Other plants

Growing climbers

Apart from clematis, there exists a large group of climbing vines worth popularising. Climbers take up little space in the garden all the while giving a spectacular display owing to the mass of greenery they produce: Silvervine Fleeceflower (Fallopia), Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia), Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus), Trumpet Creeper (Campsis), Vitis, Parthenocissus, Monks Hood Vine (Ampelopsis), Actinidia, beautiful flowers: Wisteria, Trumpet Creeper (Campsis), Honeysuckle (Lonicera) and ornamental fruit: Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus), Nightshade (Solanum), Ampelopsis, as well as edible fruit: Actinidia, Magnolia Vine (Schisandra) and Akebia. The majority of climbers climb by twining spirally round the support, while others, owing to the presence aerial rootlets e.g. Ivies (Hedera), Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris), Trumpet Vine (Campsis), Japanese Hydrangea Vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides) and Wintercreeper Euonymus (Euonymus fortunei), or adhesive tendril tips, e.g. Japanese Creeper (Parthenocissus), are self-clinging and can scale a flat wall, without added support.

Climbers are particularly useful for covering outer walls of buildings. Apart from their decorative aspect, they also act as insulation during winter, and retain a pleasant coolness inside the house during hot summer days. They also help keep the walls dry by shielding them from the rain, and draining excess water away from the foundations. Creepers are best suited to this end, but you can equally well use ivies or Trumpet Vine, or any other climber on condition that a suitable support is provided.

Climbers can cover unsightly buildings, sheds, warehouses, rubbish sheds, etc. hiding them quickly from view. If you want to have the effect in just one year, you should try Silvervine Fleeceflower (Fallopia aubertii), Hop (Humulus), on clematis belonging to the Tangutica Group e.g. 'Bill MacKenzie' or ‘Lambton Park’ or alternatively, Clematis'Paul Farges' of the Vitalba Group. If you can wait 2-3 years, you can use any climbing vine described in this section.

Climbers can grow up various kinds of fences (np. siatki) (e.g. wire meshes). They will not only provide decoration, but will also screen us from nosy people's eyes and protect us against winter and dust. The following plants are excellent for this purpose: Common Ivy (Hedera helix), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera acuminata), clematis of the Atragene Group (especially 'Pamela Jackman'), the Tangutica Group (especially 'Lambton Park'), the Viticella Group (especially 'Etoile Violette' and 'Polish Spirit') and the Vitalba Group (especially 'Paul Farges'), Monks Hood Vine (Ampelopsis aconitifolia), Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata).

The majority of climbers don’t require any special soil conditions, but since they produce a large mass of greenery, they don’t like very dry and poor soils. Heat-loving species, such as actinidias (Actinidia), wisterias (Wisteria) and trumpet creepers (Campsis), prefer warm, sheltered and sunny sites, while Common Ivy (Hedera), Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris), Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia), Schizophragma (Schizophragma), Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei), Akebia (Akebia), Hop (Humulus) and some honeysuckles (Lonicera) will feel better in a cooler, shaded and moist site.

When planting climbers dig a hole of 50x50x50 cm and fill it with fertile soil. Depending on the species, put the plant 0-10 cm deeper than it used to grow in a pot, at least 30-50 cm away from the wall and 50-100 cm away from the trees. Well chosen and correctly planted climbers can grow for many years, decorating your garden all year round and providing excellent shelter for birds.

Ampelopsis

The plants of the genus Ampelopsis are interesting climbers with attractive foliage and fruit. They used to be classified as Vitis but later on they were re-classified in its own genus Ampelopsis, in the grape family Vitaceae.

 

 

There are 20 species known, originating from Far East and both Americas, but only several of them are cultivated in Polish gardens.

