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CLIMBING TWINING AND OTHER WALL SHRUBS

BY HOWARD DRURY

INTRODUCTION

Many types of shrubs are grown against walls because they:‑

Break up expanses of brickwork etc.

Provide attraction on dull areas of walls - berries flowers etc.

Cover eye‑sores

Make use of shelter provided by walls for tender shrubs

There are three basic forms of shrubs used against walls, fences or on structures such as pergolas.

1. Self clinging subjects i.e. Hedera

2. Natural climbers, having tendrils or twining e.g. Lonicera.

3. Non climbers that for various reasons are best grown against some form of support.

The latter can be split into three further groups:

a) Permanent framework trained to wall e.g. Chaenomeles

b) Weak stemmed shrubs which benefit from some support e.g. Escallonia, Jasminum

c) Strong growing shrubs which benefit from protection e.g. Abutilon and Acacia.

PLANTING WALL SHRUBS

As with shrubs in general but in many cases it is necessary to remove hard surfaces and prepare planting pits of adequate size. These are then filled with a suitable compost for the species being planted. In many cases it is beneficial to plant the shrub 9‑12" (225‑300mm) from base of wall.                                          


TRAINING YOUNG SHRUBS

For the majority of wall shrubs some form of frame‑work will be required e.g. groups 2, 3a, 3b. This can be provided in the following ways.

1. A rigid frame‑work supported off the wall.                            

2. A flexible netting attached to the wall.                                   

3. A series of wires held off the wall by special eyes.

4. A series of wooden laths nailed to the wall.

5. By using masonry nails to tie in shrubs.

TRUE CLIMBING WALL PLANTS

1. SELF CLINGING SUBJECTS

 

Euonymus radicans - evergreen, variegated leaves autumn colour use in any site

Hedera spps. - hardy evergreen, variegated leaves, causes no damage to sound" walls

Hydrangea petiolaris - white flowers in June & July. Do not plant on south walls

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia Creeper, good autumn colour. Any aspect

Schizophragma hydrangoides - rose pink flowers in June and July, best on old walls and stumps etc.

PRUNING SELF CLINGING WALL SHRUBS

There are two methods of pruning these subjects:‑

 a) Clip over whole surface once or twice before growth commences and during the season this keeps the wall evenly furnished.

 b) No regular pruning so allowing mature branches to form, pruning only being carried out where branches become too large.   

 Note:‑ Hydrangea petiolaris flowers on short spurs of mature wood therefore these should only be pruned when they become too large otherwise few flowers will be produced.

2. SUBJECTS WHICH CAN BE TRAINED HARD AGAINST WALLS

This is often achieved by tying them to some support system many are in fact natural climbers and may be used to ramble over old trees pergolas etc.

NATURAL CLIMBERS  

Clematis montana - White‑pink flowers in spring. Grow over trellis arch in sun with roots in shade (2)(5)

Clematis jackmanii - Blue‑pink flowers. Train over arch in sun, roots in shade (3)

Eccremocarpus scaber - Evergreen, orange flowers. Grow in shady position on wires (5)(3)

Jasminum officinale - Scented white flowers summer. All aspects (3)

Lonicera periclymenum - Red/white flowers, scented. Pergola or arch flowers on old wood (2)

Lonicera japonica - Red/white flowers scented. Pergola flowers on new wood (3)

Lapageria rosea - Red flowers late summer, not entirely hardy, needs protection of a wall (5)

Passiflora caerulea - Blue white flowers in summer. Not entirely hardy (4)

SELF CLINGING SUBJECTS

Polygonum baldschuanicum - Cream flowers fast growing. Any site

Rosa spp. - White/red flowers thorny stems. Any site

Solanum crispum - Purple/yellow flowers Aug/Sept. Full sun

Wisteria sinensis - Lilac flowers. Any site

Vitis spp. - Autumn colours and fruits. Any site

METHODS OF PRUNING NATURAL CLIMBERS

Most of the shrubs listed above can be divided into one of 5 groups for pruning purposes.

