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How To Choose Climbing Plants

How To Choose Climbing Plants

A brief overview and comparison of various different kinds of climbing garden plants, their appearance, ideal conditions, climbing mechanisms and suitable climbing surfaces.

Hi, I'm Mike and I'm here at Camden Garden Centre and I'm going to give you some gardening advice. I've got five plants here with me, and the first one is a well known plant, a clematis, this is a cultivar of clematis called Mrs George Jackman and is a pretty, white flower with lots of stamens in the centre. This little insignia here is an award of merit, an award of garden merit from the Royal Horticultural Society, and any plant that has that on its label, you're assured that it's a very good quality plant, easy to care for and a good all round plant, so that's an important thing to learn about.

Moving over here, we've got a plant that's grown for its rather beautiful foliage and this is a plant that's very good in a shady condition, so if you've got a north facing garden and lots of shade then this is a good plant to choose. I'm afraid it's got an awful botanical name, Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight', that's a mouthful! Moving on now to passion flower, and this is a white fall of passion flower, Passiflora caerulea 'White Lightning'. Moving on we have a beautiful plant for a sunny position, again with an almost unpronouncable plant name, Trachelospermum jasminoides, but these white flowers here are really really fragrant, it's a most delicious fragrance and the leaves, whilst they are evergreen and last all year, in autumn and throughout winter go a lovely kind of burgundy-red colour, so it's a good all round climber.

Finally, behind me i've got a well established plant of Boston ivy, which is a relative of the Virginia creeper and this also is a very shade tolerant plant, so this is good for shade. I want to just show you quickly how the different plants climb, because you need to know how they climb in order to judge whether or not you need to put a fixing up for these plants. The clematis climbs by twisting its leafstalk around whatever it can get hold of, either a cane or a piece of trellis or a string or wire, and in this case it's actually twisting round another leafstalk.

Moving on now to the Schizophragma; this has a very different method of climbing, this one produces little roots and you'll be able to see down here how these roots attach and, here they are, there's the plant stem producing tiny little roots, and these roots grip on to almost any surface so they can grip on to brickwork, they can grip on to woodwork and they can grip on to concrete, and there are so many of these tiny roots that they exert a real strong adhesion to whatever surface they're on. Moving on now to the passion flower, passion flower has tendrils and that's what these are, and tendrils, again, wrap around things, so they will wrap around wire or string or trellising or canes, but they can't grip on to a brick wall or a concrete wall. Next is the Trachelospermum, and you can see how readily this one climbs because it's climbing around the cane.

This is what we refer to as a twining climber, so this needs something to twine around. Again, you'll need cane or wire or trellis for this one to climb. The most unusual form of climbing mechanism is this one, the Boston Ivy, this one produces its own 'cement' at the end of little pads and it glues itself to the wall, so this one is capable of growing up almost any surface, even shiny marble if you so cared to because it can attach itself with it's own glue, and here are the sucker pads - there.

They make a really strong adhesion with the plants, there's some more there look, and so this whole plant up this wooden fence here is completely unsupported other than by gluing itself to the surface of the plant.