Climbers cultivated on fences and as screeners

Climbers create privacy while screening us out from neighbors, separate from bothersome roads and streets, and provide a lush cover. They keep away dust and fumes, and shelter the house from violent blasts of wind. When planted on fences, e.g. wire meshes or stockades, climbers will work well as a hedge, the rapid effect being due to enormous dynamism of their growth. The appropriate plant should be chosen depending on the size of a fence, favorite color, and time in which you want to obtain a screen. When planting climbers you should consider their weight and the rate of growth. Vigorous species will quickly create a wall of greenery. In the future, however, they will require more pruning in order to keep them in the allotted space and prevent from overwhelming the neighboring plants, or damaging supports.


Clematis alpina 'Pamela Jackman'

Evergreen climbers ( Ivy, Honeysuckle Lonicera acuminata or Japanese Honeysuckle) create a green screen that lasts the whole year round. Unfortunately, their limited hardiness restricts their application only to the warmest parts of the country.

Climbers are ideal for clothing unsightly buildings, sheds, warehouses etc., thus hiding them from your visitors' sight. If you want to have the effect in just one year, it's best to plant: Russian Vine, Hop or Clematis orientalis 'Bill MacKenzie' and 'Paul Farges'. However, if you can wait 2-3 years, you can use any of the others to achieve good results.

Clematis 'Comtesse de Bouchaud'

When selecting a climber to plant, it's important to know not only the growth rate, but also special requirements of particular species e.g. their frost hardiness. Screens can be created in full sun (by planting e.g. Russian Vine Auberta or clematis) or in shade (e.g. using Ivy, Climbing Hydrangea).


Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Autumn

Vigorous climbers will create a wall of greenery in 6-10 weeks. Later on, pruning the excessively growing stems can reduce their growth. They are particularly useful for newly established gardens, where greenery is in need, and for more elaborate trees or shrubs you still have to wait a few years. Rampant climbers are perfect as a temporary screen, until the hedge created by less vigorous varieties is not fully developed. In the future, if they become too expansive, you can easily discard them. If you aim at an evergreen hedge of e.g. arbovitae then, while waiting patiently for it to grow, you may screen yourself out by planting vigorous climbers over the fence.


Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Winter

On average, climbers for screening should be planted within a 1 m distance, but if you are anxious to get the effect, you can reduce spacing even up to 0,5 m. Tight budget can be compensated for by enlarging the spacing between the plants to 1,5 m, although it lengthens the awaiting period. When planting climbers, put them into a hole a few times bigger than the size of a flowerpot they used to grow in. Cover thickly the surface of the soil with mulch. It inhibits weed growth, helps retain moisture around the roots of the plant and, what's most important, prevents roots and the base of the stems from freezing. The climbers mentioned here are quite undemanding, but they need intensive watering and fertilization to create lush greenery. Self-watering lines are comparatively the most effective for providing the plants with water. As for fertilizing, at the end of April you can use a slow release fertilizer e.g. Osmocote 5-6 M, or use a traditional fertilizer mixture. Cut the stems above 3rd to 6th leaf to encourage branching. In successive years trim back only poorly branched, or excessively growing varieties.