In this article, plants for walls, fences and other vertical surfaces in containers in the sun will be discussed particularly plant that can be used to cover bare walls.
Climbers are perfect for decorating wall and fences, where flowers of all colours, leaf shapes and texture, and plant forms can be used. There is nothing worse than looking at a bare wall in a garden, where instead it can be covered with interesting plants.
It is best that when you are planning which climber to plant that you use climbers that bloom at different times. For example, try teaming climbing roses that flower in early summer, with a late flowering clematis to give colour from early summer to early autumn.
Try not to partner two clematises that flowers at different times, as you risk cutting the flowers of early flowering varieties when pruning a later one to the ground in spring. This is because early and late flowering clematis have different pruning regimes. Early flowering clematis starts new growth in spring from old-growth, so will require little pruning. Later flowering clematis tends to flower on new growth and so would appreciate being pruned back hard in early spring.
Some climbers are self-clinging, such as Parthenocissus who stick to surfaces with adhesive pads or roots. Other climbers such as climbing rose need support on trellises or on galvanized wires affixed to vertical surfaces, If this is not done roses will flop all over the place.
What follows is my recommendation for what climbers to plant in containers in full sun to cover vertical spaces, especially plants for walls:
This large vigorous deciduous, woody-stemmed, twining climber will grow up to 4m in height. It is grown for its oval, green leaves which has splashes of white and pink markings, as the plants mature. In summer, small cup-shaped white flowers appear, which will look outstanding against a tall wall or fence, grow in a large container full of multipurpose compost.
BILLARDIERA LONGIFLORA (Climbing Blueberry)
This 2m tall wood-stemmed, twining climber has narrow, pointed green leaves. In summer small green-yellow bell-shaped flowers appear that are followed by decorative purple fruits in autumn.
In case you are wondering the fruits are edible, as long as you remove the seeds. It prefers to be grown in a large container full of multipurpose compost against a south-facing wall. Protect in winter from cold and frosty weather.
CAMPSIS X TAGLIABUANA (Trumpet Line)
This 12m tall vigorous, deciduous, self- attaching climber has large leaves that are divided into oval-shaped leaflets. This plant is not totally cold-resistant and therefore will need protection in winter. In summer trumpet-shaped orange flowers are produced. Grow this climber in multipurpose compost in a large pot.
When planting any clematis it is best to remember the old adage ‘Clematis likes their heads in the sun, but their roots in the shade’. This method must be used when planting so it is best to place another container in front of the plant or to plant another plant in front of the clematis in the same container, to shade the plant’s roots.
Clematis tend to suffer from clematis wilt, which is a fungal disease that causes black spots to form on the plant, and it can be fatal. The best way to avoid this is to plant the Clematis 10cm deep, as this will have the added benefit of making the plant stronger or more multi-stemmed.
To grow clematis in containers make sure you use a 45cm tall container, where the clematis is planted at least 10cm below the crown, in a multipurpose compost. Water well until it has established.
CLEMATIS ALPINA (Alpine Clematis)
A deciduous clematis that has divided, mid-green leaves, where in early to late spring, lantern-shaped flower appear. The flowers are either blue, pink or white, which are followed by fluffy seed heads. It is ideal to grow in an exposed site where it will reach a height of 3m.
This is a compact 1.2m tall clematis that has mid-green leaves, which produces a mass of lilac-blue flowers from early summer to mid-autumn. Use it to decorate archers, pillars or tripods.
This is an early flowering clematis, where single, white scented flowers appear in early spring. This 5m tall climber is a vigorous evergreen that has lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Grow against a wall in a sheltered south facing location.
CLEMATIS ‘Bill Mackenzie’
This is a 7m tall, deciduous clematis that has dark green leaves, where yellow bell-shaped flowers with waxy petals appear from mid-summer to late autumn. The long flowering periods ensures that you will have blooms for many months. The flowers are followed by fluffy seed heads. Grow against a tall wall or using a very tall support structure.
A small clematis that only grows up to 1.2m in height that has mid-green. From this scented, pale pink flowers are produced from summer to autumn. Plant this clematis against a wall, fence pergolas, or rose arch.
CLEMATIS ‘Doctor Ruppel’
This is another early flowering clematis, where large pink flowers with dark pink stripes appear throughout the summer months. It is deciduous climber that has mid-green leaves and will grow up to 2.7m in height. Will look good when growing up arches, fences or walls.
CLEMATIS ‘Duchess of Albany’
This 2.5m tall clematis has small, tulip shaped, pink flowers that have a deeper pink stripe inside each petal. Admire the flowers from summer to early autumn when grown against a fence, wall, or over an arch.
