In this article, we will be discussing the best climbing houseplants to have in your home. I have talked about the best tall houseplants to have in a previous article, and that included climbing plants., but in this article, I will be extending this and talk about houseplants that can grow and occupy plenty of vertical space.
These houseplants often bring the beauty of growing vines into the home environment, where they can be admired. The beauty of climbing houseplants is that they make a bold statement in the home, something you cannot ignore no matter how you try as they tend to occupy a large area.
You have to be careful as houseplants vines tend to grow vigorously and often they do not grow where you want them to grow. These are not plants for those who want a plant that requires limited maintenance, This is because these climbing plants need to be regularly pruned, trained to grow on supports and that is before you take watering, feeding and misting into consideration.
If you want to line your home with beautiful plants then you cannot go wrong if you include houseplants.
Many species can be grown, some are grown for their flowers, some for their leaves, others for their scent. This includes:
CISSUS ANTARCTICA (Kangaroo Vine)
This 6m tall, shrubby climber has shiny, spear-shaped leaves that are toothed edge. Grow it in a cool, airy location in good light, where it will be ideal to grow up stairwells or hallways with plenty of height. In a large pot, it can actually reach the ceiling.
The plant likes cool air but a severe cold and chill will cause it to deteriorate. To keep it to size do not be afraid to cut it back hard. If you keep it as a small plant, you need to keep it in a small container, but then feeding should not be neglected. The giant of a plant will need to be supported by canes as it grows.
Water well in summer but sparingly in winter.
CISSUS DISCOLOR (Begonia Vine)
This is an extremely beautiful climber with coloured bad variegated leaves, where it can grow up to 6m tall.
It is a difficult plant for the average home as it needs year-round warmth and high humidity. If these conditions are not met, it rewards you by drooping its leaves. The plant must be grown in these conditions in good light but away from direct sunshine. The good light helps the plant to develop these pretty coloured leaves.
Feed these plants from late spring to late summer and it will be at its best if it is displayed as a trailer from hanging baskets situated at a great height.
Keep moist at all times and mist frequently in summer. If in winter the temperature becomes cool the best chance of survival is likely if the compost is kept to the dry side.
CYANOTIS KEWENSIS (Teddy Bear Plant)
This is usually grown as a trailer but it can be trained as a short climber. It has small reddish-brown, oval leaves that are woolly coated. The leaves are green above and purple blow and it produces beautiful magenta flowers.
Grow this plant in a cool but not chilly location with good ventilation. It does not like wild temperature changes as this will cause it to shred leaves. You will get the same result if you water unevenly.
It needs a good light in winter, slight shade in summer. If you are using the plant as a climber then it is best placed on the floor with a small, support structures. Water sparingly in winter moderately in summer but do not waterlog as this will cause the base to rot.
Feed moderately in summer.
DIPLADENIA SPLENDENS (Pink Allemande)
A 4.5m tall vigorous climber that has lustrous, spear-shaped, green leaves and in summer to autumn. Rose-pink petunia-like flowers appear.
To keep plant compact cutback after flowering. Grow it in an 18cm diameter pots, where it will be at its best in warm and bright conditions but away from direct sunlight. It dislikes draughts and chilly places. Do not overfeed as this will encourage leaves to form instead of blooms, Water generously in summer and spray with tepid water from time to time. In winter water sparingly.
EPIPREMNUM AUREUM (Devil’s Ivy)
This 1.8m tall climber has broad spear-shaped leaves that often have different colourings and marking. Varieties include ‘Marble Queen’, ‘Golden Queen’ and ‘Tricolor’, whose leaves come in red, yellow and green, This plant is best trained up moss poles (A stout bamboo cane cover with sphagnum moss), which are easy to buy or create.
You must ensure that the plant is secure around the moss stick. Keep the moss moist by spraying it with water. The plant will produce aerial roots that will penetrate the moss and therefore offer support. You can also apply a foliar feed to the moss by spraying, as this is the best way to feed the plant.
The plant itself prefers moderate warmth and good light but away from direct sunlight. Young plants require little space, but they can grow to a great height. As it grows the heart-shaped leaves get bigger (up to 30cm in length). If space is limited and you do not want it to hit the ceiling then plants can be cut back in June.
Never allow the compost to completely dry out and this includes winter. In summer, water well and mist frequently.
HEDERA CANARIENSIS (Canary Island Ivy)
This 6m tall, vigorous climber that has bold variegated cream and green leaves. This plant will need strong support to keep it to eye level. You can restrict pot size to slow growth but a better way to control its size is to prune the plant back hard.
Rapid temperature fluctuations can cause the leaves to drop. It can be grown in warm conditions where it will soon romp away. Best grown in halls, foyers and conservatories, where the sheer size can be appreciated. Can be grown in good light or it will support some shade. Feed moderately from late spring to summer.
An alternative is Hedera Helix, where it can grow up to 6m in height. This plant is ideal for cold, draughty and poorly lit places. You can use it to climb or it can be used to trail, With ivies, it is best not to overfeed as this will cause it to grow rampant, The usual cause of deterioration is to place the plant in a hot, dry atmosphere.
