Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Plants that grow up vertical surfaces are great for greening up fences and walls. Some, like clematis, grow by twining and need support (such as mesh or trellis). Others, like ivy, cling to walls directly so don’t need any physical help.
Choose a climber that will grow to the right size for the space you need to fill in height and width. Check the label - it will also tell you if sun or shade is needed.
Buy a sturdy plant with lots of shoots at the base and roots reaching to the edge of the pot. Before you plant it, give it a good water.
Ideally, before you get started make sure you have your plant support in place, whether it's mesh, wire or a trellis.
Dig a hole 30-60cm (1-2ft) from the wall that's wider but only a little deeper than the pot. Break up hard soil with your spade and dig in some compost.
Ease the plant out of the pot. Use the pot to check the depth of the hole. The rim should be at ground level - use a cane across the hole to check this.
Tease out the roots before planting. Plant your climber at the same level as it was in the pot.
Refill the hole around the plant adding a feed such as growmore or blood, fish and bone meal.
Tread the backfilled soil around the rootball firmly with your heel and water thoroughly so that all the soil around the plant is moist.
Mulching the ground around the plant will hold in moisture, keep the roots cool, and prevent weeds.
Tie your climber (here a clematis) shoots to the original canes, and fan these out until they reach your support.
Keep a regular check on your plant and as it grows, guide or tie in the stray shoots to the support.
Alternatives to mesh and trellis for smaller climbers are hooks and wires, which are much less noticeable.
Keep watering your new plant - approx half a can twice a week. It will soon start growing, greening up an otherwise plain area of wall.
When your clematis reaches the support tie it on and keep doing this as it grows to cover your available space.
Water plants very regularly for the first 2 years, so they establish well and do not dry out. Feed in spring and protect new shoots from slugs.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9