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Moving on Up-Ways Climbers Climb

Written by Mindy on March 18th, 2013

Climbers are an important part to any landscape design.  These plants add depth and allow the gardener to garden in the vertical space.  But did you know that not all climbers climb the same and how they climb will determine the type of trellis one will use?  Well they do and the following descriptions will help one to choose the best support for their climbing plants.

Not all climbers are equal in the garden space.  Annual climbers grow fast and weight less then perennial vines.  In doing so, annual vines can utilize more flexible trellis material then perennial so be aware of which type of plant you are planting.

There exist four ways climbers secure themselves.  This includes twiners, clingers, grabbers, and leaners.  Twiners are typically plants that wrap their stems around some type of structure.  This can be string, wire, trellis, lamppost or even other plants.   While annual plants, such as morning glories and hyacinth bean can grow on anything and even do well growing up a chain fence, the perennial version can cause a problem.  This includes wisteria and kiwi.  Both of these plants will require a trellis or some other type of strong structure that has cement footers.  This is due to the sure weight of the plant and its stems, which have been known to pull poles out of the ground.  If anyone has ever seen a wisteria growing, you understand the issue.

Clingers are another type of adaptation that climbers have and includes clematis and climbing hydrangeas.  These plants have two types of clingers.  One is a sticky suction-cuplike structure that helps the plant hold on or two, hairy rootlets.  Both of these structures allow the plant to grab hold of a support.  In this situation, the best type of support is a sturdy, lattice-covered trellis or over an arbor.

Grabbers are plants such as sweet peas that utilize structures called tendrils, which are growths that attach to a support.  Another technique used is the leaf stalks that wrap around a support and can be found in the passionflower.  This type of growth adaptation is great for wire supports and chain link fences.

The last adjustment that plants use is that of the leaner.  In this example, plants such as roses use their thorns to snag other plants and/or structures so that they can grow up them.  While any type of trellis will work, they will need to be tied to the trellis for support.

Climbers can be a blessing and a curse at the same time but what disguises one from the other is how they climb and how you have addressed that need.  Understanding these simple adaptations will help you choose the right plant for the right support.


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