4 Basic Things You Need to Know About Growing Climbing Plants

The planting of walls, pergolas, arches and trellis work with suitable plants is an important part of gardening, and deserves special consideration.

1) Planting If you are planting at the base of a wall, the soil may well be of poor quality and contain subsoil or broken bricks, and if this is so, good soil in the form of loam should be substituted. It is also important to remember that the soil at the foot of a wall will tend to be much drier than other parts of the garden, and you should not forget to water. The old fashioned method of attaching climbing plants to walls with nails looks ugly, and may well damage the bricks. The best thing is to fix a wooden trellis to the wall, but tightly stretched wires are just as good.

2) Aftercare Wall plants often need extra care during their first season. A good mulch of garden compost or well rotted manure should be given to conserve moisture, and some protection against frost may be needed.

3) Pruning and Training Climbing Plants Unless pruning and training are correctly carried out, the whole effect of your wall trellis or pergola may be spoilt. The object of training is to cover a bare surface, but not completely, and of course it is important to keep windows free. Shrub-like plants, such as wisteria, should be trained out to give cover where required, and have all shoots cut back annually to within two or three buds. Wisteria is best pruned just after leaf fall, but berrying shrubs should have unwanted shoots cut out in the early autumn in order to expose the fruits. For clematis, correct pruning and training is very important.

The early flowering ones should be carefully spaced out to give a basic framework; this will probably take at least two years. After the first year they should be cut back to within 60cm or 24 inch of the ground; this should be done in August. The later flowering varieties are pruned in February just as growth commences by cutting back young shoots to two or three buds. In the training of wall plants, care must be taken to ensure that no woody stems are allowed to grow between the wall and any down pipes, as this will eventually cause trouble.

Rambler roses are not suited to wall training, but are very valuable for arches, pergolas or trellises. Each year when flowering is finished they should be taken down from their supports, and the old flowered growths should be cut out completely. The young wood should then be evenly tied in over the space available. Both ramblers and climbers when newly planted should be cut back fairly hard in March. 4) List of Climbing Plants The ever-popular clematis.