1. Those which are pruned back to a definite frame‑work and spur system e.g. Wisteria, shorten any long laterals to 5 buds in summer. In February shorten laterals to 2 buds to induce flowering. This method contains any long growths which would otherwise obstruct paths etc.

2. Those which are pruned annually after flowering by taking out old wood to encourage production of young flowering wood e.g.Lonicera, difficult to carry out.

3. Those which are pruned hard back each year often near to the ground e.g. Clematis jackmanii cvs. prune in spring after winter as buds swell.

4. Those which gain height by scandent habit e.g. Rosa species where old wood is replaced by new young growths, also true of Forsythia suspensa pruning is usually carried out after flowering it is in fact a semi-permanent frame‑work.

5. Those which require little pruning to control size only.

3. NON CLIMBERS PLANTED AGAINST A WALL

These can be classified according to habit.

 a) Those with a permanent frame‑work trained fanwise on the wall.

Chaenomeles spp. - Red‑pink flowers and fruits. Any site

Cotoneaster spp. - Flowers and berries. Any site

Pyracantha spp. - Flowers and berries. Any site

Pruning of these subjects consists of summer pruning laterals to one third of their length as the stem hardens these are later pruned back to 2‑3 buds during the winter.                    

b) Weaker stemmed shrubs which need some support against a wall.

Ceanothus spp. - Pink or blue flowers in spring. South‑west walls

Escallonia spp. - Pink flowers in summer. Not on east walls

Forsythia suspensa - Yellow spring flowers. Any site

Jasminum nudiflorum - Yellow spring flowers. Any site

Some of the shrubs in this group such as Escallonia require shelter provided by warmer walls i.e. south and west facing. Although not entirely necessary some form of support allows control over the plant. Pruning in general is carried out after flowering to control overall size as required.

c) Strong growing shrubs which are grown in the vacinity of a wall or fence.

This group generally contains tender shrubs and these can normally only be grown on south or west facing walls in the milder areas of Britain.                                    

Abelia floribunda - Red flowers in June . South and west walls only

Camellia japonica - Evergreen, pink or red flowers. North walls

Garrya elliptica - Evergreen and catkins.

Magnolia grandiflora - Cream flowers. South and west walls

Viburnum grandiflorum - Pink flowers November-January. Sunny walls only

Pruning is only carried out to contain overall size of shrub by removing unwanted old wood.                                                                   

CLIMBERS SUITABLE FOR NORTH AND EAST ASPECTS

 Aristolochia macrophylla - Not suitable for east facing walls

Azara microphylla - Yellow flowers, March-April

Berberidopsis corallina - Deep rich red flowers July onwards

Celastrus scandens - Vigorous and twining. Startling fruits in autumn.

Chaenomeles in variety

Clematis varieties - Large flowered

Clematis miscellaneous species & varieties (See Fact Sheet 1)

Cotoneaster horizontalis - Small glossy leaves. Scarlet berries

Cotoneaster lacteus - Orange red fruits persisting all winter

C. salicifolius - Scarlet berries in autumn

Escallonia varieties - Unsuitable for east facing walls

Euonymus varieties - All self clinging climbers

Euonymus fortunei (forms) - 4‑5 m + when trained. Densely leafed

E.'Colorata' - Leaves crimson purple throughout winter

E.'Silver Queen'- Climbs slowly to 2‑3m by 1.5m

E.'Vegeta' - Similar to fortunei with mid‑green broadly ovate leaves

Forsythia suspensa - Golden yellow flowers March-April

Garrya elliptica - Silky catkins in mid‑winter

Hedera canariensis 'Variegata'- 3.5 by 3.5m Silver and white variegated leaves

H. colchica - 4‑5m by 4m. Dark matt green leaves

H.'Dentata Aurea' - 3m by 3m. Soft green leaves with yellow variegation

H.helix 'Buttercup'- 2m by 2m. Bright golden leaves

H.h.'Caenwoodiana'- 3m by 3m. Dark green leaves with white veins

H.h.'Gold Heart' - 3 by 3m. Rich green leaves with yellow centre

H.hibernica - 4m by 4m. Large dark green leaves

Hydrangea petiolaris - Self clinging white flowers June-July

Jasminum nudiflorum - Bright yellow flowers November-March. Avoid east walls

J.officinale 'Grandiflorum' - Sweet scented white flowers in summer

Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora' - Bright green stems Double yellow flowers April/May

