Adding climbing plants on a trellis in your garden is a great way to welcome wildlife into your space, and to make the most of every inch of your garden. But which climbing plants should you choose? Here are some top trellis-friendly climbing plants to consider:
Climbing or Rambling Roses – Such as Rosa Canina and Rosa Arvensis
Many roses are wonderful choices for UK gardens. There are many different roses to consider, for many different situations. Some roses will do best in full sun, while others will be perfectly happy in light or partial shade. For wildlife, native roses with single, non-complex flowers such as the dog rose, Rosa canina, and the field rose, Rosa arvensis, are amongst the best options. And as native species they can thrive in many UK gardens.
Honeysuckle – Lonicera Peryclemenium
Another of our top picks for a trellis, fence or hedge which is a native plant is our native honeysuckle, Lonicera peryclemenium. Honeysuckle will fill your garden with a wonderful fragrance while in flower, enhancing the space for human inhabitants. But it can also be very good for a wide range of wildlife with whom you share your space.
Clematis Ssp. – Such as Clematis Vitalba
Clematis are amongst the best known and best loved climbing plants for good reason. There are Clematis which work well in almost any spot – whether you are growing in full sun, partial shade, or a lightly shaded spot. One of our top picks is Clematis vitalba, another native plant (in the south). It is also known as ‘traveller’s joy’, or ‘old man’s beard’. This climber flowers between July and September and aids a range of pollinating insects. It is food for several moth species, and seedheads provide food for birds such as goldfinches too.
Evergreen Climbing Plants Like English Ivy – Hedera Helix
Ivy can grow even in more shaded positions, and is therefore ideal for a north-facing trellis. There are many different ivy types to choose from. But all will be a boon for a wide range of wildlife throughout the year. Of course, evergreen climbers like ivy will also add a lush green feel to any space throughout all of the seasons. Variegated cultivars provide plenty of visual interest.
Hydrangea – Hydrangea Anomala Petiolaris
This is another well-known climber to consider for a partially shaded or shaded spot. It is well known for its attractive white blooms, and also for being remarkably easy to grow in many situations. This is another plant which will be of great benefit in a wildlife friendly garden, providing a food source, shelter etc. for a wide range of different creatures.
Fragrant Climbing Plants Like Jasmine – Jasminum officinalis
A wonderful climber for a sheltered spot in full sun or light shade, Jasmine is another wonderful climber to consider. These have a delightful fragrance that means that they can work very well close to windows, or to a seating area in your garden. In the right spot, they can bring a lot of joy to people and to wildlife over the summer months.
Star Jasmine – Trachelospermum jasminoides
Hardy winter jasmine, also known as star jasmine, is not a true jasmine at all. But this is another great flowering climber to consider for your garden. And like true jasmines, it will bring a wide range of wildlife into your space, and bring a range of benefits throughout the year if grown in a suitably warm and sheltered spot.
Common Hops – Humulus Lupulus
Common hops are another native plant to consider growing against a trellis in your garden. This is another plant that will bring benefits for wildlife in your garden. More than this, however, hops is also an interesting edible plant to consider. You may well be familiar with the fact that hops is used in brewing beer. But you may not be aware that you can also eat young hops shoots as a delicious vegetable in the spring. Growing interesting edible climbing plants can be a great way to make use of a trellis in your garden.
Edible Climbing Plants Like Runner Beans – Phaseolus coccinium
If you do decide to use a trellis to grow edible crops, then runner beans will surely be close to the top of your list. Runner beans can deliver high yields of edible pods, and can also be left to mature on the vine for beans that can be dried for later use. One great thing about this edible climber is that it not only provides a bounty of food, but also looks good. In some parts of the world, runner beans are grown primarily as an ornamental flowering plant. They can have attractive scarlet, peach/pink or white flowers.
Fruits – Cane Fruits or Vines
There are, of course, plenty of other edible climbing plants to consider, which will look great, attract wildlife, and provide you with an edible yield. Fruiting canes and vines are, of course, other great options.
For example, raspberries, Tayberries, Loganberries, Boysenberries, and many other cane fruits can be tied into a trellis support to make the most of your space.
Other great options in many regions include grape vines, in sunny and sheltered spots. And other climbing or vining fruits. Kiwi is one other interesting option to consider – which you might not realise that you can grow in a UK garden.
Of course, many other fruits on vines can also be grown as annuals on a trellis in your garden. Growing squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, etc on a trellis can be a great vertical gardening solution that will allow you to obtain as high a yield of edible fruits as possible in your garden.
Choosing Trellis-Friendly Climbing Plants
Choosing trellis-friendly climbing plants that are right for your garden is key. Remember to think about whether you would like to grow perennial or annual climbers, and about what you would like to achieve from the plant choices you make.
This list is just the beginning. Of course it is important to choose plants for your trellis which are suited to your garden, and to the particular location. It is vital to pay attention to the environmental conditions and to choose the right plants for the right places. It is also important to think about how large a climber will grow, and how quickly, to make sure you choose a plant suitable for a particular space.
As you choose plants for your garden, do not forget climbers. And consider those on the list above as you work towards selecting the right options for you.
Which climbing plants do you grow in your garden? Which would you recommend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.