Best Fast Growing Evergreen Climbers

If you’re looking to hide an unsightly feature in your garden, like the bin area, then fast-growing evergreen climbers can be your best friend.  They grow quickly and look good all year round.  What’s more there are fast-growing evergreen climbers for all situations and soils.  Here’s the basics of what you need to know about them and a guide to some of the best of them.

If you’re looking to hide an unsightly feature in your garden, like the bin area, then fast-growing evergreen climbers can be your best friend.  They grow quickly and look good all year round.  What’s more there are fast-growing evergreen climbers for all situations and soils.  Here’s the basics of what you need to know about them and a guide to some of the best of them.

Best Fast Growing Evergreen Climbers

The basics of fast-growing climbing plants

There are some differences between climbing plants and other plants most of which relate to the fact that climbers, by definition, have to be planted next to vertical surfaces, usually walls and fences, often with trellising on top.  These are the sorts of places where soil tends to be poorer as it will have been dug up to put down the wall, fence and/or trellis.  This means that even if your soil is generally fertile, you may need to enrich the areas where you plan to plant climbers.

Ideally, you want good soil right down to two spades’ depth.  This may seem like a lot but climbers don’t really grow outwards the way other plants do so they have to dig in deep.

If you plant too close to your main support, then you may restrict the space available for the plant to spread its roots.  Ideally, you want to plant climbers between 30cm and 45cm away from the support.  Again, this may seem like a lot but climbers will deal with it.  Leaving this distance also makes it easier for rain to reach the plants’ roots, but you may need to top up the water, especially in drier weather.

If you’re dealing with self-clinging plants, put in some canes to act as a bridge to the main support.  It may not look like much, but it will make a difference.

Last, but by no means least, you will need to have the supports in place before you plant your climber and you generally want to avoid using just a wall or fence for support.  You want to put something like a trellis on top of the main support, basically to share the work of “hosting” the plant.

This goes at least double for fast-growing climbing plants, precisely because they are so fast-growing.  Basically, it can be a real hassle to remove them once they have taken hold because in this case the phrase “taken hold” means literally and removing them risks removing part of your wall.

For the record, this fact is often the real reason you see many old houses absolutely covered in ivy.  Somebody, sometime in the past either planted it there or failed to deal with it and it’s had a chance to get a grip to the point where it would be close to impossible to remove without damaging the wall, so it’s usually easier just to let it be and live with it.

This illustrates the last key point about planting climbers, which is that you want to do everything possible to train them well in the early stages, so they grow where you want them to grow.  This will make life much easier for everyone when the plant is mature.

Best Fast Growing Evergreen Climbers

The best fast-growing evergreen climbers

Here is a round up of the best fast-growing evergreen climbers.  Usually, when we do round ups, we work on a combination of performance and price, in other words, value for money, but that doesn’t really apply here.  Instead, we’ve put together a list of suggestions to suit different gardening situations.

Clematis armandii (Armandii clematis)

Clematis armandii

Each plant grows to about 8 metres by 3 metres.  The leaves a dark green, glossy and broad, so this can justifiably be thought of as a foliage plant even though it does actually flower from early to mid-Spring.  The flowers are small and creamy/white but they give off quite a strong perfume.

Armandii clematis needs a sheltered position in full sun although it isn’t too fussy about the soil.

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Clematis cirrhosa (Freckles and Jingle bells)

Clematis cirrhosa (Freckles and Jingle bells)

Each plant grows to about 4 metres by 1 metre.  The leaves are also dark green and quite glossy but not as broad as with the Armandii clematis.  The foliage isn’t quite so pretty, but it’s still fairly attractive and will still cover whatever you need it to, plus Clematis cirrhosa flowers over the winter and early spring.  Freckles has purple flowers with cream spots and Jingle Bells has yellow flowers.  There isn’t all that much in the way of perfume, but the pop of winter colour can go a long way to making up for it.

Clematis cirrhosa also needs a sheltered position in full sun but isn’t too fussy about the soil.

