Climbing plants are shrubs, perennial or annual, that have a rapid and vigorous development, and produce very long, flexible and fast-growing stems; this type of development gives rise to very large and enlarged shrubs, definitely very decorative, suitable as hedges, wall coverings and walls, canopies or gazebos. In reality the term rampicanti refers to different types of shrubs, some simply sarmentose, such as some roses, wisteria or jasmine: or shrubs with long twining stems, which tend to develop, enveloping supports of various types, with spiral growth; or the real creepers: or shrubs that develop producing tendrils or aerial roots that cling to the supports. In the case of the sarmentose shrubs it is often necessary to fix the young stems to mats or guardians, so that the plant grows in the direction we want. In the case of real climbing plants in some cases they are not recommended, for example the species that develop aerial roots tend to ruin the surface on which they are attached, so they may not be suitable for cultivation along the walls of a house, of which they can detach or ruin the 'plaster.
Which one to choose
There are very many decorative climbing plants; the choice of which to use depends on many factors; first of all we consider the use we want to do.
- From hedge
To form a hedge you choose really very vigorous and fast-growing climbers, so that they can quickly cover the area that we want to fill with the hedge. The plants most often used as hedges are certainly the different varieties of ivy or vines; in the first case we will obtain a very vigorous, evergreen hedge, while the vines used as hedges (partenocissus or ampelopsis) are deciduous, although often we use varieties with autumnal orange or reddish leaves, definitely very decorative. It is also possible to grow other types of climbing plants, such as jasmine or cestrum, more suitable for southern regions; or the trachelospermum (also called evergreen jasmine) or honeysuckle, more suitable for cold regions; these hedges become dense and compact with time, and also have the advantage of a splendid, delicately scented flowering.
- From flower
There are many flowering climbing shrubs; the advantage of a climbing plant compared to another flowering shrub is certainly the vigor of development, which translates into a cascade of flowers, often even over a long period of time.
Among the spring-flowering vines, the most cultivated are certainly the hydrangeas (hydrangea petiolaris) and the clematis; in the first case it is a shrub more suitable for the shaded areas, while the clematis prefer sunny areas, but with soil that is quite fresh. Among the clematis the mountain ones have a spectacular spring bloom and develop very large and vigorous shrubs; the other clematis, on the other hand, have very showy flowers, which bloom from spring to autumn, but develop delicate shrubs with thin and flexible stems. The spring-flowering prince climber is certainly wisteria, with its rain of intensely perfumed lilac buds; there are also white, dark purple or pink varieties on the market.
Many creepers, on the other hand, have a very long flowering, such as bougainvillea or passiflores, or even roses: these shrubs bloom continuously, from spring to autumn. We also remember other widely used climbing shrubs, such as solanum, with white or purple flowers, akebia, brambles, bignonia, with large orange trumpets.
Climbers - Specials - Annuals
Among the many climbing shrubs there are some annual, or cultivated as annuals; they are cultivated for the abundant and spectacular blooms. Among the many we remember the tumbergie, vigorous shrubs that produce many orange flowers, with a dark eye; the sweet pea: very suitable for areas with mild summers, the flowers are of many colors, in shades of pink, blue, red; the hypomee are also very cultivated, even by collectors: they produce thin fickle stems, and small leaves covered with a thin hair, the flowers are large trumpets in the shades of purple, pink or white. Nasturtium is also very common in gardens, an easily cultivated climber, it can also be directly sown as a home, it produces large orange, red or yellow flowers.
- The roses
Climbing roses are sarmentose shrubs, which develop long stems, with widely spaced internodes; often in the gardens you can see old climbing roses, with very long and poorly branched development, with flowers only in the upper part; this type of development is due to the fact that roses produce flowers only on new stems; to encourage the production of new stems, for shrub roses, a good pruning is carried out, which also favors an abundant flowering; as far as climbing roses are concerned, obviously too drastic pruning would deprive us of much of the shrub itself. Then we proceed by growing the climbing roses in an enlarged way, possibly near a trellis: therefore every single stem is fixed to the support promoting an arched development; in this way the shrub will produce new stems at each elbow, where the older stem arches, and therefore many flowers.
Climbers - Specials Cultivation of vines
Climbing shrubs are many, each of which requires special precautions in cultivation; in general we can say that most of the climbers need a good rich and deep soil, since the root system is very extensive, having to "feed" large and fast growing shrubs; for the same reason it is very important to remember to fertilize our vines regularly, so that they find all the mineral salts they need in the soil; we therefore use a slow release granular fertilizer, to be administered every 3-4 months, or we bury at the foot of the plant mature organic fertilizer, in autumn and at the end of winter.
The rapid and constant development often allows this type of shrub to be pruned (if we exclude the clematis), so as to contain its growth or to conform its crown. Some creepers should be pruned very often, to make sure they adapt to a small garden, or to prevent them from growing excessively; this often happens for the ivy or the passionflower, which develop really quickly and sometimes even become invasive plants.
We can also grow our vines in pots; however, remember that it is necessary to provide a large container. For example, for a trachelospermum shrub or for a climbing rose, it is necessary to use a large and deep container, we recommend a tank at least 60-80 cm wide; while for a clematis or an akebia a bell-shaped vase with a minimum diameter of 35-40 cm may suffice.
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