Making a Stable Base: Providing Support for Climbers

Want to plant a climber but not sure how to support it? Look no further. We'll walk you through all the options here, whether you need something large or small, free-standing or attached.

Excerpted from Garden Design
Horizontal Wires Offer Good Support for Climbers Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Horizontal Wires

Climbers and wall shrubs scale vertical surfaces in a variety of ways, and the support you provide depends on their vigor and methods of climbing. Some, such as jasmine, honeysuckle and wisteria are twiners; clematis have coiling leaf stalks; and sweet peas, passionflowers andn vines cling with tendrils. Horizontal wires offer the most adaptable support for climbers, wall-trained shrubs and fruit trees. Training stems horizontally increases flower and fruit production.

Encourage Rambling Rose to Climb Tree on a Rope Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Trees and Other Host Plants

To encourage a rambler rose to clamber up into a fruit tree, plant it 3 feet away from trunk and give it a rope - pegged to the ground and run to the lowest branch - to climb.

Tie Climbers to Trellis Against a Wall or Screen Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009


Wooden trellis can be used against a wall or as a screen. Climbing roses, honeysuckle, clematis and passionflower may secure themselves, but tying them in also helps.

Garden Obelisks Provide Support for Large Climbers Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009


These provide ideal support for large-flowered clematis, jasmine and climbing roses, and annual climbers, such as sweet peas, morning glory and runner beans.

No Support Needed for Climbers Like Boston Ivy Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

No Support Needed

Plants such as Boston ivy have tendrils that adhere to walls without support. Ivy and climbing hydrangea have self-clinging roots on their stems. Some initial support is useful.

Trellis Fan Added to Container to Support Climber Garden Design ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

Planting in Pots

Large containers, especially glazed ceramic pots or oak half barrels, create the opportunity for covering walls, fences and screens, even without a bed or border. Some pots and troughs come with freestanding trellis support, but you can also add a trellis fan as shown here. Try small- to medium-sized species and cultivars, such as Alpine clematis, and annual climbers like Chilean glory vine and morning glory.

Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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