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Climbing plants attach themselves to supports by various methods so they need different types of support according to their needs. Many of them have aerial roots that readily attach to any vertical surface without support. Others use their twining stems, leaf stalks or coiling tendrils to climb on some support. Scandent and scrambling climbers produce long stems that need to be tied in at regular intervals.

Climbers Support

To help climbers and to keep them looking good you should use the right type of support for each type of climber. There are three main types of support used for climbers: wooden or plastic trellis panels, wire or plastic mesh and wires stretched between vine eyes or rust-proof nails. For annuals or herbaceous climbers you may use horticultural string or reinforcing wire as long as the support will be replaced every year.

Decide which is the right type of support for your climbers and make sure you fix it securely in the right position before planting the climber into its place. Choose a support that will match the size and strength of the mature climber as once placed into position you might not be able to change it and if the support is not strong enough it might collapse.

Trellis is the most reliable support for all twining climbers. It might also be used for scramblers if they are tied in. For tendril climbers use wires or mesh supports. When planting climbers against a free-standing trellis or over a pillar, remember that these will only produce flowers on one side of the support and this is towards the light. When planting on a trellis that is fixed to a wall or fence make sure the trellis panels or mesh is slightly away from the wall or fence to allow air circulation and also make sure that the base of the frame is about 30 cm above soil level.

If the trellis and mesh are attached to a wall that will need maintenance from time to time make sure you fix it with hooks at the top and hinges at the bottom or hooks on top and bottom. This way, climbers with flexible stems may be lowered from the wall or if only hooks are used, taken down and laid flat on the grown while the wall is repaired. Never try to lower rigid-stemmed climbers.

When using wires to support your climbers, stretch them horizontally or vertically between vine eyes or rust-proof nails. The wires will also need to be held about 5 cm from the wall or fence surface. Keep taut to prevent sagging. Tight the vine eyes with pliers or attach tensioners at about 2 m intervals. Space the wires 30-45 cm apart and place the lowest horizontal wire at about 30 cm above the soil level.

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Climbers as Ground Covers

When we say climbers we think of plants that are covering walls and trellises and grow upright, climbing any support they find. But some climbers, especially those with aerial roots or those with a scandent, trailing or scrambling habit, may be grown without support, this way they will produce swathes of ground cover. They are particularly effective when they are allowed to grow and spread over a sloping bank or when trailing over a wall where they will often root into the soil beneath.

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