Lonicera x americana - Vigorous. Scented flowers white deepening to yellow June/September

Lonicera japonica 'Aureoreticulata'- Leaves netted by golden yellow veins

Parthenocissus - Autumn colours of dazzling red or crimson hues

Polygonum baldschuanicum - Covered in cream flowers in July/October. Rampant.

Pyracantha varieties - Berry bearing.

P. angustifolia - Not suitable

Vitis - Vigorous climbers with brilliant autumn colours    

CLIMBERS FOR SOUTH AND WEST WALLS

Abeliophyllum distichum - Almond scented flowers in February/March

Abutilon megapotamicum - Exotic looking lantern flowers April onwards

A. vitifolium - Leaves covered with white down. Mauve flowers June/July

Acacia dealbata - Pinnate leaves with silvery sheen/. Fluffy yellow flowers

Actinidia chinensis - Cream coloured flowers July/August

A. kolomikta - Large leaves starting green then assuming cream and pink hues

Akebia quinata - Vigorous twining, deep green leaves

Aristolochia macrophylla - Vigorous twiner bright green leaves

Azara microphylla - Yellow flowers March/April. Frond‑like leaves

Buddleia colvilei - Deep rose flowers with white throat. June flowering

B. fallowiana 'Alba' - Long silvery green leaves. White flowers July/August

Campsis grandiflora - Lush foliage. Orange and red trumpets August onwards

Ceanothus varieties - Fluffy blue flowers

Chimonanthus - Sweetly scented yellow or ivory flowers in winter

Clematis in variety - Ideal for west facing wall

Clianthus puniceus 'Red Cardinal' - Luxuriantly leafy evergreens

Cytisus battandieri - Golden yellow pineapple scented flowers in summer

Eccremocarpus scaber - Orange red flowers June onwards

Escallonia varieties - Flowers from white to deep red

Ficus carica - Huge leaves brown to purple figs. Vigorous

Fremontodendron californicum - Bright yellow flowers all summer

Fuchsia in variety - Thrive at the foot of sunny walls

Hebe - All thrive at foot of sunny walls

H.'Great Orme' - Bright pink flowers July/October

H.'Midsummer Beauty' - Lavender spikes all summer

H.speciosa - Flowers August/October

H.'Gauntlettii' - Rose pink flowers

H.'Veitchii' - Deep purple

Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' - Golden Hop. Deeply lobed soft yellow leaves

Hydrangea petiolaris - Not suitable for south walls

Itea ilicifolia - Greenish white fragrant flowers. August

Leptospermum scoparium 'Nichollsii' - Bright crimson May/June

L.s.'Red Damask' - Cherry and red flowers May/June

Lippia citriodora - Lemon scented leaves when crushed. Mauve flowers

Lonicera 'Dropmore Scarlet' - Flowers bright scarlet July/Oct

L.x tellmanniana - Clusters of golden yellow flowers June/July

Magnolia grandiflora 'Exmouth' - Richly scented cream flowers July to September

Myrtus - Myrtle. Fragrant white flowers

Passiflora caerulea - Flowers June-Sept.