CLEMATIS ‘Etoile Violette’
In midsummer to autumn, an abundance of flat, single, violet purple flower with white stamens is produced. This late flowering deciduous clematis with mid-green leaves grows up to 5m in height. Looks great growing up fences, walls or pergolas.
In late spring to early summer, large dark pink flowers with a central magenta strip of reach petal, appear. This 4m tall deciduous clematis has mid-green leaves, where it will grow well up walls, fences or trellises. Another flush of smaller flowers appears in late summer.
CLEMATIS FLAMMULA (Virgin’s Bower)
A 5m tall vigorous clematis that has divided, deciduous leaves, from which numerous small, almond-scented, starry white flowers appear. This large climber will require a large support structure, where you can admire the flowers from summer to early autumn.
A small, compact deciduous clematis that only grows up to 1.2m in height. From late spring to summer, deep purple flowers with a red stripe down the middle of each petal appear. Grow this mid green leave climber in a tripod or against a pillar.
CLEMATIS FLORIDA VAR. FLORIDA ‘Sleboldiane’
A deciduous or semi-evergreen clematis that provides creamy white flowers, each having a central boss of purple stamens. This climber with its mid-green leaves will grow up to 2.5m tall when trained against a sunny sheltered wall.
CLEMATIS ‘Frances Rivis’
A spring flowering clematis where nodding violet-blue bell-shaped blooms with white centres appear. This deciduous clematis with it mid-green divided leaves will like good growing up against arches, walls or fences, where it will grow up to 5m tall.
A 4m tall vigorous, late flowering, deciduous clematis that has mid-green divide foliage. A profusion of small white flowers, with mauve underneaths, are produced from mid to late summer. Grow it up against pergolas, arches, walls or fences.
In summer to early autumn, large double flowers appear in succession that pink-purple petals with cream underneaths. This 2.5m tall deciduous clematis with its broad green lance-shaped leaves looks stunning against a sunny wall.
CLEMATIS MONTANA VAR. GRANDIFLORA
This very tall deciduous clematis grows up to 10m in height and has divided mid-green leaves. In late spring to early summer small, white yellow centred blooms appear. Grow a large wall or around a pergola.
CLEMATIS MONTANA VAR. RUBENS ‘Tetrarose’
Like its partner mentioned above, this is a vigorous, early flowering, deciduous climber. This 10cm tall climber has purple-green leaves, where small cream centred pink flowers appear in late spring. Grow up a large wall against a house or large pergolas.
CLEMATIS ‘Perle d’Azur’
From mid-summer to autumn, this late flowering deciduous clematis produces large azure, blue flowers with pink/purple stripes on each petal and creamy green centres. This 3m long climber with its mid-green leaves, where it will appreciate growing against a wall or support frame.
CLEMATIS ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’
A late flowering, deciduous clematis that produces frilly, double purple-pink flowers with pale pink centres. This 4m tall climber has pale green leaves and flowers from midsummer to late autumn. Grow it against a large wall or fence.
A vigorous and late-flowering deciduous clematis where coarse green leaves are covered with masses of fragrant tubular, nodding, yellow flowers. The flowers appear from midsummer to autumn and ideally grown against a large wall or pergola, where it will grow up to 7m in height.
This 6m tall vigorous clematis has mid-green leaves, where throughout summer and early autumn yellow bell-shaped flower appear. Grow it against a large wall or fence.
COBAEA SCANDENS (Cup and Saucer Vine)
This is an evergreen perennial climber, that is often grown as an annual. This quick-growing climber has dark green leaves, from which creamy green scented, cup-shaped flowers appear from midsummer to autumn, thus 5 m tall climber will quickly cover a wall, arch or tripods, grow it in multipurpose compost in a large container.
DISTICTIS BUCCINATORIA (Mexican Blood Flower)
A tender evergreen, twining climber that has dark green leaves, where trumpet-shaped, crimson red flowers appear in summer. It requires warm growing conditions and is best planted in multipurpose compost in a frost-free place, like a conservatory.
ECCREMOCARPUS SCABER (Chilean Glory Flower)
This evergreen tendril climber is often grown as an annual. This 3m tall climber has small, green leaves, and orange-red tubular flowers from summer to autumn. Grow this climber in large pots full of multipurpose compost, where it is allowed to grow up arches, tripods or frames.
GELSEMIUM SEMPERVIRENS (Yellow Jasmine)
This 6m tall evergreen climber has slim, lance-shaped dark green leaves, where in summer bright yellow trumpet-shaped blooms appear. Grow this climber in multipurpose compost in a sunny sheltered site, against a wall or fence. Be warned as all parts are toxic.
