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7 Best Climbing Plants for Shade

climbing plants for shade
by Ally North

If you want to brighten up a gloomy wall or fence in your garden, you need climbing plants that will thrive in partial or full shade.

There’s a wide range of choices with vibrant foliage, colourful flowers or heady fragrance to help you make the most of your vertical space. Here we showcase our seven favourite climbing plants to transform any shady spot.

1. Star Jasmine

Snowy white or Golden yellow Star Jasmine vines are covered in tiny, delicate flowers and will add a warm floral fragrance to your garden. Star Jasmines will thrive on a sheltered East facing wall in partial shade, and don’t need deep soil so they can even be grown in pots with a trellis for support.

star jasmine

2. Rambling rose

Rambling roses are fast growing climbers perfect for training up a house wall or over the porch. Our favourites are Lutea (yellow) and Alba Plena (White) - both sweetly scented and thornless varieties which can reach up to 12m in height. Rambling roses do well in partial or dappled shade.

rambling rose

3. Honeysuckle

Both deciduous and evergreen Honeysuckles will flourish in partial shade, with this scented cottage garden favourite reaching heights of up to 8m. We love the wine-red flowers of Serotina and the creamy white of Sweet Sue - your garden will become a haven for pollinators, because bees and butterflies love them too!


4. Clematis

Choose hardy Clematis varieties like Viticella or Alpina for velvet petals, spectacular colour and lime green twisting vines - they love to be planted with their roots in shade and their flowers twining upwards into the light. We recommend Viticella Julia Correvon (Magenta flowers) and Etoile Violette (deep Purple) or Alpina Willy (Blush Pink) and Cyanea (Lilac Blue) - Clematis also look great when grown alongside Rambling Rose.


5. Ivy

Ivy will brighten up any unsightly wall or fence, and provides fast growing coverage in partial or full shade. It makes a perfect backdrop for flowering climbers, but has a classical elegance on its own. We love the lime and emerald tones of Hedera Colchica Dentata Variegata and the frilled, ivory edged leaves of Hedera Clotted Cream.


6. Fallopia

Fallopia Polygonium  - or Russian Vine - is an absolute showstopper, perfect for a feature wall or large fence. It grows quickly, with clusters of little pink and silvery-white flowers. Very easy to care for, Fallopia will tolerate the poorest soil conditions and thrives in partial shade. Our favourite variety is this Fallopia Polygonium Baldschuanicum.

russian vine

7. Virginia Creeper

Virginia Creepers eat shade for breakfast. Plant them in the gloomiest corner and they will quickly light it up with masses of quirky five-pointed foliage. Their deep green and bronze-tinged leaves turn a vibrant cherry red. Distinctly low maintenance, Virginia Creepers are fine in any soil and only require basic tying-in and shaping. Choose from Henryana or Quinquefolia.

virginia creeper

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