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4 July 2014

Climbing Plants for Shady Areas

A shady area may not seem like a good place for climbing plants, but there are some that thrive in what are their natural conditions. Here are some for you to consider:-

Honeysuckle - Lonicera. Both the evergreen and deciduous types will be happy as long as they have some support, so provide them with trellis or wire to grow up. The deciduous varieties are more colourful but lose their leaves through the winter. Lonicera japonica 'Halleana' and L. henryii are two evergreen types to try, both of which are excellent for shady areas. Halleana has light cream flowers whilst L. henryii has flowers of yellow to gold. One of the best deciduous varieties for these shaded areas is L. periclymenum 'Belgica', with red and white flowers, while L. x brownii 'Dropmore Scarlet' is another one to consider.

Climbing Hydrangea - Hydrangea petiolaris - is without equal on a shaded wall. It will cover a few square metres by year three after planting, and being self-clinging doesn't need support, though it doesn't work as well against a fence. It has white flowers in early summer and golden yellow autumn foliage. Deciduous.

Clematis, both evergreen and deciduous types, can be some of the best of the climbing plants for shade, though they are often overlooked. The best of the evergreen varieties has to be Clematis armandii - a vigorous climber that will soon cover a shaded wall or fence. It has very attractive dark green foliage, and abundant pure white flowers in late winter. The large flowered hybrids, which are all deciduous, do well in total shade - but better if they can clamber up to some sunlight. The smaller flowered Clematis montana types are also good plants for shade - especially if they can reach up to the light. C. montana 'Rubens' is probably the best of the montana types.

Virginia Creepers - are true climbing plants and all types do well in shade. The true Virginia Creeper - Parthenocissus quinquefolia - is a self clinging climbing plant well suited to shade, using small suckers on the end of tendrils to help it climb. It is deciduous with leaves which turn bright red and orange in autumn. It has inconspicuous green flowers in summer and blue-black berries.

Garrya Elliptica - male forms are impressive plants when laden with their long elegant tassels in winter and early spring, while female plants have much smaller catkins and clusters of round deep purple fruits in summer. 'James Roof' is the most popular variety as its tassels are much longer than the species, 20-30cm (10in) long and last for many weeks, making a striking backdrop to other smaller plants. Evergreen.

Jasminum nudiflorum - winter flowering jasmine - isn't a true climbing plant but can be trained to reach a height of around 2 metres. This deciduous variety has bright golden yellow flowers in winter and spring.

Pyracantha - as with the jasmine above, they are not climbers but are often trained up walls and along fences, and never fail in shaded garden places. They benefit from being evergreen and having flowers and berries,and come in a number of varieties. The flowers are usually white, though the colour of the berries ranges from yellow-orange to red-orange. One of the most popular varieties is 'Orange Glow' which is a strong-growing, spiny evergreen shrub with glossy dark green leaves. It has clusters of small, white flowers in early summer, followed by long-lasting, bright orange berries.

I hope you can find room for one or two of the above plants in your garden.
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