HUMULUS LUPULUS (Golden Hop) ‘Aureus’
A 6m tall perennial, twining climber that is often grown for its pendent straw-colour flower heads that appear in autumn. The flower heads resemble cones, which stick out from the rough-toothed lobed, yellow-green leaves. Grow in a large container full of multipurpose compost, where it would look stunning when growing over a fence or wall.
IPOMOEA COCCINEA (Red Morning Glory)
This is a tender, annual climber which has heart-shaped mid-green leaves. In late summer, small fragrant, scarlet-red flowers with yellow throats appear, where you can train up tripods, arches or walls.
Grow this climber in multipurpose compost, where it will grow up to 3m tall.
IPOMOEA TRICOLOR (Morning Glory) ‘Heavenly Blue’
A fast-growing annual climber, with heart-shaped leaves that grows up to 3m in height. From summer to early autumn. Large blue funnel-shaped flowers appear. Grow this quick-growing annual in a multipurpose compost, where it will cover fences, walls, or arches.
JASMINUM HUMILE (Italian Jasmine) ‘Revolution’
A 2.5m tall evergreen, shrubby climber that has glossy, green leaves that dived into leaflets. In early spring to early summer clusters of small, fragrant, tubular, yellow flowers appear. Grow this climber in a large container full of multipurpose compost.
JASMINUM OFFICINALE (Common Jasmine)
A deciduous or semi-evergreen woody-stemmed climber that grows up to 12m in height. Highly fragrant, white flowers appear over divided, green leaflets, grow this climber over pergolas in large containers full of multipurpose compost. Cut back in late winter to keep it tidy.
LABLAB PURPUREUS (Australian Pea)
This deciduous perennial climber is often grown as an annual. It has small, dark green leaves where pink pea-like flowers appear in summer. This is followed by decorative long, purple pods whose seeds can be eaten. Grow this 6m tall climber in a large pot of multipurpose compost, where it would be allowed to climb up fences and walls.
LONICERA x BROWNII (Scarlet Trumpet Honeysuckle) ‘Dropmore Scarlet’
This is a semi-evergreen or deciduous climber that will grow up to 4m in height. It has rounded, blue-green leaves, where in summer to early autumn, scarlet, tubular blooms are produced. If you are looking for a scented honeysuckle this is not for you.
This climber is not totally hardy, so protect it in winter by covering with horticultural fleece, where it will appreciate being grown in a large container full of multipurpose compost.
LONICERA X HECKROTTII
This semi-evergreen or deciduous climber has dark, oval, green leaves that are blue-green underneath. Grow this 5m tall climber in a large container full of multipurpose compost, where in summer fragrant, pink flowers with orange splashes are produced. This is sometimes followed by red berries. You will need to provide a large support structure.
LONICERA PERICLYMENUM ‘Common Honeysuckle’
This 7m tall deciduous climber has dark, oval green leaves, which is white green underneath. In summer scented tubular, white, yellow or red flowers appear, where it can cover pergolas, wall, fences or arches. Grow in a multipurpose compost in a large container.
LONICERA x TELLMANNIANA
In late spring to summer bright coppery orange flowers appear in clusters over blue-green, oval leaves. This 5m tall deciduous climber is ideal grown at the side of a house or over a large fence. Grow it in a large container full of multipurpose compost.
MANDEVILLA X AMABILIS ‘Alice du Pont’
A tender, evergreen climber that will grow up to 3m in height. It has dark green leaves where pink funnel-shaped flowers appear in summer. Grow this plant indoors in cold climates or treat it as an annual, where it can be trained up tripods or arches. This climber appreciated being grown in a large container full of multipurpose compost. In summer shade the plant from the strong midday sun.
A vigorous, deciduous, climber that will need some support. This 10m tall climber is grown for its palm-shaped dark green leaves with cream veining. The leaves turn crimson in autumn where blue- black berries are produced. Support this climber well as it will be heavy. Grow it in a very large container full of multipurpose compost.
PARTHENOCISSUS QUINQUEFOLIA (Virginia Creeper)
This is a very large deciduous vigorous self-clinging climber, which can grow up to 15m in height. It has green, rounded leaves that are divided into oval, toothed edge leaflets. The leaves will turn bright red and orange in autumn which is their unique selling point. Provide a massive structure with ample support. Grow in a very large container, such as a half wooden barrel filled with multipurpose compost.
