Train your green­ery to grow ver­ti­cally and hor­i­zon­tally with Mered­ith Kir­ton’s in­sider tips.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Mered­ith Kir­ton ex­plains how to train climb­ing plants to reach new heights.

BARE WALL? UGLY FENCE? HOT HOUSE in sum­mer that needs shad­ing? Climb­ing plants solve all these is­sues, trans­form­ing your prob­lem into a lush cas­cade of green that can pro­vide months of colour and fra­grance. The best climbers need to suit your pur­pose, so con­sider whether you’d like an ever­green cover or to let the win­ter sun in through, say, a per­gola. Here are the stand-outs...


It’s im­pos­si­ble to walk past the orange trum­pet vine (Py­roste­gia) with­out do­ing a dou­ble take. The bright flow­ers lit­er­ally smother the whole plant in an orange cas­cade for many weeks over win­ter. It’s great for full sun, loves the trop­ics (hates the cold) and can eas­ily cover many me­tres, mak­ing it ter­rific for fences. Ini­tial sup­port is needed to help it get started. If orange isn’t your colour, per­haps try a dash of sun­shine with Carolina jas­mine (Gelsemium). This at­trac­tive climber won’t out­grow its wel­come and its yel­low flow­ers ap­pear in late win­ter and spring and then again in au­tumn. It has ever­green glossy fo­liage and suits all cli­mates.


Spring­time over­whelms us for choice with jas­mine, wis­te­ria, climb­ing roses and honey­suckle, all of which are suit­able for most of Aus­tralia, with the ex­cep­tion of the trop­ics. If you’re in a cold area, clema­tis is a beau­ti­ful spring plant.


If you love na­tives, then try the Aus­tralian na­tive dusky coral pea (Kennedia), wonga wonga vine (Pan­dorea jas­mi­noides) or blue­bell creeper (Sollya het­ero­phylla). All are okay in semi-shade or full sun, but will need sup­port to get them started in their climb.


Chi­nese star jas­mine (Trach­e­losper­mum

jas­mi­noides) grows in deep shade as well as full sun and won’t dis­ap­point with its fra­grant dis­play of white lace-like flow­ers in spring and

sum­mer. The glossy green fo­liage looks good all year round, and for dif­fer­ent fo­liage ef­fects there are also two var­ie­gated forms: ‘Var­ie­gata’, with creamy yel­low mar­gins, and ‘Tri­colour’, with gorgeous pink-tipped new growth that fades to a clot­ted cream shade.


Honey­suckle, also called wood­bine, is a vig­or­ous twiner with sweetly scented flow­ers. It can grow out of con­trol in warm tem­per­ate cli­mates so needs to be pruned after flow­er­ing. For a less vig­or­ous climber try the slow grow­ing Hoya, which can last for 30 years in the same pot, flow­er­ing ev­ery year. It prefers semi-shade but can tol­er­ate full sun. Stephan­otis or wax flower, pop­u­lar in bri­dal bou­quets in the 1920s and ‘30s, is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a big re­vival thanks to its per­fect white blooms.


Per­haps the most pop­u­lar and eas­ily recog­nised climber for warmer and trop­i­cal cli­mates is bougainvil­lea. Its pa­pery bracts are long-last­ing and showy but need strong sup­ports and hard prun­ing to keep them in check. Bougainvil­lea is per­fect for great cas­cades, hid­ing a shed and climb­ing over old trees; it can be also be planted in hang­ing bas­kets or stan­dard­ised.


Mered­ith Kir­ton is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist, land­scape de­signer and au­thor of sev­eral books on gar­den­ing. Sea­sonal stunner Wis­te­ria of­fers fra­grant blooms in spring and shade in sum­mer, then loses its leaves to let in the win­ter sun.

(From left) Whites Red Zen plant trainer, 120cm x 30cm, $16.96, from Bun­nings. Askhol­men flower box with trel­lis in Grey/Brown, $64.98, from Ikea. Brun­nings Nature metal trel­lis, 180cm, $44.95, from Tem­ple & Web­ster. Helix 3D trel­lis, $55, from Bun­nings.

Orange trum­pet vine

Walk this way Roses climb­ing up a per­gola cre­ate an eye-catch­ing en­try to a gar­den room.

Up and over De­cid­u­ous vines give a burst of colour in au­tumn.

Pretty fea­ture

A rose- cov­ered ar­bour will add height and depth.

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