This 6m tall climber has fleshy, glossy, spear-shaped, green leaves that sometimes are variegated. In spring to autumn, clusters of starry, waxy, white flowers appear. It is a very easy plant to grow, where it is hardy in mild places outdoors.
Survives considerable chill and for cold draughty places like stairwells and halls, they do pretty well. It will tolerate some shade and is best grown in a large pit, where it can grow to ceiling height. The plants should be trained up tall bamboo canes or something similar.
One disadvantage is that it tends to send out long, leafless, unattractive stems before the leaves and flowers appear on them. This should not pose as much of a problem and on mature plants, these shoots can be hidden behind old growth.
Water generously in summer, sparingly in winter, especially during low temperatures, Keep almost dry in very cool temperatures and feed occasionally when in active growth.
IPOMOEA TRICOLOR (Morning Glory)
This is a popular annual climber with large flowers in that it comes in blues and reds that open during the morning. The plant can grow up to 2.4m in height during the growing season.
‘Heavenly Blue’ is the firm favourite but other colours are possible including red. Sow seeds in early spring in a warm area, before transplanting to a 7.5cm pot. Allow the plant to develop before potting on to an 18cm diameter container.
In the final container, you will need to provide bamboo canes so the plant can twine up them. Pinch out the growing tip to encourage branching and to control the height the plant grows to. Pick off faded flowers and any attached seed capsules each day to promote constant bud formation. The plants will have to be thrown away at the end of the growing season.
Grow in warm, moderate humidity, where a bright spot is ideal. It will not flower well in the shade.
JASMINUM POLYANTHUM (Pink Jasmine)
This vigorous climber is often bought trained around a wire hoop. This tall climber produces pink-budded, white, tubular, highly scented flowers in winter and early spring. This quick grower will soon need cane support and more room to spread. You can prune back after flowering to keep it to a more manageable size. Overfeeding and potting on too much encourages leaves formation instead of the pretty blooms.
Grow it in a cool and bright light in summer and place it where the scent can be enjoyed. The compost must be moist at all times.
PASSIFLORA CAERULEA (Passion Flower)
This is a vigorous climber that has beautiful blue and white flowers. It is often skid trained around a loop. Of all the climbers mentioned in this article, this is the tallest, where it can grow up to 9m.
It is a hardy plant and can be grown outdoor in many areas of the UK. Grow it in a very bright, airy position with plenty of room to climb, such as conservatory wall. Plants bought on wire hoops will soon need additional support.
To prevent the plant from growing too fast, keep potting on to a minimum and do mot feed too generously. If you do this, you will get some flowers and it will have fewer leaflets. Large, mature plants may produce fruits that are too seedy to be edible. Grow this beautiful plant in a location that is bright and make sure that you water generously in summer and sparingly in winter.
PHILODENDRON DOMESTICUM (Elephant’s Ear)
This is a 1.8m tall climber with shiny, spear-shaped leaves that are borne on long stalks. The funny thing is that the leaves look nothing like an elephant’s ears.
Grow it in moderate warmth and moderate humidity on good light but away from direct sunlight.
OTHER POSSIBILITIES INCLUDE:
Other possibilities include P. bipennifolium (Fiddle Leave) which has lobed leaves that look more ivy-like than fiddle-shaped. The leaves have four upper lobes and a long central one. The leaves have a dark green, glossy and leathery look, where it grows up to 90cm tall. This is quite short for a climber.
P. erubescens (Arrowhead or Blushing Philodendron), which is a vigorous climber with arrow-shaped that are pinkish-white, whilst young and bronze-green whilst mature. This is complemented with purplish leaf stalks, where it can grow up to 1.8m tall. Can tolerate a drier atmosphere than P. dosmetiscum. Not a difficulty plant to look after but it will not grow in constant low humidity. Humidity is required for the plant to grow to a good size.
P. melanochrysum (Velour Philodendron) which has spear-shaped, velvety leaves that are pinkish below, dark green with golden iridescence above. Grows up to 1.5m in height. One little note with this plant is to be extra careful as the leaves naturally hang down. This can be mistaken for wilting or overwatering bit this is normal for this plant.
P. scandens (Heartleaf) can be treated as a trailing or climbing plant that has dark green leaves that are heart-shaped and pointed at the end. Can support quite cool conditions but then again, it would not grow well. For a Philodendron, it is not fussy. The only thing it asks for is the compost to be moist at all times. Variegated forms can have naturally distorted leaves, thought to be caused by a virus.
P. selloum (Tree Philodendron) that looks like P. bipinnatifidum whilst young. It grows up to 1.2m tall but has thicker stems and wavy, undulating leaves, which tend to be larger when it matures.
Water philodendrons well throughout the year, apart from winter where you will need to water sparingly and just keep the compost moist. They all need a moderate humidity and they will require misting in summer.
