Evergreen Climbers for Covering Walls and Fences
Evergreen perennial climbers are especially useful on garden walls and fences when ground space is at a premium in your landscape. They can also provide great color and perfume – unlike the usual hedge solution. Hydrangea, Clematis and Honeysuckle all provide large, fast-growing examples of up to 40ft or more.
3 Easy to Grow Long-Flowering Climbing Plants
Evergreen climbers can flower intermittently for up to 10 months in any one year. Although the first flowering is usually the most dazzling and floriferous, these are often followed by pauses of up to a month between lesser, subsequent flowerings. Evergreen climbers are often hardier than their deciduous cousins. They provide year-round interest in any garden, only losing a relatively small proportion of their foliage during the harshest winters. While evergreen climbers are easy to grow, like conifers, they need about 3 years to get established before they really start to shift.
Click here for a more detailed guide on how to grow hydrangea – especially through their first winter.
Hydrangea seemanii is an evergreen hydrangea that will grow 3x faster than H. petiolaris normally available in garden centres and they have near identical flowers. But unlike H. petiolaris, Hydrangea seemanii doesn’t need any artificial support! It holds fast to any surface. Flowering commences around early July and lasts about six weeks.
Learn more about growing hydrangeas here
Clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’ is a large evergreen clematis. This excellent perennial climber has dark green, glossy, elongated leaves and white, star-shaped, fragrant flowers that begin in late March and will continue right through the summer and in to early winter (in between pauses).
Alternative evergreen clematis (although smaller) include; Clematis Fragrant Oberon and Clematis ‘Freckles’. Clematis Fragrant Oberon was named after the king of the fairies and has lemon-yellow flowers that appear to glow against their dark green foliage.
Clematis ‘Freckles’ has creamy white, pendulous flowers, which have dark red spots on the inside of the petals and is particularly good if you require winter interest.
Lonicera similis delavayi is a fantastic honeysuckle. Introduced from Western China in 1901, this honesuckle is something of a late developer but well worth the wait. Long fragrant white and yellow flowers appear in the latter half of July for the initial bloom burst which is spectacular. After the initial flowering Lonicera similis delavayi will keep flowering off and on until Christmas. You can even put a perfumed garland on your Christmas table!
The images below include this fabulous honeysuckle in late winter. Here is the same plant in full flower.
Learn more about growing honeysuckle here
These three evergreens are all recommended and happily take to east, west and south-facing walls in the author’s garden at 600ft altitude in a region well-known for moisture-laden, high winds. All have been snow-covered down to -12C.
These plants flower on the previous years growth, so they don’t need regular annual pruning. However, established evergreen climbers will flower better for having had a good ‘hack’ every 4 or 5 of years. ‘Pruning’ just won’t do, they will need a good ‘hack’ to thin all the branches and keep the plant closer to the wall – say about a foot to 18″(45cms) otherwise they will go 4ft or more beyond the wall given time.
Evergreen climbers provide natural security and shade on walls and fences and make a popular habitat for small birds.