Evergreen Climbers

For year round cover, evergreen climbers are a wonderful plant. Used to train over fences, pergolas and out buildings, some are self clinging while others will need a little training and support. And yes you can grow them in pots and containers for an interesting display.

The toughest is Ivy, not every gardeners cup of tea, but it is evergreen and will climb just about anything.

Without doubt one of the most popular of all is Clematis armandii, wonderful white flowers, vigorous and with a cool root run requires little care other than pruning. Another clematis that fits the bill is Clematis Cirrhosa 'Freckles' is a popular cultivar, flowering in the winter.

For other popular climbers we could look at Winter Jasmine or Jasminium nudiflorum and although it is not actually evergreen it does flower in winter and does have green stems.

For something a little different why not try the evergreen climbing hydrangea, it's called Hydrangea seemanii and will flower in summer, wonderful deep green foliaged easily pruned after flowering.

The Star jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides is another, however it is slow growing and may struggle to survive in the colder areas.

Rosa banksiae is often overlooked, perhaps best described as semi - evergreen, however in the right position this is an excellent climber.

For those prepared to do a little work, and perhaps don't mind losing a plant now and then, maybe try Berberidopsis Corollina or the 'coral plant'. A little more of a scrambler than a climber, however with a little support this is an excellent plant for a slightly shaded position. Now not to much shade or you will lose it, and certainly a well drained soil in the winter or again yo may lose it, also mulch well to keep those roots a little warmer in the winter.

If you are looking for vigour then Akebia quinata (Chocolate Vine or Five-leaf Akebia) is it, but stand back. If you do not want it to take over, prune well after flowering, best avoided if you are not prepared to prune regularly.

And of course the passion flower, Passiflora. I guess they must be easy to grow because the nurseries say so. However many gardeners have problems with these wonderful flowering climbers. The main issue is wet cold soil in the winter. The roots simply rot .Frosts and Snow are really no good, so provide good drainage and protection in winter and they are great. Or grow them in a greenhouse.

And we also have Lonicera henryi (Henry's Honeysuckle) another vigorous evergreen that will happily climb over a pergola.

So there we have it, a brief look at evergreen climbers for the UK. Be a little careful as you will probably not want to plant a take over merchant, and then again, some of these climbers are lovely, but do take a little care.

John Allman

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