Nudiflorum and Pyracantha to name a few that will offer long lasting colour and interest.

West and south facing walls are sunny areas that provide ideal growing conditions, they are bright, warm and sunny areas where a host of climbers, wall shrubs and fruit can grow. You are certainly spoilt for choice when planting on a west or south facing aspect Roses, Clematis, Wisteria, Passiflora, Honeysuckles and sweet smelling Jasmine Officinale can be excellent climbers and ramblers. Wall shrubs such as Ceanothus, Solanums (Chilean potato vine) and Pyracantha make great additions to the garden and of course fruits such as Apples, Pears, Cherries, Figs and Vitis (Grape) are all excellent for training along wires.

Some annual plants such as Sweet Pea, Nasturtiums, and Ipomoea Morning glory are ideal climbers for sunny borders or growing in pots and containers on a sunny patio they can be grown against a simple trellis or garden canes and bring really bright colours and scent to the summer garden.


Pruning Climbing Plants
Climbing plants in the garden are a wonderful addition to beds and borders creating interest, height and structure and are excellent for covering fences, trellis, walls, pergolas and arches making impressive eye catching displays throughout the year.

All climbers require a certain amount of training and pruning to stop the plants becoming bushy or tangled and to promote strong growth and good displays of flowers or it may be that space is an issue and the plant needs keeping in check.

Any supports such as wires, canes or trellis need putting in place before the climber is planted. Do not plant the plant directly against the support, as the roots will be deprived of water leave a gap of around 45cm. Clematis need to be planted deep as they require the roots to be kept cool.

Pruning Clematis is split into three groups depending on its flowering period and is done to promote healthy growth and produce large plentiful flowers, prune out any weak or thin stems these should be cut back to a healthy bud or to ground level. If you are unsure of which Clematis is growing in your garden leave it to grow to see when it flowers to see which pruning group it may fall into.

Group 1- Evergreen or early flowering varieties ie those that bloom before early summer flower on old wood, these need very little pruning so remove any dead or damaged stems after flowering or if the plant is getting too large prune back to keep it in check.

Group 2 - This Clematis produces two flushes of flowers a year once before early summer these are flowering on old wood, then again in late summer or autumn this flush of flowers blooms on the new growth. Tidy the plant by removing any dead or dying stems in late winter then cut back to a pair of buds and tie in any growth to support the flowers.

Group 3 - Clematis that flower during late summer are flowering on the current years growth and respond well to hard pruning. Prune during late winter or early spring by cutting out the top of the growth on the plant to a healthy pairs of buds above the previous years growth about 60cm above ground level.

Loniera (Honeysuckle)
Honeysuckles need pruning to help promote the growth of many scented flowers and to also keep them tidy and in check. They are easy to prune, remove any unwanted growth and cut back in late winter or early spring. They do however benefit from been cut back hard every 2-3 years, (except Graham Thomas this is cut back after flowering). Evergreen Honeysuckle don't need pruning as such so trim them to keep them in check during early spring. Old Honeysuckle can be rejuvenated by cutting back hard again during spring.

Hedera (Ivy)
Ivy are self clinging climbers that requires pruning to keep it within it bounds trim every April and then again in summer as required.

These twining climbers have beautiful scented flowers prune in August by shortening the side shoots to around 6 leaves from the main branch and remove any long twinning stems. Then in February cut back the summer pruned side shoots to 3 buds from the main branch these will be the stems that will bear the flowers next summer.

Parthenocissus (Virginia Creeper)
These can cover a large area so reduce the growth annually, during winter cut out older and overcrowded stems and then trim back any unwanted growth, if the plant requires a further trim this can be done during summer.

Hydrangea (Climbing)
This shade loving climber can be pruned in late autumn or early spring by removing any spent flower heads and cutting back to a healthy bud. If the plant is trimmed back too hard it may result in lack of flowers the following year.

This fast growing vine can be cut back during spring, cut back hard if required and make further trimming during summer if necessary to keep it in check.

Passiflora (Passion Flower)
These self clinging climbers have extremely eye catching flowers, in spring remove any over crowded or dead branches, then after flowering has finished cut the flowering tips and side shoots back to the third bud away from the permanent framework.

Whether planting sweet smelling summer Jasmine or winter Jasmine with its cheerful yellow flowers the pruning is the same, after flowering cut back the flowered stems to a strong side shoot and thinning out any over crowded or dead stems.

These semi evergreen climbing shrubs bring long lasting colour to a sunny aspect, prune after flowering by shortening the side shoots back to 3 buds before the main framework and cut back any dead or diseased wood.

Climbing Roses
Pruning a Rose ensures your plant has strong vigorous growth it improves the quality and size of flowers and helps keep the plants healthy by increasing the air circulation to help reduce fungal and pest problems. Climbing roses can be pruned during winter by cutting out any dead or diseased branches tie in any new shoots and cut out any old branches, prune the side branches by cutting them back to the third bud. Feed and mulch after pruning.


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"Grow beautiful climbers against walls, trellis and garden arches for height and colour all year round interest."