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Types of Climbing Plants

Today's gardens are smaller and more compact than the gardens of the past, I enjoy gardening but I live in a townhouse and have a very small courtyard, so every area where plants can grow must be found and utilized. Gardening areas can, of course be vertical as well as horizontal and it is in the vertical spaces that climbing plants can be used to their best.

Most vines take up very little space at ground level but can spread their foliage and flowers over a large area to cover walls and fences. This type of growth is ideal for small courtyards which have some sort of paving, as vines can be planted in a corner and encouraged to grow up walls or ramble along the fences.

Climbing plants are very versatile:

  • They are of great value in providing shades over porches, patios and pergolas.
  • They can be used extensively for decorating bare walls and covering wire fences.
  • Climbers are also the solution to bringing life to that ugly or untidy shed.

You should also try indoor climbers to bring character and greenery to your lounge-room or kitchen.

When used in apartments and townhouses, a climber will enhance a balcony and even block out unsightly views. You can also decorate an archway by using a climbing plant.

What are climbers?

Climber is used to include all of the various types of climbing plants. They have one thing in common and that is that their stems are so elongated and so weak that they must use other plants or objects to assist their ascent. This climbing is performed so that the plant's leaves are more exposed to the light.

Root Climbers

  • Root Climbers have roots developing from their long stems to support them. These roots find their way into small cracks and joints of masonry and rough timber or into the bark of a host tree.

You should not grow this type of climber on to healthy trees as it will damage the tree and provide suitable conditions for pests and diseases. Ivy and climbing fig are examples of this type of climber.

Ivy is a good example of a root climber.  Its roots will find their way into small cracks and joints of masonary.  Do not grow this type of climber on healthy tree as it will cause damage.

Ivy is a good example of a root climber. Its roots will find their way into small cracks and joints of masonary. Do not grow this type of climber on healthy tree as it will cause damage.


  • The climbing rose and bougainvilleas are perhaps the most common examples of this type of climber. Scramblers bear hooks or prickles which curve downwards enabling the plant to attach to another plant or object. They scramble over them to reach the sunlight.
Orange Peach Bougainvilleas

Orange Peach Bougainvilleas


  • These climbers support themselves by the stem which coils itself around the support. These twiners can cause considerable damage if left growing around a tree. The tree will eventually be strangled by the twining stem. Wisteria and Honeysuckle are the most commonly used twiners.


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Tendril Climbers

  • Tendrils are usually modified stems, leaves or leaflets, the entire tendril usually coils itself around the support by developing a spring like coil.

Tendril climbers spreads by means of thread-like tendrils. The Virginia creeper and the Japanese Ivy and various other climbers support themselves on flat masonry surfaces such as brick -work.

Guiding Climbing Plants

Watch YouTube videos for some great ideas for planting climbers. I hope you enjoy planting your climbers.


Lisa Bean from Virginia on January 09, 2019:

I love a pretty flowering climbing plant. We have a few that bloom in the spring on the walls of our backyard and they look just lovely!

Amelia Martin on January 28, 2014:

cannot find the answer your looking for

bob123 on January 04, 2012:

cool stuff

coggster on October 09, 2009:

We are looking for climbers to cover areas of our yard. Your hub was very helpful. Wisteria is beautiful, I am just worried about the bees around them.

The Good Cook on May 15, 2009:

I love the Wisteria and Virginia Creepers. Thanks for writing.

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