The Ultimate Guide to Climbing Plants
Many people think climbing plants are only suitable for outdoor spaces like gardens, but did you know they can be cultivated in indoor spaces, as well? Climbing plants add richness and depth to any garden space and with the proper knowledge, you’ll have healthy and luscious climbing plants.
What’s even better is that certain species of climbing plants can even work well in offices, so you can enjoy the benefits of plants even in your workspace!
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in gardening in your backyard or a working professional seeking the benefits of indoor plants, our Ultimate Guide to Climbing Plants provides you with everything you need to know about cultivating climbing plants indoors and outdoors.
Click on one of the questions below to be taken to its answer.
- What is a climbing plant?
- What is a trellis?
- What type of structures support climbing plants?
- What type of plants are considered climbing plants?
- How do you care for climbing plants?
- How do you plant climbing plants?
- Can climbing plants include flowers?
- Where can you grow climbing plants?
- How do you care for indoor plants?
- How fast do climbing plants grow?
- How often should you trim climbing plants?
- What are the benefits of climbing plants?
- What is a creeper plant?
- What is the difference between climber and creeper plants?
- What are some examples of creeper plants?
- How can I incorporate indoor vines into my workspace?
- Which climbing plants work well in office spaces?
- Where can I learn more about plants in the workplace?
What is a climbing plant?
A climbing plant is a plant that climbs up trees and other tall objects. Many climber plants are vines whose stems wrap around trees and branches but there are other methods of climbing.
Botanists divide climbing plants into two broad groups: Bines and Vines.
Bines typically twine their stems around an object for support. They have rough stems or downward-pointing bristles to air their grip. Some examples of bines are:
- Morning glory
The second group is vines. Vines use tendrils or specialized stems used by climbing plants, suckers, thorns and other methods to support themselves. Some examples of vines include:
- Climbing rose – thorns
- Virginia creeper – adhesive pads
- Trumpet creeper – leaves
- Passion flowers or passion vines – stems
What is a trellis?
A trellis s a framework made of either light wood or metal bars used as support for climbing plants or fruit trees. You can make your own trellis or buy one at your local garden center.
Some climbing plants require a support system like a trellis, but others don’t, so it’s important to do your research and determine which climbing plants you’d like to grow and if you have the resources to support them.
What type of structures support climbing plants?
Sure, you can use fences, walls, arches and porches. But be careful, climbing plants can get heavy so make sure your support system is durable.
What type of plants are considered climbing plants?
Tendrils – skinny structures along the plant’s stem that reach out in the air until they come into contact with structures they can hold on to.
- Stem tendrils – Passionflower, Grapes
- Leaf tendrils – Sweet peas, Chilean glory flower
Twiners – There are two types of twiners, twinning leaves or twinning stems. Twinning leaves use their leaves like tendrils. Young leaves twist around wires, string, twigs or other leaves to support themselves. Twinning stems twist around whatever they touch, spinning clockwise or counterclockwise depending on the species of plant.
- Twinning leaves – Clematis, Climbing nasturtium
- Twinning Stems – Pole beans, Dutchman’s pipe, Morning glory, Jasmine, Honeysuckle
Scramblers– Climbing or rambling roses are one of the many plants that are considered scramblers. These plants have long, flexible stems that look like vines but are unable to climb on their own. Scramblers sometimes have thorns that help them grip to other stems. If you want to add scramblers to a trellis, tie them with string or wire to the neighboring stem.
Adhesive pads – These plants have stem tendrils with adhesive pads that allow them to stick to many surfaces. If they don’t have vertical support, they can crawl sideways.
- Boston ivy
Clinging stem rooms – The stems of these plants produce short, stout roots that cling to a variety of surfaces.
- English ivy
- Climbing hydrangea
How do you care for climbing plants?
Depending on the type(s) of climbing plants you’re growing will dictate how you care for your plants.
Tendrils – They need horizontal support to grab onto, roughly ¼ inch in diameter. But, you can also use two-inch square netting.
Passion Flowers or Passion vines – Mulch heavy in the winter for a good start for the growing season. They need partial to full sunlight and need lots of water so keep their roots moist, especially during flowering season.
Twiners – To help twiners grow, they need a trellis, wire or post for horizontal support. Morning glories, Dutchman’s Pipe and Honeysuckle can grow large so they need support to hold their weight.
