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The 5 Best Climbers for Walls

best climbers for walls
by Alison North Alison North

Climbing plants are the best way to cover an unsightly house or garden wall - But they bring much more than that to your outdoor space. Climbers can add colour or fragrance as well as softening noise from neighbouring properties and attracting pollinators. But how do you choose the best one for you?

Your wall might be shady and north-facing or sunny and south facing. Should you choose a self-clinging climber or one that needs support? Do you need a quick growing climber or would you prefer an evergreen? If you’re looking for inspiration, read on - we’ve consulted the experts at our climbing plant nursery and shared their recommendations in this handy guide.

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1. Best climber for sun and south or west facing walls  

Wisteria Sinensis.

A south or west facing wall is a particularly great place to grow sun-loving climbers, as bricks absorb heat from the sun and retain it for longer periods than other materials. If you’re lucky enough to have a sunny wall, go all out and make the neighbours jealous with a glorious Chinese Wisteria. This long-lived leafy climber will grow to around 5m tall and its twisting, woody vines will be covered in cascades of purple-blue flowers every May and June.

Your Wisteria will need to be supported with wires or a strong trellis. Plant it at the front of your house or near a seating area to enjoy its sweet floral fragrance.

Other climbers for sunny walls we recommend are richly scented Honeysuckle and evergreen, blue-flowering Sollya.

wisteria on wall

2. Best climber for shade and north or east facing walls  

Hedera helix 'Goodchild'.

When we think of Ivy, we think of instant atmosphere - of cool woodlands, classic country houses and the centre court at Wimbledon. It’s a quintessentially British look, and it’s perfect for a shady wall, as ivy likes to be planted in shade and grow towards the light. Hedera helix ‘Goldchild’ is an emerald green variety with golden yellow edging that looks luminous in a shady spot. It will brighten up the dullest of walls, requires virtually no maintenance and grows to a manageable 1m tall. It even comes with the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.

We also love these climbers for shady walls: Try honeysuckle, Jasmine and climbing roses.

Hedera helix 'Goldchild'

3. Best fast-growing climber for walls

Virginia Creeper 'Henryana'.

If you want to cover an unsightly wall quickly, choose a fast growing climbing plant such as Virginia Creeper. Whether you want to increase your privacy, muffle noise from neighbours or cover an eyesore of a wall, Virginia Creeper will do all that and look beautiful too. Growing to an impressive 10m high and 5m wide, this award winning variety boasts deep green, bronze-tinged foliage which turns to fiery scarlet in autumn. This climber is self clinging and thrives in sun or shade.

Other quick growing climbers for coverage include: Fallopia (Mile a Minute Plant), Ivy and Wisteria.

chinese virginia creeper

4. Best evergreen climber for walls

Honeysuckle 'Halliana'.

If your wall is visible from your windows and can be seen all year round, an evergreen is your best bet. Great for screening and year-round interest, evergreens also tend to be easy to care for - and of course they provide a valuable habitat for wildlife throughout the winter. We love Honeysuckle ‘Halliana’ (Lonicera) which not only has bright, glossy green foliage all year round, but will bloom with dozens of fragrant, starry white flowers from July to October.

Honeysuckle is a twining climber which will need a trellis or wires for support. Grow this one on a house wall or near an outdoor seating area where you can appreciate its scent.

Other evergreen climbers we recommend: Jasmine beesianum, cirrhosa and armandii Clematis.

Hall's Japanese Honeysuckle

5. Best flowering climbers for walls

Rose 'Parade' and Clematis 'The President'.

She suspects it’s cheating, but our expert would go for a combination of two plants here - a climbing rose and a summer flowering clematis which will intertwine as they grow. Parade is a glorious, carmine-pink rose with a classic old rose fragrance which grows up to 4.5m tall. Teaming it with free-flowering purple Clematis ‘The President’ will produce a riot of complementary colour that will bloom from May right through to autumn. Twine the two plants around each other as they grow for maximum effect, and support your climbing combination with wires or trellis.

More fantastic flowering climbers: Wisteria, Honeysuckle, Jasmine.

clematis the president

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