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6 Climbing Plants for Fences

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Climbing plants are brilliant for turning balconies, backyard fences, and garden boundaries into lush, green backdrops. These quick-growing creepers and climbers will turn even the most uninspiring settings into things of beauty.

If you think you don’t have the space to grow a climber like an ivy, vines, or other blooming varieties, think again! These are resilient, reliable plants that are highly adaptable. They will grow from small containers like pots or a garden bed.

Just be careful which one you choose. Certain varieties of climbing plants can grow at an amazingly fast rate and can easily get out of control in a small setting.

From ivy and vines to flowering varieties, keep reading to find the perfect climbing plant for your setting. 

1. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

english ivy plant climbing on a wooden fence

English ivy, often referred to as common ivy, is a well-known, popular plant with many uses.

Common ivy is an evergreen plant that lasts for years without much care.

The undeniable benefit of English Ivy is its resistance to freezing temperatures, pests, and diseases. It is a plant that keeps its leaves year-round, has a long lifespan, and requires very little care.

It will thrive in any kind of soil and under any kind of conditions.

It is very useful as a climbing plant as well as a ground cover or hanging plant.

Its small roots allow it to cling to surfaces, eventually covering areas as big as a two-story home.

It works wonderfully as a cover plant for a rundown building’s facade or a wall that has seen better days. It can also creep up and cover the wires of a fence, transforming it into a green screen.

Because the common ivy is an evergreen plant, worrying about its branches being naked during the winter is unnecessary.

It thrives best in moist places with rich humus but may survive almost anywhere. And with optimal growth conditions, it can grow nearly 3 feet every year.

Ivy can be trimmed in any way you desire. However, mature plants that have not been pruned produce green flowers.

Key Information

Growth RateRapid
UsesIt is an excellent climbing plant for walls, fences, pergolas, and gazebos. It can also be utilized as a groundcover or in hanging baskets.
FlowersYes, green flowers
Height20’– 30’
LightPartial shade, partial sun, deep shade
Water needsAverage
Soil Average garden soil
Heat zone6 –12
ProblemsThe plant is toxic for humans and animals

2. Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)

boston ivy plant on a cemented wall

Boston ivy, sometimes called grape ivy and Japanese creeper, is a stunning vine that can be used to cover huge areas of fences, smooth, high walls, and extensive home facades.

The perfect time to take in the stunning beauty of this vine is in the fall. As autumn gets nearer, its leaves begin to take on a variety of stunning red hues. 

You might even get the impression that the vine-covered areas resemble flames from the sight of all those fiery red leaves.

Boston Ivy grows quickly, up to 4 feet per year, and its tentacle-tipped tendrils allow it to attach to the wall on its own, eliminating the need for extra support.

It does an excellent job of covering any imperfections in the wall or façade. A green curtain can make even the most dilapidated building look impressive.

After the leaves have fallen in the winter, the building is left with a tangled web of twigs arranged in whimsical patterns.

Its greenish-yellow blossoms bloom in June and July.

Boston Ivy requires little care and grows best in fertile, moist, neutral soil but can also withstand sandy and dry soil.

It can be pruned regularly to keep it in check, although it is not required. Just ensure to plant it in an area where it can expand and grow.

It is important to remember that this is a vigorously growing vine that, if allowed to climb a building, could damage the outside walls, gutters, or other structural elements.

Key Information

Growth RateRapid
UsesIt is a superb climbing plant for large areas such as building walls or fences. It can also be used to manage slope erosion and as a ground cover in large areas.
FlowersYellow-green flowers
LightFull sun, partial shade, shade
Water needsAverage
Soil Average garden soil
Heat zone1–8
ProblemsExpansive and fast-growing

3. Climbing Euonymus (Euonymus fortunei)

pretty green and yellow leaves of a climbing euonymus

Euonymuses, also known as Wintercreeper, are becoming increasingly popular, particularly their evergreen variants, which brighten up our gardens all year.

There are many species of Euonymus, but only some are evergreen.

One of them is the E. fortunei, which climbs trees, walls, stones, and other supports in optimal growth conditions.

The plants’ aerial roots enable them to climb the supports you set up. But depending on how you want them to grow, you can also grow Euonymus plants as shrubs instead of just climbers.

The best climbing cultivars of Euonymus fortunea include ‘Emerald Gaiety,’ ‘Emerald ‘n Gold,’ and ‘Silver Queen,’ with a typical annual growth rate for shoots of 12 inches.

Planting them near trees is recommended since, in nature, their adventitious roots penetrate the bark of trunks. Yet, they will flourish when placed on a wire fence as well.

Creeping Euonymus is a versatile plant that can develop into a 6-foot-tall shrub or a 20-foot-long woody vine when planted against a wall, tree, or trellis.

The Euonymus plant matures into dense, green walls that take shape easily and, with regular maintenance and trimming, make an elegant hedge or green wall.

Euonymus grows best in semi-shaded positions but also tolerates sunny and shady places. Yet, light brings out the hues in the leaves of colored varieties.

Euonymus grows best in humus-rich, fertile soils but will also grow well in less-than-ideal soils. It tolerates urban environments well and is relatively hardy.

Key Information

Growth Rate12 inches per year
UsesCan be used as fence cover, an elegant, dense hedge, or groundcover.
LightFull sun, partial shade, shade
Water needsAverage
Soil Average garden soil
Heat zone2–9
ProblemsFruits are highly poisonous.

4. Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris)

climbing hydrangea with beautiful white flower on a wooden fence

This exotic Asian creeper is one of the few flowering vines that thrive in shady areas.

Climbing hydrangea is a great plant that helps to camouflage unattractive garden features or decorate structures like fences, pergolas, trellises, and arches.