PARTHENOCISSUS TRICUSPIDATA (Boston Ivy)
This is a giant climber that can easily grow up to 20m in height. You will need a massive wall to grow up and unless you have the space I would give it a miss. It is grown for its large lobed, green leaves that turn shades of red in autumn. This vigorous, deciduous, self-clinging climbers best grown in a very large container (the largest you can possibly buy) full of multipurpose compost.
PASSIFLORA CAERULEA (Blue Passion Flower)
This tendril evergreen or semi-evergreen climber has glossy, dark green lobed leaves. In summer to autumn, white and purple flowers appear, that are followed by orange fruits. Grow up a large support structure, where it will reach up to 10m in height when planted in multipurpose compost in a large container.
PLUMBAGO AURICULATA (Cape Leadwort)
A tender evergreen, scrambling climber that has small dark green leaves. From summer to early autumn, large clusters of blue flowers appear. Grow it against a sunny sheltered wall outside in a multipurpose compost, where it will grow up to 6m in height, In cold regions, it would need protection by covering with horticultural fleece.
RHODOCHITON ATROSANGUINEUS (Purple Bell Vine)
This is an annual climber that grows up to 3m in height. It has heart-shaped mid-green leaves from late spring to late autumn, umbrella-shaped pink flower with dark maroon tubes appear. Grow in a multipurpose compost in a large container, where the plant can trail over a tripod.
Climbing roses can be grown in containers as long as you use a tall and wide container, such as half-wooden barrel.
Roses are such heavy feeders and will go through their nutrients very quickly. This is why it is recommended to grow your climbing roses in an enriched multipurpose compost in which extra organic manures have been added.
Feed regularly throughout the growing season, ensuring at least once a month that it is fed using specialized rose feed, or if you do not have the time you can add 6 months slow release fertilizer designed for roses. This will ensure that the roses get the right amount of nutrients throughout the growing season.
Roses are notorious for suffering from blackspot, which is a fungal disease that affects roses’ leaves. Sprays are becoming less common but you can still buy some that will treat this disease.
Spraying is still effective but buying disease-resistant varieties is even better.
In summer this rose produces scented salmon pink, fully double flowers in a single flush. This 5m tall vigorous rambling rose has arching stems and dark, green glossy leaves.
A 2.5m tall hybrid climbing tea rose that has some disease resistance. It produces dark green leaves from which pink and salmon, fully double, fragrant blooms appear in two flushes-one in summer and another in autumn.
ROSA BANKSIAE (Yellow Banksia) ‘Lutea’
This is a vigorous, thornless climbing rose that grows up to 10m in height. It has small, green leaves, where in spring smalls unscented, fully double, yellow rosette-shaped flowers appear in summer in one flush. Needs to be grown in a sunny, sheltered position against a wall or tall fences. It will also need protection from cold winds.
ROSA ‘Climbing Cecile Brunner’
This disease-resistant vigorous climber that grows up the 5m in height. It has dark green leaves, where from summer to late autumn small scented, fully double, pink flowers appear en masse. Grow it up a pergola or wall.
ROSA ‘Climbing Lady Hillingdon’
A vigorous, climbing hybrid tea rose that has dark green leaves, which are coppery red when young. This 5m tall climber produces large, apricot- yellow, fragrant flowers that appear all summer. Ideal trained on a house wall or over pergolas.
A short climbing hybrid tea rose that grows up to 3m in height. It has some disease resistance, where fragrant double salmon flowers appear from summer to autumn. Green glossy leaves appear on thornless stems, where it can be grown against walls or pergolas.
A Short climbing disease-resistant rose that only reaches 3m in height. Clusters of flat, single red roses with white centres appear from summer to autumn, over dark green leaves. Mulch in spring, where it will grow overran arch or pergola.
ROSA ‘Dublin Bay’
A very short climbing rose that only grows up to 2.2m in height. It has disease-resistant glossy, dark green leaves, where double, bright red flowers appear in two flushes. In summer and again in autumn. Grow it against a wall, arch or a pergola.
ROSA ‘Felicite et Perpetue’
A 5m tall vigorous climbing rose that has semi-evergreen, glossy, green leaves. In summer, clusters of scented fully double white to light pink flowers are produced in a single flush. Grow this climber up a large wall or a pergola.
ROSA ‘Laura Ford’
This 2.2m tall branching climbing rose has scented, urn-shaped, double, yellow flowers that appear in two flushed in summer and autumn. Grow this small, glossy green leave climber up arches or pergolas,
This 6m tall disease resistant climbing rose has glossy, green leaves, where in summer to autumn, single, primrose-yellow flowers appear. Grow this climber near your front door, where the thorns can deter intruders.