 


Ampelopsis aconitifolia 'Seattle' - leaves - photo Sz. Marczynski
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Ampelopsis aconitifolia - on a fence - photo Sz. Marczynski
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Ampelopsis aconitifolia 'Seattle' - fruits - photo Sz. Marczynski

Depending on the species, the plants can achieve from 2 to 8 m in height. They climb by means of tendrils twining round the support. They have attractive mostly lobed leaves and quite inconspicuous greenish bisexual flowers that open in July-August. The plants are primarily grown for its fruit that are far more decorative than the flowers. Round berries, 6-8 cm in diameter, are produced in bunches and vary in colour depending on a variety. They ripen in September-October.

Requirements.
Ampelopsis have no special requirements and can grow in any ordinary soil, but they grow best and produce best fruit colours in sunny, warm and sheltered spots. No special pruning is needed. When the plant becomes overgrown, you should prune it moderately in early spring (February - the beginning of March) or in summer.

Ampelopsis aconitifolia - Monkshood Vine. It grows up to 4-8 m high (2-3 m a year) with attractive single deeply palmate leaves that are green in summer and turn yellow later in the season. Also in autumn, decorative small ball-like berries appear. They are yellow, orange or brown with small darker spots. A hardy undemanding and disease resistant plant that grows well in ordinary soil. Ideal for use in public green spaces, small and large gardens, covering fences and noise barriers, and screening unsightly constructions and buildings.

 

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Ampelopsis aconitifolia - fruits - photo Sz. Marczynski

Ampelopsis aconitifolia 'Seattle'. A compact cultivar up to 2-3 m high, selected and introduced to the market by Szczepan Marczynski in 2003. Young shoots and leaf tendrils are red-purple and turn pink with age. Orange-brown berries on bright red stalks. The leaves turn yellow in autumn. A perfect plant for a small garden, growing over an arbour, a pergola or another garden support. It’s at its best in a sheltered position. Ampelopsis bodinieri – Pepper Vine. A climber growing up to 3-6 m high (0,5-1 m a year). Deep green leaves, glossy on the upper side and blue-green underneath, coarsely toothed, with 3-5 slightly noticeable lobes, resemble the leaves of Platanus. Red leaf petioles. Small round violet berries covered with small white spots. Easy to grow, particularly suitable for small gardens, for growing over arbours or fences.

Ampelopsis glandulosa 'Elegans' - Porcelain Berry Vine. A stunning compact cultivar (up to 2 m high) native to Japan. Very decorative deeply lobed white, pink and cream leaves. Attractive pink-red young shoots, leaf petioles and fruit stalks. In autumn, handsome berries are a welcome bonus. They change colour from white-blue through purple to violet-blue (turquoise). It thrives in sunny, warm and sheltered positions. It's particularly useful for a small garden, or as an element of a bigger garden composition that can be admired from close up. Its stems with fruits are used in flower arrangements. Comparatively frost hardy, for instance, it can winter in central Poland without any special protection from cold.
 

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Ampelopsis glandulosa 'Elegans' - fruits - photo Sz. Marczynski
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Ampelopsis glandulosa 'Elegans' - leaves - photo Sz. Marczynski
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Ampelopsis aconitifolia - leaves - photo Sz. Marczynski
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From the left: Ampelopsis glandulosa 'Elegans' and Ampelopsis aconitifolia - photo Sz. Marczynski
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Ampelopsis glandulosa on a fence - photo Sz. Marczynski
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Ampelopsis glandulosa separates garden area from the street - photo Sz. Marczynski

 




















 

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Ampelopsis bodinieri - leaves - photo Sz. Marczynski
 
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Ampelopsis aconitifolia - fruits and leaves in autumn - photo Sz. Marczynski
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Ampelopsis bodinieri - fruits - photo Sz. Marczynski
 

 

 

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Ampelopsis aconitifolia 'Elegans' - fruits and leaves - photo Sz. Marczynski
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Ampelopsis aconitifolia 'Seattle' - fruits and leaves in autumn - photo Sz. Marczynski
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Ampelopsis aconitifolia - in a large pot - photo Sz. Marczynski