To train climbing Philodendrons to cover a stout bamboo with sphagnum moss to produce a moss stick or you can buy one). The plant will need to grow securely up the moss stick. Keep the moss moist by spraying with water and when the aerial roots form they can penetrate the moss. This will secure the plant to the stock, slowing allowing moisture to be absorbed. You can also apply foliar feeds to the moss and this will have a big advantage of making the feeding of the plant easier.
RHOICISSUS RHOMBOIDEA (Grape Ivy)
This 1.8m tall climber has simple tendrils with dark, glossy, green leaves that are made up from three diamond-shaped, irregular-edge leaflets coated with fine brownish hair whilst young. The plant can be confused with Cissus rhombifolia but without the forked tendrils.
A similar, alternative is R. capensis (Cape Grape) but its leaves are simple, large, pentagonal but have the similar glossy, deep green leaves.
They need strong support with canes or something similar. Check the growth of large plants by cutting back in spring, feed sparingly if you do not want rampant growth.
Grow these plants in a cool, airy location where the light is poor, such as halls, stairwell or foyers, but not where temperatures can fall excessively. R. capensis need to be grown in more light.
Water generously in summer with an occasional misting. In winter water enough to keep the compost slightly moist,
SENECIO MACROGLOSSUS (Waxy Ivy)
This is usually sold as a variegated form, where the plant can grow up to great heights. It has ivy-like leaves with waxy sheen and green and gold variegation. In winter and spring, small clusters of yellow or yellow/white flowers appear.
An alternative is Delairea odorata that has similar ivy-shaped leaves but that has more lobes in it and they are more pointed. The leaves are borne on very tall stalks. In winter, yellow scented flowers appear in much larger clusters.
Grow up stout canes and avoid any erratic conditions or all wind. Dry ay roots can cause leaf shedding, which will take the plant a long time to regrow, On the other hand, if you waterlog the compost it will cause the plant to develop root disease.
Low temperatures must also be avoided as the plant hates it. If ideal growing conditions are not met, the plant will reward you by not producing flowers. As you can imagine it is a difficult plant to look after.
Grow it in moderate warmth and humidity, but out if draughty places. Keep moist all year round, but water carefully in winter, where it is easy to overwater. Mist frequently in summer and most importantly do not overfeed.
STEPHANOTIS FLORIBUNDA (Madagascar Jasmine)
This is a very tall climber that can reach great heights of 3m or more, often it is sold trained growing around a hoop, where its spear-shaped evergreen leaves can be admired. The leaves are not the main talking point, as the waxy, white, tubular flower that is intensively fragrant. The flowers appear from May to October. Grow it in warm temperatures and moderate humidity in summer but it can survive cool conditions in winter if it is kept dry. Place it where the scent can be enjoyed.
It can survive near-freezing temperatures if it is kept dryish. Leaves will be lost but will regrow quickly when warmth and watering are resumed. Grow this wonderful plant up stout canes and it must be quickly trained to grow up. All you need to do is unwind the plant from the hoop and then train it to grow up the canes instead.
If you want to keep growth in check, prune back after flowering. Feed moderately whilst the flowering buds are forming.
Water generously in summer and sparingly in winter.
THUNBERGIA ALATA (Black-eyed Susan)
This climber has oval, serrated, green leaves upon which large orange, cream or white flowers with dark centres appear. It is a quick grower and can grow up to 3m in height in one season.
It is normally grown from seeds, where the seedlings that emerge can be transplanted into a 13cm diameter pot. They grow quickly and seedling flower quickly. Grow it in a cool, airy, bright to light shade, where it can grow up a group of bamboo canes. It flowers from summer to autumn where it can be discarded at the end of the season.
THE ALTERNATIVES INCLUDE:
An alternative is T. gregorii (African Sun Vine) which is a vigorous perennial climber with large, dazzling orange blooms. Another rampant plant. Although it is a perennial, it is best to grow as an annual. Grow from seed sown in early spring and then transplant to 18cm diameter pots, With the right growing conditions of warmth and humidity, it will become a rampant climber. This is why it is a better proposition to change the plant every year, especially good when the warmth and humidity necessary for mature plants in winter,
If you are looking for a more permanent perennial than T. grandiflora is for you. It can reach a height of 6m or more. It is a vigorous climber that has large blue-purple flowers in summer to autumn. To keep the plant under control by not potting on too often and by drastically pruning back after flowering. The only problem this will result in fewer flowers being produced.
Grow T. grandiflora and T. alata in warm and moderate humidity in slight shade. It does not like chills or draught, or in dry central heating. Water generously in summer and sparing at other times, but never let the compost dry.
For T. alata do not overwater as this will cause the leaves to turn yellow and start shredding. Feed T.alata throughout the growing season but T. grandiflora feed sparingly.
In this article, the best climbing plant to grow as houseplants have been discussed. No matter your preference there is a large number of varieties that can be grown, either for their colourful leaves or the beautiful flower they produce that can grace any home. Although these plants can grow to large proportions, they can be pruned to size. If you have a large area to cover then these climbing houseplants can be used to give interest to your home.
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Grow your houseplant high.