ROSA ‘New Dawn’
A 5m tall climbing rose, where fragrant double pale pink-white flowers are borne in clusters from summer to autumn. Grow this climber with glossy, dark green leaves against sunny walls, fences or pergolas. Has an added bonus that it can also be grown against a north-facing wall.
ROSA ‘Rambling Rector’
A vigorous rambler rose that grows up to 6m tall. It offers some disease resistance where clusters of scented, semi-double, white blooms with yellow centres, appear above greyish-green leaves. Grow it up against a large wall or fence, where it will grow up to 6m tall. Best for larger gardens.
A 6m tall vigorous rambler rose, that offer disease-resistant, glossy, light, green leaves. In late spring, clusters of fragrant, single, white flowers with yellow centres appear in a single flush. Grow it up against a large wall or fence, where it will look the best in larger gardens.
ROSA ‘Summer Vine’
This short climbing disease-resistant rose only grows up to 3m in height. From summer to autumn, small clusters of fragrant flat-faced, semi-double coral pink flowers are produced. Grow it up walls, fences, arches or pillars.
SCHIZOPHRAGMA INTEGRIFOLIUM (Chinese Hydrangea Vine)
A deciduous self-clinging climber that grows up to 12m in height. In summer, clusters of tiny flowers with petal-like bracts, resembling lace cap hydrangeas blooms appear over green heart-shaped leaves. Grow this climber in a very large container full of multipurpose compost.
SOLANUM CRISPUM (Chilean Potato Tree) ‘Glasnevin’
This is a 6m tall semi-evergreen scrambling climber that has slim, green, oval leaves, where from summer to autumn, clusters of fragrant lilac flowers with yellow eyes appear. Grow this climber in a sheltered spot in a multipurpose compost in a large container.
A tall 10m evergreen, twining climber that has rounded leaves that divide into oval leaflets. In spring, clusters of fragrant violet tinged white flowers appear, followed by egg-shaped purple fruits on female species. Grow it up walls and pergolas in multipurpose compost in a sheltered spot.
THUMBERGIA ALATA (Black-Eyed Susan)
This fast-growing annual twining climber will reach a height of 3m, It has oval to heart-shaped leaves, where small rounded, flat, orange or yellow flowers with dark centres appear from early summer to autumn. Grow this annual in a pot full of multipurpose compost, where it can trail over trellises and pergolas.
TRACHELOSPERMUM ASIATICUM (Asiatic Jasmine)
This 6m tall twining evergreen climber that has small, dark green leaves. In summer small scented, starry, white flowers that slowly turn yellow appear. Grow it in multipurpose compost where it is allowed to climb in a sunny, sheltered location against a wall.
TRACHELOSPERMUM JASMINOIDES (Star Jasmine)
A tall evergreen, twining climber that grows up to 9m in height, It has small glossy, dark green leaves that turn bronze in winter. In summer clusters of highly scented white starry flowers appear. Grow it in a large container full of multipurpose compost up a sunny, sheltered wall.
TROPAEOLUM SPECIOSUM (Flame Creeper)
This is a twining climber that has rounded, blue-green leaves divided into oval leaflets. In summer, this 3m tall climber produces scarlet flowers in an abundance that are followed by spherical, bright blue fruits. Grow this climber in enriched moisture retentive multipurpose compost with its roots in the shade. Ideal to grow in a sheltered position up against a wall.
VITIS COIGNETINE (Crimson Glory Vine)
This very tall vigorous deciduous tendril climber will grow up to 15m in height. It has large heart-shaped, textured leaves that turn a vivid red and purple colour in autumn. In summer, insignificant green flowers appear, which are followed by small, black berries. Grow it up a large wall or pergola in a very large container full of multipurpose compost.
VITIS VINIFERA (Grape Vine) ‘Purpurea’
This 7m tall deciduous tendril climber is grown for its lobed, maple-like purplish leaves that turn much darker red in autumn. Grow this climber in a very large container full of multipurpose compost against a large wall or a pergola. In summer tiny, pale green flowers are produced that are followed by unpalatable purple berries.
In this article, plants for walls, fences and other vertical surfaces in containers in the sun has been discussed, with a number of colourful suggestions been made. As you can see there numerous climbers that can be grown in containers, covering various heights, leaves colours and shapes, and a whole rainbow of colours.
Most will require to be grown in large containers full of multipurpose compost and supported with strong structures. No matter your preference if you need to cover a bare wall, a bare fence or you want something to grow up a pergola, there is a plant for you.
If you have a question that has you climbing up the walls or a comment that you need to make, please do so in the comment box below.