Ten Best Climbing Plants - Climbers

Chilean Trumpet VineClematis seiboldiiWisteria blue flowers

Our best climbing plants include some that are suitable for most garden situations. We suggest ten of the best climbing plants - climbers.

Climbing plants are so versatile - climbing by way of twining and hugging, clawing and thorns, suckering and rooting, and some just flopping everywhere until they find support to start their climb. Not all climbers are invasive or adventurous. Some are dainty!

Climbing plants can be found for all situations in the garden, shaded, or sunny, damp or dry, evergreen or flowering  - sometimes evergreen and flowering. Some climbers need space, some are happy indoors, some are better suited to walls than fences and vise versa. Many can be grown in containers, and some can even be grown as groundcover plants. Most are shrubs or perennials. A few are annuals. 

 Parthenocissus quinquefoliaThe list of best climbing plants will be changed from time to time - such is gardening. If you feel that a particular climbing plant should be added to the list, then please email us, and if we feel that it is a good suggestion, we will add it.

Our mail box leads us to believe that Climbing plants are gaining in popularity all the time - year after year!
Welcome to our best ten (and more) climbing plants. It is the same with everything. We all have our own particular favourites and it is sometimes difficult to leave a certain one out. Maybe we should have foreseen that 'Ten Best Climbing Plants' was going to be too restrictive.

Best Climbing Plants List 

Solanum jasminoides Album - The White Potato vine.
Solanum jasminoides Album - Solanum crispum Glasnevin - The best blue one. Climbing potato, or Chilean Potato Tree-Vine! A great, long flowering evergreen wall shrub or climber. As fast growing climbing plants go, this one is a superb choice. It flowers through the summer and is easily controlled by pruning. Needs support as it is not self-clinging. One of the best flowering climbers. (Not really a climbing plant - more a floppy shrub that needs support! 

Wisteria sinensis - Blue flowered Climbing plant
Wisteria sinensis - Needs to be kept under control, but what a show-off in mid spring. The Autumn colour is not too bad either.

 Pruning Wisteria This climbing plant twines around any support, and once established, sends out new shoots up to 2m long in a season! Has to be one of the best climbing plants for a sturdy support. Can be grown on stout wall wires or along a framework. 

Hydrangea petiolaris - The Climbing Hydrangea 
Hydrangea petiolaris - One of the best climbing plants against a North facing wall. White flowers against bright green foliage, then bright yellow autumn foliage. It is self-clinging by way of adventitious roots, so should only be used on walls in good condition.

This climber can also be used for an effective ground cover plant, if allowed to wander over a dry bank!


Campsis radicans - Chilean Trumpet Vine
Campsis radicans - Self-clinging climber with showy orange/red flowers mid summer. Quite a quick growing climber when established.

Can be grown in a large container, and has flowers ranging from pink through to deepest scarlet. For flowering, it is best in sunny aspect, though will grow happily in light shade.


Clematis armandi - Evergreen clematis with white flowers.
Clematis  Clematis armandii (Evergreen clematis) Pure white flowers in February - just what is needed in this normally dismal month. Good screening plant and fairly good rate of growth. Well suited to a shaded wall or fence.

 A Good climber - so much so that it would be easy to include ten varieties in this list of best ten climbing plants!

Eccremocarpos scaber - Bright crimson Red flowers.
Eccremocarpos scaber
(Chilean Glory Flower) An annual with dainty foliage and bright tubular gold to red flowers. Whilst it is not the easiest of plants to propagate from seed - it often seeds itself if left alone!

The fact that it is an annual should not deter you from growing this plant as a climber. It is well suited to growing in a container - or open ground against an otherwise difficult dry wall base.


Pyracantha assortment of berry colours.
Pyracantha Varieties (Firethorn)  Really a shrub, but with training, can be used against a wall, with great cream flower display in may followed by the berries in late summer. Can be in berry for as long as 3 months. The hungry birds are the deciding factor.

Have no hesitation in recommending this as a wall climber of sorts, for that is the way it is normally grown. Shade or full sun - dry or damp, the Pyracantha will give years of interest for many months of the year.


Vitis cognetiae - probably the best autumn colour of any plant.
Vitis coignetiae. A great climber with huge heart shaped leaves that give spectacular Autumn colour of gold through to deepest orange. Will grow in any situation, but needs support of sturdy trellis or a tree on which to ramble.

I rate this as being probably the best autumn colouring foliage of all plants! It can be rambled almost anywhere, and is particularly spectacular in autumn when allowed to forage its way up through some evergreen conifers.


Climbing Rose  Vanity
Climbing Roses.  The variety depends entirely on your favourite colour. Pink Perpetue, Golden Showers, Climbing Iceberg, are a few to consider. If I had to chose one, then it would have to be Graham Thomas: An old English Yellow climbing rose - quite fragrant with large cupped flowers, flowers throughout the summer if dead-headed. A vigorous healthy variety that will reach 8'-10' (2.4 - 3.0m) in a few years.

Roses generally are so versatile, and their use as climbers has long been recognised.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia. 

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia Creeper. A self clinging climber that can reach 40-50ft (12-15m) in height. Fantastic Autumn colour, and can be grown in a variety of ways. this runs a very close second to the more varied colours of the related Vitis cognetiae. But its vibrance is first rate and not superseded for autumn colour.

Others Climbing Plants to consider

Climbers for a North Facing Wall or Fence.

Hedera - Ivies  are good for North Facing situations with full shade. Some take a while to get established, but thereafter  are generally good growers.
'Goldheart', which starts off with small leaves, but getting larger as they mature is good, as are the larger leaved varieties such as Hedera canariensis Variegata and Hedera colchica Dentata - Also hedera sulphurea Paddies Pride.

Climbing Roses for shade  will include Golden Showers or the beautiful 'Danse du Feu'.

Hydrangea petiolaris - as above - is probably the best of all self-clinging climbers for that situation.

The Vines such as Virginia Creeper or Boston Ivy will do well in shade.

Clematis are often overlooked for shade situations. Evergreen Clematis armandii is good, and of course Clematis montana Rubra. Most Clematis will grow well in shade, but some prefer to be able to grow up towards the sun.

Jasmines - especially the Jasminum nudiflorum (winter and yellow), which is not a true climber, but can be trained against a wall or fence.

Pyracantha varieties will also do well in shade - especially if cut back to spurs each year. 

See Also


By David Hughes - 

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