Climbing Plants-The 5 Basic Varieties

climbing plants

Climbing Plants – Five Types of Climbing plants

Whether you are an prospective garden enthusiast or a regular green thumb, it’s important that you be well versed about climbing plants. Climbing plants can sometimes be a gardener’s best friend, especially if you are cramped for room. Naturally, why grow out when you can grow upwards? However learning what varieties of climbing plants are out there along with what support they need may require a bit more consideration. There are 5 principal ways plants employ to climb up a structure: tendrils, twining, scrambling, adhesive pads, and clinging stem roots. This short article will help you get to know each type of climber and know a bit more about how and where they grow.

Clinging Stem Roots:

Climbing plants that use clinging stem roots to grow include climbing hydrangea and English ivy. These climbing plants in fact produce tiny sticky roots that grow directly out from the stem. These sticky roots will certainly cling to almost any surface, smooth or porous. Clinging stems will be equally as harmful to buildings as adhesive pads, so be cautious about where you plant these vines. Clinging stem root climbing plants also need to be trimmed on a regular basis. They will quickly grow uncontrollably when left alone too long.


Twining climbing plants such as morning glory and clematis employ their own leaves and stems to reach out and “seize” onto a supporting framework. Twining plants, according to the species, will consistently twine in either a clockwise or counterclockwise route. Some twiners will wrap around their supporting structures loosely; others wrap very tightly. Be cautious about tightly twining plants–they can truly choke the life out of any other living vegetation about them. Also keep in mind some twiners can grow pretty big so it is important to provide them with sufficient support. Wisteria, for instance, is a twining climber noted for collapsing structures such as porches and decks.


Tendrils are very small, spring-like growths that extend from a plant’s stem. Tendrils are almost like little stems of their own, but they are thinner and much more flexible compared to the plant’s principal stem. A tendril reaches out and grabs on to the supporting structure by curling and winding around it. Peas are a climber that employs tendrils with its upwards progress. Climbing vines with tendrils will do best when they’re given a narrow support to climb, preferably having a diameter not more than 1/4″. Simple trellises made of narrow pieces of bamboo or some other thin branches work quite well. You can also make your own trellis for a tendril climber quite easily. Just build a framework, and then stretch a large netting or tie pieces of string through it.

Adhesive Pads:

Adhesive pad climbing plants may be both pervasive and invasive. Have you ever wondered how Boston ivy can easily climb up vertical face of a brick wall? Well, Boston ivy is an example of an adhesive pad climber which uses little, sticky tendrils to stick onto virtually any exterior. When an adhesive pad climber comes to an obstacle, they will grow laterally just as easily. Be careful about planting an adhesive pad climber near a building, since these plants are recognized to cause damage to brick mortar along with other siding materials.


Scrambling climbing plants are not able to grow up a support on their own. They frequently have rigid branches or thorns that they use to prop themselves on a different plant or framework. Roses and Raspberries are types of scrambling plants. If you want a scrambler to climb a garden structure like a trellis or , you will probably have to help the plant by tacking or tying it on the structure. Take care, though, you don’t tie the branches too tightly, or you could choke the plant to death. Choose a trellis or pergola which includes clips designed for this purpose.

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