Fast-growing climbing plants can be a wonderful addition to any garden – you will reap the benefits of planting them quickly and many will add wonderful colour to your garden! There are plenty of different types to consider depending on your garden and exactly what you are looking for, so we have considered some of the best fast-growing climbing plants available for your garden – and how to look after them.
But, be careful! Fast-growing climbing plants are far from perfect! They can be rather difficult to control and tend to have a mind of their own, so it is important to know what you are doing before planting! Keep reading for all the tips and advice you could need to keep these wonderful, but determined, plants in check in your garden!
Our Favourite Fast-Growing Climbing Plants
The type of plant that is right for your garden will depend on exactly where you are wanting to grow your fast-growing climbing plants. All plants will need some kind of surface to grow up; whether this is a fence, wall, trellis or garden arch. Some plants will need full sunlight to thrive in your garden, whereas others will be happy in more shaded corners! We have listed some of our favourite fast-growing climbing plants and their features, to help you find one that is right for your garden.
- Russian vine – commonly known as “Mile a Minute” (what more do we need to say?!), this vine will grow anywhere in your garden that it has a surface to cling to! However, this plant is deciduous so won’t be adding colour to your garden the whole way through the year.
- Honeysuckle – There are many types of honeysuckle, found in both deciduous and evergreen forms. In general, they have white flowers, although some have yellow, red and shades of purple. Different types of honeysuckle with have different climbing abilities but in general, they will be able to grow up their support by around 12 foot in a single year! Their flowers attract many different birds and insects during their flowering months (usually from mid-June to September).
- Clematis – As with the honeysuckle, there are many, many types of clematis, which can make it rather difficult to describe the features! Some types are less hardy and will need to be in a part of the garden with more sun, whereas others will be able to cope in more shaded parts of the garden – although most types can cope with most conditions. In general, clematis is a very fast and thick growing plant that can cover around 30 feet in just one season! The flowers come in many different colours and also flower at different times of the year – so be sure to check with each type before planting, so that you know it is right for your outdoor haven!
- Climbing Hydrangea – Hydrangeas are found in many British gardens with beautiful clusters of flowers. As if this wasn’t enough – there is also a climbing hydrangea, which will see the beautiful flowers, and deep green leaves growing up to 50 feet tall in your garden.
- Rosa ‘The Lady of the Lake’ – Basically a rose bush that climbs! These are fast climbing, with flowers that release a beautiful aroma. They are also able to grow in parts of the garden that other climbing plants might struggle, like shaded colder areas.
- Passiflora – Commonly known as “passion flower,” it is easy to understand why with such vibrant, bright blue flowers. Fast-growing and relatively hardy, they will grow to considerable heights in the right conditions. Be aware though that they can struggle in particularly cold environments (and are not exactly easy to bring inside every winter when they are at full height!).
- Wisteria – This eye-catching, beautiful plant, with flowers in delicate shades of lilac, will brighten any garden through their flowering season at the start of summer. Fast-growing and hardy, this plant is graced with incredible climbing ability – up to 66 foot!! It does need well-drained soil and a sunny environment though, so be careful where you choose to plant it.
How to Look After Fast-Growing Climbing Plants
Most climbers will need watering during particularly dry weather for the first couple of years after they have been planted – however after this point they should be able to pretty much fend for themselves as far as watering is concerned, but bear in mind that plants against walls are likely to not receive as much rainfall as the rest of the garden.
REMEMBER: If you are planting your fast-growing climbing plant in a container then this will need more maintenance, fertilisers and water as they do not have the benefit of the natural soil in the rest of the garden.
For maximum growth, we would recommend giving your climbing plant a boost in spring with a potassium fertiliser and some organic matter. Always make sure when adding mulch and organic matter to plants to leave a space around the base of the stems to avoid causing the bark to rot.
Pruning and Training
Most climbing plants will need some kind of support when first being trained to climb, such as trellis, wires or mesh screens. Simply secure some of the main branches of the plant in the direction that you want them to grow and continue to adjust this as the plant grows and starts to spread.
TOP TIP: Place your support structure about 5cm away from the wall or fence that you are training your plant to grow up to allow space for the vines to wrap around and become more secure. Then plant your climber about 30-45cm away from the base of the wall so that it has space for the roots to grow and secure the plant successfully into the ground.
Regular pruning of any fast-growing plant is important, but even more important for fast-growing climbing plants. This is because you are going to be dealing with plants that are growing upwards and are therefore able to take over other plants in your garden or potentially damage guttering etc if you are growing the plant up a wall of your house! That being said, providing you take the time to prune and train your plants correctly then they should grow beautifully, without causing too much of a nuisance! Regularly pruning your fast-growing climbing plants will also encourage them to flower more successfully – benefits all round!
When to prune depends on when the plant flowers – flowers that grow on last year’s growth should be pruned straight after flowering, whereas plants that grow on the current season’s growth should be pruned towards the end of winter or early spring. This isn’t an exact science though – so do check for each individual plant.
As a general rule (and depending on how large you want your fast-growing climbing plant to get) your climber should only need pruning after the first couple of years of being planted. At this point, tie back new growth that you want to keep in the position that you are hoping to train it towards and then simply prune back shoots that are growing too long. At the same time, be sure to remove any dead shoots.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a climbing plant and a wall shrub?
Climbers are naturally inclined to climb up whatever surface you put them against (although some do need a little support), whereas wall shrubs are shrubs that will only climb if trained to, otherwise they will just grow to look like a normal shrub. However, wall shrubs can look equally impressive if pruned and trained correctly.
My climbing plant is overgrown – what can I do?
There are a number of reasons why your fast-growing climbing plant has stopped growing, however, this is usually down to over-pruning (which can be easily done when working with a particularly unruly plant!). Allow your plants a chance to grow and provide fertiliser and you should see that it starts to flower again in the next couple of years. Other causes could be disease or due to insects (evidence of this being the cause will normally be on the leaves of your plant).