Planting and training climbers

Climbing plants can he invaluable to the gardener in a number of different ways: to cover hare walls and fences; to hide unsightly structures and objects within the garden; and to act as ground cover—spreading over the soil as well as over other plants.

With the trend toward smaller gardens, vertical gardening has become increasingly popular in order to make sure that every available space within the garden is fully utilized. As well as walls, fences, and other surfaces, poles, pergolas, and arches can also be used to support climbers and provide this added dimension to a garden.

However, even true climbers those plants that the tendrils, sucker pads or twining stems), which are capable of supporting themselves, need some help to become established and start to make full use of any nearby support structure. Other plants, such as roses, will always need additional help from the gardener to keep them in place.

To reduce the amount of training required, always try to position any support structure between the plant it is holding and the source of light. The plant will grow toward the light, so this positioning forces it to make its way through its support structure to reach the light. A plant twining through its support will need much less tying and training than one that is merely resting against it.

Many climbing plants prefer their roots to be planted in a cool, moist, shaded position; however, as gardeners, we often plant them close to the base of a tree, wall, or fence, where the conditions are actual cold land sometimes hot. Even young plants that have only been in their permanent position for two or three years will need at least 6 gallons of water each week in summer. So it is important that new introductions are planted well, to give them the best possible chance of survival over the first few years until they are established.

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