Have you ever considered growing or buying climbing plants? There are many techniques and tips that can make looking after climbing plants and perennials a doodle, and I thought why not share some of those with you here.
Hanging garden plants
These are plants that have long, flexible shoots that do not climb but rather hang down. They are suitable for hanging containers, balcony boxes, or large tall containers. Hanging plants can also grow upwards if tied to a support which is a handy tip.
Ramblers develop prickles (such as Bougainvillea), thorns (for example Blackberries and climbing roses), or barbed lateral shoots, which allow them to hold onto support structures. Shoots can be tied to a support structure to assist the plant to climb.
Climbing plants Sun Vs. Shade
Most climbing plants grow well in bright light. However, this does not mean that all favour sunny positions. The Clemantis hybrids Lonicera species grow in woodland clearings and along wood edges.
Some Climbing plants require more warmth. Even if they are grown in a sheltered place, they will still grow as long as it is warm. The Wisteria Siensis) from China and Campsis radicans grow comfortably in warm positions.
Others prefer growth in a humid area. Included in this category are the climbing horensia( Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) and Ivy (Hedera spp). They grow quite well in semi-shady to shady areas. Thus these plants will not grow successfully in north-facing positions.
Due to their light-hungry nature climbing plants grow upwards quickly, sending their shoots in the area they choose. However species such as Clemantis hybrids require shaded feet. This is because they cannot transport enough water to the tips of their roots in bright sunlight conditions. Campsis species should be surrounded with low-growing bush shrubs so that the shrubs can provide shade for the roots. A perfect underplanting for Clemantis is the evergreen lesser periwinkle (Vinca minor)
Climbing plants and the green walls
Some people do not appreciate a lot of greenery around their home. This is because a dense growth of foliage normally encourages spiders and other creepy crawlers to invade the house. However, most of these unwarranted visitors are useful and keep insects such as mosquitoes and flies under control. A dense growth of leaves usually also encourages birds to settle in your patio or balcony. If you live in a city a green wall can break up the harsh concrete and overdeveloped environment, giving a softer, more natural feel.
Tips on buying climbing plants
You can purchase climbing plants in different ways. You can obtain annuals in the spring. Seeds are planted early in nurseries and will have gained a right size, and many shoots capable of producing flowers by the time they are taken outside.
Container plants are propagated in pots and sold in them. There are usually weed-free, and roots are spread out evenly throughout the pot. However, there are expensive. Climbing plants sold with their rootstocks are less expensive. The rootstock will typically be wrapped in Hessian or jute sacking. Plants with loose root systems are the cheapest, however, they are a lot harder to plant.
The larger and more mature a plant is, the more expensive it will become. If you are working under a tight budget, you can grow your own climbing hanging plants from seed. You can find climbing plants in supermarkets, although this is not always the best place to buy them as there are generally of low quality. It’s best to purchase your plants from garden centers or top class nurseries where the plants originated from. There is also specialist staff to consult regarding gardening matters.
Look after Climbing Plants
Climbing plants are generally resistant to disease, especially if they are propagated and cared for correctly. If the plant is not cared for correctly, then damage occurs typically.
Treating damaged plants
It is good practice go regularly check for any damage or disease so that necessary measures are taken quickly before the threat spreads. Bacterial infections are severe, and once the plant has them, it needs to be removed from the garden.
Pests and fungal diseases are easy to control, especially in the early stages of infection. Infected parts can be cut off, and cut edges need to be dusted with charcoal powder to disinfect them.
This is suitable when the damage is less severe. Pests can be washed off using an ordinary garden hose or removed by hand.
Stick tags can be hung on the infested parts of the plant. They are colourful and will attract pests such as the white fly. The pests will become stuck on the surface of the tag.
Pyrethrum-containing agent contain an extract of a Chrysathemum species and are ideal to combat aphids, white fly and other sucking insects. Care has to be taken as these agents also kill useful insects.
WARNING: Pyrethrum containing agents are harmful if they enter the blood stream. Wear plastic gloves when using these agents
You can get rid of pests by introducing their natural enemies where the pests are concentrated. Predatory mites can be used to combat spider mites and Australian ladybirds against mealybugs. Be careful not to replace one infestation with another.
Aphids can be sprayed with a soap solution. Oil containing substances such as paraffin kill mealybugs, spider mites and scale inserts by clogging up their respiratory systems.
Chemical plant protection agents should be used only after all other techniques have been used and failed. This is because they kill both the pests and useful insects. The pest or disease must be identified correctly so that the proper agent can be used.
When handling plant protecting agents never use highly toxic substances. Instructions for use must be carefully followed and do not eat, drink, or smoke while spraying the agents. Do not inhale the spray mist. Avoid spraying on windy days to prevent the spray from dispersing into the surrounding areas.
Store plant protection agents in there original package and keep away from pets and children.
Solving garden climbing plant issues
Plant containers need to be secured properly for safety precautions. Hang hanging baskets high enough do that you do not have to stoop every time you pass underneath them. The fixture should be able to cope with the weight of the basket filled with plants and soil. An ideal place would be that which is sheltered from the wind to prevent tearing of the basket from its anchor.
There are different fixtures for balcony boxes. There are normally clamped onto the balcony railing using adjustable fixtures. They can also be attached to the wall by using battens and screws. It is relatively easy to fix wooden boxes directly to wooden railing or barriers using L-shaped angle irons or clamps.
Preventing damage to trellis plants
Climbing plants can become a nuisance if they are not carefully installed and can cause extensive damage to the surroundings.
The suckers on Ivy penetrate gaps and cracks in old rendering and cracked masonry. Climbing plants should not be allowed to grow on damaged walls as they will increase the damage. They should also not be allowed to grow on walls of timbered buildings because the plants will penetrate cracks in the wood. Fungi will grow due to the humid climate and damage the wooden wall.
Climbing plants such as Wisteria spp or Campsis app should be propagated far from gutters because they ten to dislodge them.
Climbing plants and responsibilities
If you are a tenant and wish to grow climbing plants on your balcony, you have to consult with your landlord first. Do not install boxes, or make changes to the balcony before receiving full permission to do so from the landlord.
Consider the implications of your climbing plants on your neighbors. Climbing plants do not know any boundaries, and they can easily stray into your neighbor’s garden and disturb his peace.
Climbing plant aids
The technique of climbing that a climbing plant uses will determine the type of support it requires. Plants with Tendrils need lattice-shaped climbing aids. Metal lattices fixed to a wall are suitable support structures.
Winding plants, on the other hand, need vertical supports, while rambling plants prefer more horizontal support such as a structure made up of wooden battens.
Climbing support should be at least 5cm (2inches) from the wall to allow shoots to take enough hold. This also allows air to circulate freely around the plant to prevent fungal diseases. Spacers are easy to use and readily available.
Metal structures are very stable and durable. They should be painted, galvanized or coated with plastic to lower chances of rust development. Plastic frames are lighter and also durable. However, they should be fixed well to prevent them from going down due to the weight of the plant.
Wooden climbing aids are very common and need to be treated with plant friendly wood preservatives. Vanish can be used to paint the wood. Espalier-like frames made of wire are good climbing aids for containers. Bamboo frames can also be used.