Morning glories – They die in frost but reseed themselves so they can grow the next year. Morning glories are best planted in full sun and seeds should be ¼-½ deep, eight inches apart.
Scramblers – Their thorns can make them difficult to work with. They too are unable to climb on their own and should be held with gardening wire or string.
Climbing roses – Climbing roses can grow very tall but have flexible canes so they can climb many types of surfaces. Some species need full sun and others grow best in partial shade.
- Stickers – Stickers don’t need horizontal support due to the adhesive on their tendrils.
Boston Ivy – Boston ivy prefers full sun to light shade with slightly moist to slightly dry conditions. Soil with clay or stony material is optimal for growth.
Stem Rooms – Stem root climbing plants use clingy stem roots to attach themselves to surfaces. These roots are strong, so strong they can damage paint when removed. It’s recommended you grow stem root climbers on homes and use trees or a trellis for support.
Climbing hydrangea– If given enough room to grow, climbing hydrangea can reach tall heights. They are also heavy so they need support. They need full sun to partial shade and any soil conditions will do just fine.
How do you plant climbing plants?
In general, you should plant your new climber 11 inches – 17 inches away from the base of your support structure so water can reach the root of your plant. Depending on the type of climbing plant you are cultivating will determine how you care for it and what kind of structure you will use to support it.
Can climbing plants include flowers?
Yes! Honeysuckle, Morning glories and Dutchman’s pipe are some of the most common climbing plants with flowers.
Where can you grow climbing plants?
Depending on the species of plant you are growing, you can grow climbing plants in containers, on walls, fences, trellis and along buildings like offices or homes. When deciding which climbing plant to cultivate, research how to grow and prune that specific species of plant to ensure optimal growth.
What season is best for climbing plants?
This ultimately depends on the type of climbing plant you choose to cultivate. In the spring, you can choose from clematis, which looks beautiful on pergolas or arches. Summertime is great for star jasmine, honeysuckles and roses. Fall and winter are great for grape vines, Virginia creepers and ivy.
How fast do climbing plants grow?
Fast climbing plants include akebia or “chocolate vine”, star jasmine, wisteria sinensis, vitis vinifera, clematis, etoile violette and morning glory.
Examples of slow-growing climbing plants include hyacinth bean vine, moonflower and the pink trumpet vine.
How often should you trim climbing plants?
One of the major reasons gardeners love climbing plants is due to their length and abundance but that doesn’t mean these plants shouldn’t be trimmed. Many plants benefit from a trim and knowing when to do it is important.
For instance, climbers can use a good trim during late winter. Clematis should be trimmed late-summer or late-fall. Depending on whether your clematis is an early flowering, early to mid or late-flowering species will depend on when you trim. Honeysuckle is typically trimmed every few years.
What are the benefits of climbing plants?
Climbing plants are a beautiful addition to any garden and provide depth and complexity to simple gardening spaces. They also provide shade on those warm summer days. When harvesting these plants indoors, the benefits include:
- Reduced stress and increased sense of well-being
- Improve air quality
- Reduce background noise
More benefits of indoor plants can be found here.
What is a creeper plant?
Creeper plants or creeping plants are small, vine-like plants that grow close to the ground.
What is the difference between climber and creeper plants?
Creeper plants are commonly found near the ground and grow horizontally while climbing plants tend to grow vertically, alongside buildings or other structures.
What are some examples of creeper plants?
Commonly grown creeper plants include:
- Japanese spurge
- Creeping junipers
- Angelina stonecrop
- Creeping myrtle
How can I incorporate indoor vines into my workspace?
You don’t have to exclusively enjoy climbing plants in your garden. Indoor vines are similar to outdoor climbing plants but as their name states, they’re cultivated in different locations. You can place indoor vines in hanging pots, on eaves and desks.
Below you will find a variety of indoor climbing plants that will liven up any workspace.
Which climbing plants work well in office spaces?
Vines that grow well indoors include:
- Philodendron Brazil
- Hedera Helix
- Devil’s Ivy
- Scindapsus Jade
Where can I learn more about plants in the workplace?
Ambius provides indoor plants, green wall installations, holiday decor and scenting for workspaces of all sizes and industries. To learn more about how your workspace can benefit from indoor plants, contact us or call us for a free quote at 1-800-658-0045.