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Plants for Walls: Green Houses

A green house can be a house which is, quite literally, green. Climbing plants on your home - or anywhere else in your garden for that matter - are very useful because they take up little space on the ground but provide masses of greenery elsewhere. One prized-up paving stone can provide enough space for a climber which can cover an entire building. Maintained correctly they cause no damage at all. In fact, climbers on a house can actually buffer it from weather extremes and act as a first line of defence against the elements. See our selection of climbing plants for sale in Ireland...

Ivy on a house in Inchicore, Dublin 8

Ivy (Hedera helix) on a house in Inchicore, Dublin 8.

Choosing the right type of climbing plant for your wall.

Self clinging: There are different types of climbers, and the easiest ones are the ones which are known as 'self clinging'. These climbers don't require any support as they grip onto the wall surface themselves. These climbers are good for most walls but should not be planted onto weak or damaged walls. They need to be clipped once a year to keep them out of gutters and windows.Otherwise they can look after themselves and will work their way over any vertical surface. Good examples of self clinging climbers include Ivy (Hedera), Boston Ivy and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) and climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea seemannii and Hydrangea petiolaris).

Parthenocissus henryi, Ashford, Co WicklowParthenocissus henryi growing on a house near Ashford in Co Wicklow.

Parthenocissus tricuspidata on Georgian buildings in Dublin's Fitzwilliam Square

Parthenocissus tricuspidata on Georgian buildings in Dublin's Fitzwilliam Square.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia on a window in Dublin's Portobello

Parthenocissus quinquefolia on a window in Dublin's Portobello

Parthenocissus tricuspidata in autumn. Bray, Co Wicklow

Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston ivy) in autumn. Bray, Co Wicklow

Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Dublin 8

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) Dublin 8. Summer.

Parthnocissus autumn, Dublin 8

The same Parthenocissus again in autumn (Dublin 8).

Hydrangea petiolaris, Dublin 8

Hydrangea petiolaris (Climbing hydrangea) in Dublin 8.

Hydrangea petiolaris in autumn, Booterstown, Co Dublin

Hydrangea petiolaris in autumn, Booterstown, Co Dublin

Hedera on house in Wexford

Hedera on a house in Co. Wexford


Twining climbers: Many climbers require support such as wire or trellis. They can scramble up most structures but need something to grip to. They have the benefit of not actually gripping onto the wall surface but the disadvantage of needing support. Heavier climbers such as Wisteria require a very sturdy structure to grip onto and can grow vigorously up a pole or wire to reach many metres up. Lighter climbers such as Clematis prefer to fan out along a trellis and can be cut down to ground level to keep them in check. Good examples of these types of climber include Wisteria, Clematis, Passion flower (Passiflora), Kiwi (Actinidia), Jasmine (Jasminum), Potato vine (Solanum) and Honeysuckle (Lonicera).Wisteria growing on a cottage on the banks of the ricver Liffey

Wisteria growing on a cottage on the banks of the river Liffey, Dublin.

Wisteria on an apartment building, Dublin city centre

Wisteria on an apartment building, Dublin city centre

Wisteria on a house in Dublin city centre

Wisteria on a house in Dublin city centre

Passiflora / Passionflora

Passionflower (Passiflora caerulea) on a cottage in Wicklow.

Solanum jasminoides, Dublin 6Solanum jasminoides (White potato vine) in Ranelagh, Dublin 6.


Shrubby climbers: Some plants just like to grow flat over any surface, including vertical ones. They have woody stems but may also need a helping hand to keep them from flopping over. They are effectivey a shrub which grows flat against a wall. They require trimming to keep them flat and have the advantage of not gripping the wall itself and, in some cases, of providing security or obscuring features which you wish to hide. Good examples of this type of plant include Firethorn (Pyracantha), Quince (Chaenomeles) and Cotoneaster horizontalis.

Cotoneaster, Co Dublin

Cotoneaster horizontalis against a wall, Co Dublin

Pyracantha / Firethorn against a wall of a house in Bray

Pyracantha / Firethorn against the wall of a house in Bray.

Pyracantha at Fota House, Cork

Pyracantha (Firethorn) on outbuildings at Fota House, Cork

Clianthus puniceus, Dublin 8

Clianthus puniceus (Lobster claw vine), against a wall in Dublin 8.

See our selection of climbing plants for sale in Ireland...

 

 

Comments

wonderd if there is a preferred support method for newly planted wisteria, which i'd want to see fanning out over a high South facing wall ie 6M high and 4M wide. Would a trellis be a wiser configuration or, vertical climbilng poles, which i see featured a lot for wisteria. Haven't seen too many "neat" non-plastic trellis methods available! B

It sounds like you should use a stout wire, held out from the wall an inch or two. Wisteria is a heavy plant and trellis might not be strong enough. When it is established and more mature it can stay against a wall. For good ideas you could visit http://www.jakob.ch/729/

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