Vertical Beauty: The Art of Growing Captivating Climbers

angel in blue dress painting
Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

Vertical gardening is a popular trend in the world of gardening. It is a technique that involves growing plants upwards rather than outwards, taking advantage of vertical spaces such as walls, fences, and trellises. One of the most captivating ways to create vertical beauty in your garden is by growing climbers or vines.


Climbing plants are an excellent way to add height and interest to any garden. They come in various shapes and sizes, from delicate tendrils to thick stems that can climb several feet high. These plants not only provide visual appeal but also offer numerous benefits to your garden ecosystem.


Climbers improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen into the environment. They also provide shelter for wildlife like birds, bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects that help pollinate your crops.

Growing climbers may seem daunting at first glance, but it’s not as complicated as it seems. With some basic knowledge about these plants’ requirements and some patience and care on your part, you’ll be on your way to creating a stunning vertical garden display.


Choosing the Right Climber

When selecting a climber for your vertical garden display, consider its growth habit or how it climbs:

Twining Climbers: These types of climbers use their long stems or tendrils to wrap around supports like trellises or poles gradually. Examples include clematises (Clematis spp.), honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.), wisterias (Wisteria sinensis), passionflowers (Passiflora spp.), among others.
Scrambling Climbers: These types have flexible stems that can be trained along wires or trellises without twining around them directly—examples include climbing roses (Rosa spp.), Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), among others.
Adhesive Climbers: These types have adhesive pads or roots that attach themselves to surfaces such as walls, fences, and trees. Examples include ivies (Hedera spp.), climbing hydrangeas (Hydrangea petiolaris), creeping figs (Ficus pumila), among others.
Twiners and scrambling climbers are easier to manage than adhesive climbers, which can damage surfaces if not maintained properly.

Growing Climbers

Climbers require a few basic conditions to thrive:

Light: Most climbers require full sun or partial shade; consult the plant’s label or do some research before planting.
Soil: Climbers prefer well-drained soil rich in organic matter. If your soil is too heavy or compacted, consider adding compost or other organic amendments before planting.
Supports: Climbing plants need sturdy supports like trellises, wires, stakes, poles, or walls to grow upright. Make sure the support is strong enough to handle the plant’s weight as it grows over time.
Watering: Water your climber regularly during the growing season; aim for deep watering once a week rather than frequent shallow watering. Avoid getting water on the leaves as this may cause fungal diseases.

Pruning Climbers

Pruning is an essential aspect of managing climbing plants in a vertical garden display. Regular pruning keeps them looking neat and tidy while also promoting healthy growth and bloom production.

When pruning climbers:

Remove dead wood first—these are branches that are brownish-gray and brittle when snapped.
Cut back any diseased or damaged stems right above where they join healthy wood—this will prevent further spread of disease into healthy sections of the plant.
Trim back any crossing branches that rub against each other—this creates wounds that leave your plant vulnerable to pests and diseases
Remove any old woody growth at ground level—this will encourage new shoots from near the base of your climber
Pinch out tips of young shoots occasionally—this promotes bushier growth and more flowering.

Training Climbers

Training climbing plants takes patience, but it’s a rewarding process that can create beautiful displays in your garden. Here are some tips on training climbers:

Tie stems loosely to the support structure with garden twine or soft string—this will help guide the plant upwards.
Prune back any wayward branches that stray from the support structure
Encourage stems to grow in a specific direction by gently bending them towards where you want them to go.
Check regularly for tendrils or shoots that have missed their mark and re-tie them to the support structure.


Growing climbers is an excellent way of creating vertical interest, adding height, and attracting wildlife to your garden. With some basic care, attention, and pruning techniques, you can grow captivating climbers that provide year-round beauty for many years. So why not give it a try? You might be surprised at how easy it is to create stunning vertical garden displays with these fascinating plants!