Phygelius capensis - Scarlet flowers July-September

Piptanthus laburnifolius - Dark leaves, yellow flowers May-June

Prunus triloba 'Multiplex' - Double pink flowers in spring

Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin' - Purple blue flowers July-October

Trachelospermum jasminoides - Scented white flowers July-August

Viburnum burkwooddii - Fragrant white corymbs April-May

V.b.'Park Farm Variety' - As above

Vitis - Vigorous climbers brilliant autumn colours

Wisteria - Fast growing twiners May-June

SELF CLINGING CLIMBERS (NO SUPPORT REQUIRED)

Euonymus fortunei forms - Reaches 4 ‑ 5 m

E. 'Colorata' - Crimson purple blue foliage in winter

E.'Silver Queen' - Silver variegated foliage

E.'Vegetus' - Orange berries in autumn

Hedera canariensis 'Variegata' - Silver and white variegated leaves

H. colchica - Dark matt green leaves

H. 'Dentata Aurea' - Soft green leaves with yellow variegation

H. helix 'Buttercup' - Bright golden leaves

H.h.'Caenwoodiana' - Dark green leaves with white veins

H. h. 'Gold Heart' - Rich green leaves with yellow centre

H. h. hibernica - Large dark green leaves

Hydrangea petiolaris - Flat heads white flowers June/July

Parthenocissus - Autumn colours of dazzling red or crimson hues

TWINERS (NO TYING TO THE SUPPORT IS REQUIRED)

Abutilon megapotanicum - Flowers April onwards

Actinidia chinensis - Cream coloured flowers July/August

Actinidia kolomikta - Large leaves starting green then cream and pink variegations

Akebia quinata - Vigorous. Large deep green leaves

Aristolochia macrophylla - Vigorous. Very large bright green leaves

Celastrus scandens - Vigorous. Startling fruits in autumn

Clematis varieties - Large flowered

Clematis - miscellaneous species & varieties

Eccremocarpus scaber - Orange red tubular flowers June

Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' - Golden Hop. Deeply lobed soft yellow leaves

Jasminum nudiflorum - Bright yellow flowers Nov-March

J. officinale 'Grandiflorum' - Scented white flowers in summer

J. x stephanese - Scented pale pink flowers June-August

Lonicera x americana - Vigorous, scented white-yellow flowers

L. 'Dropmore Scarlet' - Scarlet tubular flowers July-October

L.japonica 'Aureo-reticulata' - Leaves netted by golden yellow veins

L.j.'Halliana' - Sweet scented flowers June-October

L.j.repens - Scented flowers June-October

L.periclymenum 'Belgica' - Scented flowers May-July

L.p. 'Serontina' - Flowers similar to 'Belgica' July-Sept.

Passiflora caerulea - Flowers June-Sept. Orange fruits

Polygonum baldschuanicum - Vigorous. Cream flowers July-October

Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin'- Purple flowers. July-October

Vitis - Vigorous climbers brilliant autumn colours

Wisteria floribunda 'Rosea' - Pale pink flowers May-June

W. sinensis - Mauve-purple flowers May-June

W. venusta - White flower trusses May-June      

VIGOROUS CLIMBERS

 Actinidia chinensis - Large leaves, cream flowers. July-Aug

Akebia quinata - Twining climbers up to 8m.

Berberidopsis corallina - Red flowers July onwards

Campsis grandiflora - Lush foliage. Orange-red trumpets from August. 6-7m by 4m

Celastrus scandens - 6-8m. Twining stems, startling fruits in autumn                  

Clematis varieties - Large flowered

Clianthus puniceus 'Red Cardinal' - Leafy evergreen

Hedera colchica - Persian Ivy. Large dark leaves

H. hibernica - Irish Ivy. Five lobed large leaves

Jasminum nudiflorum - Bright yellow flowers Nov-March

J.officinale 'Grandiflorum' - Scented flowers in summer

J. x stephanese - Twining up to 4-5m. Scented pale pink flowers June-Aug.

Lonicera x americana - 6-8m. Scented flowers June-Sept

L.'Dropmore Scarlet' - 3-4m. Scarlet flowers July-October

L.japonica 'Halliana' - Sweet scented flowers June-October

L. repens - Scented flowers June-October

L.periclymenum 'Belgica' - Scented flowers May-June

L.'Serontina' - Flowers similar to 'Belgica'

Parthenocissus henryana - Climbs by tendrils and adhesive pads.

