How to Plant Climbers

Use this step-by-step guide to learn how to grow eye-catching climbing plants in your garden.

Blooming Clematis Covers Wall for Rustic Look

Blooming Clematis Covers Wall for Rustic Look

Clematis produces abundant foliage, which makes them great for creating privacy and covering ugly spots, like chain link fences or a wall. Their climbing ability makes them look beautiful when trained to grow up rock walls or metal garden structures.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Materials Needed

  • climbing plants
  • wire supports or trellis panels
  • shovel
  • organic compost or manure
  • bamboo canes
  • watering can or garden hose
  • fertilizer
  • twine
  • organic mulch or bark chips

Step 1: Fix Wire Supports

Srew Eyes and Wire Used to Create Climber Support

Srew Eyes and Wire Used to Create Climber Support

Simple eye screws and wire will make a quick and easy support for a climber to use for support as it grows.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fix wire supports or trellis panels before you plant your climber against a wall or fence. Then dig up and enrich the soil with organic matter, such as well-rotted compost or manure. Avoid planting your climber too close to the wall or fence because the soil there is likely to be very dry.

Step 2: Dig a Hole

Plant Climber in Hole Twice as Wide as Nursery Pot

Plant Climber in Hole Twice as Wide as Nursery Pot

When planting a potato vine in the ground, dig a hole that is as deep, but twice the size of the pot the potato vine came in. Take the plant out, dirt and all. Place the plant in the center of the hole and backfill it with soil.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Dig a hole about 18 inches from a fence (or a little closer to a post), making it twice as wide and slightly deeper than the plant pot. Place the pot in the hole to check the planting depth.

Step 3: Place Bamboo Canes

Create Fan Shaped Trellis Using Bamboo Canes

Create Fan Shaped Trellis Using Bamboo Canes

Arrange a fan of bamboo canes behind the planting hole, leaning them back toward the fence. The canes will lead the climber stems up to the horizontal wires and spread them over a larger area.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Arrange canes in a fan shape. Attach the canes to the horizontal wires on the fence to provide a temporary support for the climber until it reaches the wires.

Step 4: Place Plant in the Hole

Position Climber Toward Trellis When Planting

Position Climber Toward Trellis When Planting

Plant the climber toward the canes, backfilling the hole with enriched soil. Make sure the root ball is not above the surface. Add fertilizer to the soil.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Water the plant; then remove it from its pot. Place it in the hole, and lean it toward the fence; ensure the root ball is not above the soil surface. Add fertilizer to the excavated soil.

Step 5: Fill In With Soil

Firm Soil Around Climber and Water Well

Firm Soil Around Climber and Water Well

Firm the climber in and create a shallow water reservoir around the base of the plant. Water thoroughly.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fill in around the roots with soil, firming it down with your fingers. Make a saucer-shaped depression with the surrounding soil around the base of the climber to create a water reservoir.

Step 6: Tie the Stems to the Canes

Tie Stems Loosely to Trellis Using Garden Twine

Tie Stems Loosely to Trellis Using Garden Twine

Using soft garden twine and a loose figure eight knot, tie the stems to the canes. Train outer stems onto lower wires and stems at center of plant up to cover higher wires. Apply mulch ensuring that it does not touch the stems.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Tie the stems loosely to the canes with twine. Water the plant — the reservoir will guide moisture to the roots. Apply a mulch of organic matter or bark chips, leaving a space around the stems. 

Next Up

When to Prune Climbing Plants

Knowing when to prune climbing plants like clematis ensures proper growth and flowering. 

A Guide to Climbing Clematis Plants

Discover the climbing clematis that will work best for your garden space with this helpful guide.

Pruning and Training Climbing Plants

Knowing when and how to prune climbing plants is essential to remove dead stems and promote healthy growth.

Planting Climbers Against a Wall

Follow these steps to decorate your garden space by training climbing plants against a wall or fence.

Planting a Climber

Easily plant a climber in a container with these step-by-step instructions.

Training a Climbing Rose

Climbing roses need a little different care from other types of rosebushes. Follow these steps to create a beautiful display in your garden.

Add Dimension With Climbing Plants and Wall Shrubs

Learn how to select and care for your climbing plants with this helpful guide.

Design Ideas for Climbers and Wall Shrubs

Discover colorful options for making climber plants and wall shrubs a part of your garden design.

Tips for Growing Climbing Plants

Most climbers are inherently vigorous as they scramble upward in pursuit of light. Learn how to choose the right climbers for your location.

Choosing Plants for Arches and Pergolas

Add life to your arch or pergola with these suggestions for colorful and exotic climbing flowers.