Climbing plants quickly outgrow the support capabilities of their slender trunks. As vines grow and flowers bloom, the weight of all that growth makes plants top-heavy. If climbing plants are not adequately supported, plant stalks can bend or snap, damaging and in some cases killing the plant.
Trellises are typically used to support climbing plants. These ornamental structures are available from local garden centers and come in a wide variety of designs and materials. Many gardeners favor decorative, non-corroding metal trellises. Impervious to weather, they can be left in place year-round. Wood trellises are also popular with home gardeners. Relatively inexpensive, wood trellises can be painted to match background surfaces, “disappearing” from view so that plants appear to be suspended in mid-air. Climbing plants can also be trained to grow up fences, building walls, sheds, lamp posts, garden arches and pergolas.
To train climbing plants to grow up a trellis or other structure, plant climbers about six inches away from the structure you want them to climb, spacing as directed on the plant identification card. Using lengths of soft twine or green garden twist-ties, secure plant stems to the trellis. Be careful not to tie too tightly to prevent damaging the plant. Check your climber at least once a week to tack up new growth. You will not need to secure every plant stem. Some stems can be gently guided through the latticework and some will naturally intertwine with supported stems as they grow.
Clematis (Clematis) is one of the most popular climbing plants, prized for its long-lasting, showy display. Lush green leaves grow on an intertwined mass of slender, curving tendrils that bloom with dozens of colorful, large-petalled flowers from mid summer through fall. A beautiful way to dress up a boring fence, bare wall or driveway lamp post, this perennial climber returns each spring, providing years of delight.