P.quinquefolia - Virginian Creeper. 7 x 6m. Scarlet foliage in autumn

P.tricuspidata 'Veitchii' - 7 x 6m brilliant autumn colour

Passiflora caerulea - 4 x 3m. Flowers June-September. Orange fruits in autumn

Polygonum baldschuanicum - Rampant grower up to 6m per year.

Vitis coignetiae - 9m. Huge leaves. Autumn colour

V. vivifera 'Brandt' - Hardy fruiting vine. Autumn colour, sweet grapes

V.'Purpurea' - 8m. Claret leaves turning purple later

Wisteria floribunda 'Rosea' - Pink flowers May-June

W. sinensis - Mauve to purple flowers

W. venusta - White flower trusses                                                         

 

SHRUBS BENEFITING FROM WALL PROTECTION

 Abeliophyllum distichum - Almond scented flowers Feb-March

Abutilon megapotanicum - Flowers April onwards

Acacia dealbata - Leaves with silvery sheen. Fluffy yellow flowers

Azara microphylla - Yellow flowers March/April

Buddleia colvilei - Deep rose flowers with white throat. June

B.fallowiana 'Alba' - Pure white flowers July/August

Carpenteria californica - Large white flowers with golden anthers June/July

Ceanothus varieties - Evergreens with fluffy blue flowers

Chimonanthus - Sweetly scented flowers produced during winter months

Cytisus battandieri - Golden yellow pineapple scented flowers in July

Escallonia varieties - Flowers from white to deep red

Fremontodendron californicum - Yellow flowers all summer

Garrya elliptica - Silky catkins in mid‑winter

Hebe angustifolia 'Great Orme' - Bright pink flowers July/October

H. Fairfieldii - 1.2 by 1m. Dwarfer and sturdier than H. bulkeana

H. 'Midsummer Beauty' - Lavender spikes throughout summer

H. speciosa - Flowers August/October

H. 'Gauntlettii' - Rose pink flowers

H.'Veitchii' - Deep purple

Itea ilicifolia - Greenish‑white fragrant flowers August

Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora' - Bright green stems. Double yellow flowers April/May

Leptospermum scoparium Nichollsii - Bright crimson flowers May-June

L.'Red Damask' - Cherry red flowers May/June

Lippia citriodora - Lemon‑scented leaves when crushed. Mauve flowers

Magnolia grandiflora 'Exmouth' - Richly scented cream flowers July/September

Myrtus - Fragrant white flowers July/September

Phygelius capensis - Miniature scarlet flowers July/September

Prunus triloba 'Multiplex' - Double pink flowers early March/early April

Pyracantha varieties - Handsome berry‑bearing evergreen spiny shrubs

Rhapiolepis - Pink flowers June/July and intermittently throughout the year

Robinia hispida 'Rosea' - Attractive pinnate foliage

Senecio cineraria - Silver foliage gem

Viburnum burkwoodii - Fragrant white corymbs April/May

V.'Park Farm Hybrid' - Flowering as above, but more spreading habit

CLIMBERS FOR PERGOLAS

Celastrus scandens - Vigorous twining stems. Startling fruits in autumn

Clematis varieties - Large flowered

Jasminum nudiflorum - Bright yellow flowers November/March

J.officinale 'Grandiflorum' - Sweet scented white flowers in summer

J.x stephanense - Scented pale pink flowers June/August

Lonicera x americana - Vigorous. White flowers deepening to yellow June/September

L.japonica 'Aureo-reticulata' - Leaves netted by golden veins

L.j.'Halliana' - Sweet scented flowers June-October

L.j.repens - Scented flowers June-October

L.periclymenum 'Belgica' - Scented flowers May-July

L.p. 'Serotina' - Similar flowers to 'Belgica' in July-Sept.

L.tellmanniana - Golden yellow flowers June-July

Roses - Please see Fact Sheet 136

Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin' - Purple blue flowers July-October

Vitis - Vigorous. Brilliant autumn colours.