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Hedera helix (Ivy)

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Although this strain is often known as common ivy, that’s a bit like saying the common cold.  Species may look fairly similar, but actually, there are a lot of subtle differences and variations.  Given that everyone’s probably heard of ivy and has at least a basic idea of what it looks like, all we’re going to say is that most species of common ivy have aerial roots so they can cling onto anything and they can cope with just about any growing conditions, including full shade, exposed conditions and poor soil.

Basically, if you need a fast-growing evergreen climber to grow in a place where nothing else can survive, then Hedera helix could be your only option, but do your research and pick the right subspecies for your area, needs and wants, because there are a lot of subtle differences between them, including their rate of growth and eventual sizes.

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Lonicera henryi (Copper Beauty or Henry’s Honeysuckle)

Lianen Heckenkirsche

Each plant grows to about 4-8 metres by 0.5-1 metre depending on growing conditions.  The leaves are broad, dark and glossy.  They work well as pure foliage.  In summer, you get the added bonus of fragrant yellow and red flowers, which are then followed by black berries.

Lonicera henryi may look delicate but it’s actually quite robust.  It will grow in full sun or partial shade and while it prefers a sheltered position it can cope with being exposed and it will grow in just about any soil as long as there’s reasonable drainage.

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Solanum jasminoides Album (The Potato Vine)

Solanum jasminoides

Each plant grows to about 4 metres by 4 metres.  The leaves are nothing exciting but they are thick and evergreen and will cover up anything you want to hide.  Through summer and into early autumn so also get star-shaped white or purple flowers with a mild perfume.

Solanum jasminoides Album needs a sheltered position in full sun or semi shade and soil which is both fertile and well-drained.  It will not take kindly to being waterlogged but is fairly resistant to drought once it is established.

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Trachelospermum Jasminoides (Star Jasmine)

Trachelospermum Jasminoides

Each plant grows to about 9 metres by about 5 metres.  Leaves are broad and glossy and for the most part dark green, but they do turn slightly red in winter.  In summer, there are the classic, star-shaped white flowers you associate with jasmine and a lovely perfume.

Trachelospermum Jasminoides needs a sheltered position in full sun or semi shade.  It also needs soil which is both fertile and well-drained and it isn’t as drought-resistant as Solanum jasminoides Album so it’s advisable to water it during dry spells.

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Passiflora caerulea (Blue Passion Flower)

Passiflora

Each plant grows to about 12 metres by 4 metres and these plants grow quickly.  The leaves are large and a glossy, dark green.  They aren’t the most attractive leaves you’ll see, but it is a reasonable foliage plant and it will certainly cover up anything you want to hide.  Through summer and early autumn, you will also get spectacular flowers.  You may also get fruit if the summer is warm, but you should not bank on this, P. edulis is the variety grown for its fruit and it is not suitable for outdoor growing in the UK.

Passiflora caerulea is surprisingly hardy and will winter outdoors in all but the coldest of areas although it does prefer shelter from the elements.  It also prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade.  This fast-growing evergreen climber does have a definite preference for fertile soil although it isn’t really fussy about perfect drainage, in fact it does best when there’s a bit of moisture.

The best fast-growing evergreen climbers in brief

The best fast-growing evergreen climbers in brief

The key to growing fast-growing evergreen climbers is, in principle, the same as the key to growing any other plant.  Basically, you pick a fast-growing evergreen climber which will be happy where you want to plant it (and if in doubt choose ivy) and then follow the basic rules of planting climbers given in the first part of this article.

Jeff Ellis

If it builds, screws or fixes, Jeff knows all about it. Former Joiner and handyman with over 25 years in the business, Jeff is our 'hands-on' tools, garden and hardware expert. Our in house heavy lifter, you certainly know when he’s around. BIG guy with a big heart, super warm and friendly guy. Always eating and always active, Jeff literally never stops, always has a smile on his face but more importantly for our readers, is an expert reviewer

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