Six of the Best Climbers For Your Garden

If you saw Friday’s video, you’ll know that I have a terrible fence that is in dire need of replacement. But it’s old and traditional, so I can’t simply pull out the old panels and slot new ones in; no, the entire thing needs to come out. Well, I honestly have better things to spend my money on and so I’m looking at hiding it instead. And, though I’m trying to make my hideous hard landscaping disappear with climbers, using plants to create height and drama can also accentuate structures. For example, using a pergola as a climbing frame for sweet peas or wisteria create an eye-catching display. Likewise, if you’ve got a shed, garage or garden building, such as those offered at Lidget Compton Concrete Garages, they can be greatly improved by adding plants – not to hide them, but to case a spotlight on some of their features. Climbers against brick, for example, is a winning scenario, whilst framing windows on buildings also works well. Rooting a building into it’s setting is always important, and the using of vines and creepers can be a great way to do this with speed.

If you’re starting from scratch, I recommend using a combination of annuals and perennials for quick coverage. In fact, you could continue using annuals even once the long-term plants become established because, quite honestly, there are some stunners out there. Here are six of the best climbers that will accentuate any building!

Spanish Flag – Annual

Spanish Flag (Mina lobata) seems to be very in-vogue at the moment. I’m fairly sure it appeared on Gardener’s World a couple of years ago, and since then, it’s been popping up on my friend’s Instagram feeds and blogs all over the place. And I can see why; it’s stunning! This vine not only has delicate foliage, but great feather-like plmes of flowers that radiate through hues of red, orange and yellow.

I grew this beauty for the first time last year, and was amazed when it finally began to flower. It takes a while to become established, and don’t let it dry out. But once it gets going, it can be fairly rampant. However, unlike those rampant perennials that you curse the day you ever planted them, Spanish Flag will die off at the onset of frost so you can start over again the following season.

Black-Eyed Susan – Annual

Black-eyed Susan has always been a favourite of mine, though I’ve never actually grown the most common yellow variety but opted for a variety called ‘Sunset Shades’. Instead of the bright blooms, this specimen produces pastel oranges, reds and yellows that have a chalky texture to them. I’ve grown them up a wall in a conservatory before, but they’ll do just fine outside after the final frosts have disappeared.

Black-eyed Susan 'Sunset'

Black-Eyed Susan ‘Sunset’


Cardinal Vine – Annual

The lovely Cardinal vine was a new plant to me in 2016. Honestly, I found some random seeds that I must’ve been sent, planted them and out popped this gem of a climber. It does take a while to get started, so it’s worth germinating it early and growing it on under cover – especially as the flowers can take up to four months to appear. However, when they do arrive, you’ll be happy – they’re as exotic to look at as the name might suggest. The foliage can be a little sparse though, so it’s worth combining them with another climber so they can interweave.

Passionflower – Perennial – Evergreen

I love a good Passionflower plant. These climbers really are exotic to look at and, amazingly, they’re pretty darn frost tolerant too. In most scenarios they are evergreen, though they do tend to look a bit sad for themselves during the winter months, with curling, brown and lacklustre leaves. However, come the warmer weather of March and April and you’ll see fresh new growth spurting out.

In addition to the wonderful flowers, they also bear striking orange seedpods which are extremely ornamental. Having kept passionflowers for many years, I do find that plants only tend to live four or five years before dying off. However, let some of those orange pods lay around on the ground, and you should have plenty of replacement baby plants to keep you going.


Passionflower is a fantastic evergreen climber


Honeysuckle – Perennial – Evergreen

Honeysuckles are a real joy of mine, and have a place in my heart as I remember them fondly from childhood. Not only are the beautifully flowered, but there have scent too; a great extra bonus, especially if you’re growing them around the entrance to a garden room or garage. Insects absolutely adore them, you can grow new plants from cuttings very easily, and because they become fairly woody overtime, they’re pretty resistant to storm damage too.

Clematis – Perennial – Evergreen

Finally, everyone’s favourite – clematis. Now, when it comes to these lovely plants, it is important to do a little homework as not all of them are evergreen, and the pruning can be a little challenging to get your head around. But, once you’ve cracked that, you’ll have a fantastic climber that does its job year after year. For the best results, I’ve found pairing several clematis from different groups together works well as it provides a continuous show of colour throughout the year.

So, there you have it – six of the best climbers, well, according to me! I have seeds for all of the above annuals ready to go (in fact, I just sowed some Spanish Flag), my honeysuckle cuttings have taken, and my passionflower is just starting to shoot new growth. The only thing I must buy this year are some of those wonderful clematis! 😀

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.