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The Best Climbing Plants for Fences

10 February 2022

Pink roses on fence trellis

A great way to bring an everyday fence to life is to adorn it with climbing plants. Greening up every inch of your garden can elevate your outdoor space to a whole new level, as long as you select the right plants for the job.

So get some inspiration by taking a look through our recommendations for the best climbing plants for fences, along with some maintenance and care tips to keep them looking their best.

Do I need a trellis for climbing plants?

Not necessarily! Depending on the characteristics of the plants you choose, a trellis isn’t always needed. Some plants will grow just fine on solid or semi-solid fence panels, while some will favour trellis structures for something to latch on to. Either way, a bit of research will reveal which species are best suited for which style of fence. Just bear in mind that solid fences will not allow as much light through as slatted, trellised styles, and this may influence the type of plant that will thrive there.

You may decide that it’s worthwhile to pop some wire onto your solid fence to aid the plants, or to choose a fence style that has a trellis or slatted top so you can choose from a greater variety of plant species.

Pink roses on fence trellis

Can climbing plants damage my fence?

As long as you select the right species for the right location, climbing plants are more likely to be an asset to your fence than a menace. You’ll want to avoid invasive species, as they are non-native to this country and can spread and suppress native species – which is altogether bad news.

It’s also wise to avoid woody vines as they can grow too rapidly and trap a lot of moisture against the wood of the fence, leading to the development of disease. The strong roots can also break up the structure of the fence.

Instead, opt for non-woody vines which are much more gentle to your fence, do not hold too much moisture and can be easily kept in check through pruning – they also often have annual flowering plants, which add a pretty touch to your garden.

Let’s take a look at some of the best options.

The best climbing plants for sunny spots

If you’re leaning towards plants that favour sunny spots, make sure you position them along south or west-facing zones as these are areas that absorb the most sunlight.

Some examples of sun-loving climbing plants include Virginia Creeper, Passion Flower, Figs, Apples, Cherries, Apricots, Flowering Maple, Winter Jasmine, Honeysuckle and Wisteria. Pay a visit to your local garden centre for more inspiration and advice.

winter jasmine is a climbing plant

The best climbing plants for shady spots

For more shade-tolerant species, you can get away with putting them in colder areas of the garden that are out of direct sunlight.

Just a few examples of plants that can grow in more shady spots include Flame Nasturtium, Climbing Hydrangea, Sausage Vine, Clematis Montana, Ivy, Japanese Quince and a few Rose varieties. The more fragranced varieties can also be a superb attractor of bees and other vital pollinators.

Pink Japanese Quince

How to maintain your climbing plants

When it comes to planting and maintenance, make sure you follow advice from the gardening centre where you purchased your plant, or from the internet to get reliable guidance on the specific species that you have chosen.

In most cases, the climbing plants should be pruned soon after flowering, and then should be fed and mulched. Pruning should be timed right and is an essential step for maintaining the quality of your wooden fence.

Are there any benefits for garden wildlife?

Climbing plants have a positive influence on garden wildlife, supporting the life and flourishment of butterflies, birds and most importantly of all, bees! They also provide a valuable habitat for a variety of garden fauna, acting as nesting, feeding and breeding grounds where garden life can thrive.

Bumblebee on daisy

Climbing plants need a high-quality base to grow and thrive, and our timber fencing and trellises provide exactly that. Here at Harrow Fencing, we’re the leading fence supplier and installer for Harrow, Hillingdon and surrounding areas, and have been serving homes and businesses for over 60 years.

To get your dream fence, just get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll do the rest.

Get in touch with Harrow Fencing

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