Climbing perennial plants grow all over the world in diverse environments, many of them tropical forests. Some grow well under a variety of conditions, while others have very specific growing requirements. Many of them are strong and persistent growers and multiply aggressively, becoming invasive. Climbing perennials spread by multiple means, including seeds, underground rhizomes and rooting tips, and may need to be controlled with barriers and containers. They are exotic and interesting plants that are used in the landscape to climb arbors, cover fences and spill over walls.
Trumpet vine, also called devil's shoestring, trumpet creeper and hummingbird vine, is a deciduous woody flowering perennial vine native to the southeastern United States. It is a strong grower that easily climbs up to 40 feet when mature. It is winter-hardy but does best with protection such as thick mulch. The plant has delicate green leaves that grow in groups of six, and it produces large trumpet-shaped flowers in orange, yellow or red. Trumpet vine spreads aggressively by seeds, plantlets that grow from underground rhizomes and rooting tips that take hold wherever the vines touch the ground. Trumpet vines latch onto any nearby supports and should not be planted next to houses or trees. They are an attractive plant for arbors, fences and garden walls, attracting hummingbirds, bees, bats and butterflies.
Plumbago, also called leadwort, is an evergreen flowering perennial shrub native to the Mediterranean. It has an arching growth habit and can easily be trained to grow up arbors and over fences and walls. It blooms from the spring through the fall with clusters of blue flowers. Plumbago is a temperate and warm-climate plant that is not hardy where the ground freezes in the winter. It can tolerate drought conditions, but it does best with regular watering and fertilizing. It is easily grown from seed and even easier to grow from cuttings and suckers.
Clematis is a delicate flowering woody perennial climbing plant native to Asia, with some varieties native to North America. It produces large, showy flowers in a variety of colors. Clematis requires full sun but does best with regular watering and a thick mulch over the base of the plant. There are hundreds of varieties of clematis, most flowering in the spring or in the spring and fall. Clematis flowers produce a multitude of seeds, which freely start new plants that can be potted up or transplanted to other areas. They are well-suited to warm climates but will survive freezing winters if protected with a generous mulch cover. Although somewhat slow-growing, clematis will cover a 5-foot trellis or wall in a couple of years with the proper protection, watering and fertilization.
- "Ground Covers, Vines, and Grasses"; Gordon P. Dewolf; 1987
- "The Perennial Care Manual: A Plant-by-Plant Guide: What to Do and When to Do It"; Nancy J. Ondra and Rob Cardillo; 2009
- "Bloom's Best Perennials and Grasses: Expert Plant Choices and Dramatic Combinations for Year-Round Gardens"; Adrian Bloom; 2010
- "Timber Press Pocket Guide to Clematis"; Mary K. Toomey and Everett Leeds; 2006
- "Gardening With Climbers"; Christopher Grey-Wilson and Victoria Matthews; 2005
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