It also works wonderfully planted at the base of trees, poles, columns, and porous walls.

It climbs using adventitious roots but has an insufficient grip on smooth surfaces to sustain its weight, so if you intend to plant it as a wall cover, you should support it.

Moreover, new shoots should be tied up in their first growing seasons to guide the plant’s growth in the desired direction.

Climbing hydrangea can handle the extreme cold and adjusts well to low light, making it a good choice for planting on a building’s north wall, which is a challenging location for most plants.

After two to three years of gradual development, hydrangeas hit a growth spurt and can gain as much as three feet in a single year.

It is breathtaking when the climbing hydrangea is covered in white umbrella-shaped flowers. The inflorescences are big, measuring 12 inches in diameter, and they begin blooming around the end of June or the beginning of July.

The leaves of hydrangeas are also visually appealing. They are dark green in summer and turn golden yellow in autumn.

To thrive, climbing hydrangeas requires partial shade and acidic soil. But, as long as the soil does not dry out too much and contains some humus, they can flourish anywhere.

It is completely frost resistant. It is often used instead of ivy, which can freeze. It does not require special pruning but tolerates it well.

Key Information

Growth RateRapid
UsesIt is a great plant to train on walls and fences in shady areas.
Flowers ColorsWhite
LightPartial shade, deep shade
Flowering PeriodLate spring to early summer.
Soil Average garden soil, moist but with good drainage.
Heat zone1–9
ProblemsThe plant is toxic for humans and animals.

5. Silver Lace Vine (Fallopia aubertii) 

pretty white flowers from silver lace vine under the sunlight

The Silver Lace Vine is known for having one of the fastest growth rates, making it a great plant for use anywhere we need to provide some greenery quickly.

It grows well on all kinds of supports, including fences, bars, ropes, trellises, and nets of all kinds, both wooden and metal. 

The Silver Lace Vine has the potential to reach a height of twenty feet every single year.

Because of this, it is important to remember that the plant will quickly expand, which will require strong support.

The ideal dimensions for the support are a width of 10 meters (32 feet) and a height of up to 25 meters (82 feet).

Although Silver Lace Vine does not maintain its green color throughout the year, it can be used successfully from the beginning of summer until the end of autumn to build a green fence or wall along a road or cover the roof of a pavilion.

The Silver Lace Vine is a late-blooming plant that does not begin to produce flowers until July, but once it does, it blooms nonstop until the first frost of the season.

The flowers are white, quite tiny, and abundant in number.

The Silver Lace Vine requires very little care. It grows well in ordinary soil and prefers full sun to partial shade.

The Silver Lace Vine is very useful because it gives the effect you want soon after you plant it, and you can cut it back if it starts to grow outside of its boundaries.

Key Information

Growth RateExtra rapid
UsesFor planting on all kinds of garden supports.
LightFull sun, partial sun
Water needsAverage
Soil Average garden soil
ProblemsWeedy, rapid growth.

6. Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla)

purple tear shaped hanging on a pipevine plant

Pipevine is a gorgeous climber that can be grown successfully in either partial or complete shade. Because of this, it is an excellent candidate for planting in shaded regions of the garden.

Pipevine can reach a substantial size and, as a result, needs to be supported by structures strong enough to hold its dense mass of leaves.

This magnificent vine can reach 33 feet in height and grows 4 to 6 feet per year. Large, heart-shaped leaves that can reach a length of 12 inches are a distinguishing feature of pipevine.

The upper sides of the leaves are a dark green color, while the undersides are a lighter green. In the autumn, the leaves turn a golden yellow before they eventually fall to the ground.

The pipevine leaves are unique in that they overlap like tiles on a roof, producing thick walls or roofs of verdant foliage.

Because of the way the leaves are arranged, they are able to precisely cover fences or gazebos while also providing shade during the warm summer months.

Pipevine flowers are also very intriguing. They sprout in May and June and are often hard to see because they are hidden under the leaves.

They resemble pipes, as they are tubular and curved, and lengthy peduncles hang them.

This is why this plant is known as pipevine or Dutchman’s pipe.

Nevertheless, that is not all there is to know about these fascinating blossoms.

The pipevine uses the blossoms as a trap. 

The blossoms emit a subtle aroma that tempts insects and, once inside, captures them. Once the insect has been captured, the plant will hold it inside the bloom until it has finished pollinating.

When pipevine is first planted, it takes around two years for the plant to become established and begin really robust development.

At this time, it should be trimmed so it can branch out well. In later years, there is no need to prune.

Pipevine is a long-lived vine that can persist for several decades. It is completely frost-resistant and thrives in urban environments. The only thing to remember is that it doesn’t like full sun or places with a lot of wind.

Key Information

Growth RateRapid
UsesExcellent climbing plant for shady areas.
FlowersGreenish-brown flowers
Height15’ – 30’
Spread15’ – 20’
LightPartial shade, shade, partial sun
Water needsAverage
Soil Chalk, clay, loam, sand
Heat zone4 – 8
Hardiness5 – 8 
ProblemsThe plant is extremely flammable. It is also a toxic plant for humans and animals.

Final Thoughts

When choosing creepers to turn your fence into a lush green backdrop, you must first understand the plant’s needs. These plants will thrive if they are planted in the appropriate setting.

Consider the rate at which your climber will grow. Are you seeking a fast–growing vine or something more compact and easier to control?

Think about the style you are looking for in your setting. Determine, for instance, whether evergreens are your priority or maybe you prefer seasonal bloomers.

Whichever climber you choose, it won’t take long to transform your setting into a thing of beauty.


Some of the information in this article comes from my own experience.

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