December 19, 2015
I’m always amazed at the ability of rock climbers to scurry up the side of a mountain. But just as amazing are some of the climbing plants that we can grow in our gardens. Evergreen wisteria, also known as Millettia reticulata, is a great climbing plant. This wisteria is well-behaved; not as aggressive and invasive as our native wisteria. But the flowers are very similar to the showy, purple wild varieties. This plant will mature gracefully, and develop interesting, yet beautiful, twisted an gnarly trunks. Many climbing plants require an arbor, like the popular and easy to grow Lady Banks Rose. This is a vigorous evergreen rose that is covered with beautiful double yellow flowers in the spring. Another climbing vine that deserves to be grown by more gardeners is the black-eyed Susan vine, known botanically as Thunbergia alata. These are not related to our garden variety black eyed Susans, but have similar flowering traits of a dark center surrounded by colorful petals. This annual plant starts out small, but it grows fast and readily scampers eight feet up a trellis. A very interesting and vigorous climbing plant is purple hyacinth bean. This annual displays gorgeous purplish flowers and interesting reddish pods through the fall season. So if you want to bring your plants to new heights, put some climbing plants in your garden. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I HOPE I see you next time on Southern Gardening.