CLIMBERS WITH SCENTED FLOWERS

Abeliophyllum distichum - Almond scented blush pink florets

Acacia dealbata - Small, scented fluffy yellow balls in April

Actinidia chinensis - Cream flowers in July-August

Azara microphylla - Scented yellow flowers March-April

Clematis flammula - White flowers Aug-September

C. montana - Almond scented flowers in May-June

Chimonanthus - Winter Sweet. Claw like flowers superbly scented

Cytisus battandieri - Pineapple scented yellow flowers

Jasminum officinale 'Grandiflorum' - Scented white flowers in summer

J. x stephanese - Pale pink scented flowers June-August

Lippia citriodora - Lemon scented leaves when crushed. Mauve flowers

Lonicera x americana - Vigorous. White-yellow flowers

L.periclymenum 'Belgica' - Rose-purple and yellow flowers in May-June

L.p.'Serotina' - Similar to 'Belgica' July-Sept.

Pyracantha varieties - Hawthorn like flowers May-June

Trachelospermum jasminoides - White flower clusters July-August

Viburnum burkwoodii - White corymbs April-May

CLIMBERS WITH ORNAMENTAL FRUIT

Actinidia chinensis - Edible. Elongated gooseberries in July-August

Akebia quinata - Fleshy, sausage shaped chocolate coloured fruits

Celastrus scandens - Orange seed vessels exposing scarlet seeds

Chaenomeles - All have edible quinces. Golden yellow in autumn

Cotoneaster horizontalis - Scarlet berries

C.lacteus - Orange red fruits persisting all winter

C.salicifolius - Scarlet berries in autumn

Passiflora caerulea - Orange egg-shaped fruits

Pyracantha - All produce berries in winter

P. angustifolia - Orange yellow berries

P.'Mojave' - Large orange red berries

P.'Orange Glow' - Bright orange red berries

P. rogersiana - Bright red berries

P.r.'Flava' - Brilliant yellow berries

P.'Soleil d'Or'- Yellow berries

Vitis coignetiae - Small purple grapes

V.vinifera 'Brandt' - Sweet purple grapes ripen early

CLIMBERS FOR USE ALSO AS GROUND COVER

Clematis in variety - Large flowered. Miscellaneous species and varieties.

Cotoneaster horizontalis - Small glossy leaves. Scarlet berries

Euonymus fortunei - Reaches 4 ‑ 5 m

E. 'Colorata' - Crimson‑purple blue foliage in winter

E.'Silver Queen' - Silver variegated foliage

E.'Vegetus' - Orange berries in autumn

Hydrangea petiolaris - White flowers June/July. Avoid south slopes

Lonicera japonica 'Aureoreticulata'- Golden yellow veining scented flowers June/October

L.j.'Halliana' - Scented flowers June-October

Roses - Please see relevant Fact Sheets

Pyracantha Soleil d'Or - Taller cover afforded by densely leaved evergreens

FURTHER READING

Many gardening books contain a section on climbing plants but there are a number of books dealing specifically with this type of plant, a few of which are listed below.

Climbers & Wall Plants by Alan Titchmarsh

Climbing & Wall Plants by G Preston (Wisley Handbook) - £3.95

Vertical Gardening by C Boisset - approx. £14.95

SOURCES OF SUPPLY

Although many of these plants are available through good garden centres the more unusual plants can be found through specialist nurseries supplying climbing plants and in cases of difficulty please refer to The Plant Finder published by the RHS. This excellent publication lists over 75,000 plants and nurseries which supply them. It is published annual and currently costs around £15.99.

The information given in this Fact Sheet is provided in good faith. It is however of necessity general information and advice on the topic. Howard Drury will not be under any liability in respect of the provision of such advice and information and you are strongly advised to seek independent advice on any particular gardening problems or queries you may have, preferably from experts who can (when appropriate) inspect the problem before providing advice.

(C) 2016. This material has been produced by Howard Drury and must not be reproduced in part or full without the written consent of Howard Drury, Kings Heath Birmingham, B13 0SJ.

JHD/05/05/2016

Parent Category: Gardening Fact Sheets
Category: Fact Sheets 2016
Last Updated: 13 May 2016
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