Last updated on January 21st, 2020
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If you have a small space in your garden or perhaps live on a slope that is untenable as far as gardening is concerned containers might be your only option. Thankfully there are many plants that you can grow in pots including climbers.
Best climbers for containers
The best climbers for containers are those that thrive well in the smaller setting of a container and will still reach maturity. For many of the plants listed below the dwarf varieties are best suited for pots and many are perfect for pots as they not as vigorous and don’t get too large.
Below we look at 10 of our favourite climbers we love to grow in pots and containers starting with winter Jasmine with its impressive winter show of yellow flowers.
Jasminum nudiflorum (winter jasmine)
Winter Jasmine is a vining shrub that produces yellow flowers long before you see any leaves unfurl. The bright green stems with the lemon yellow flowers are perfect for bringing any type of colour to an otherwise mundane winter landscape.
The winter Jasmine requires regular watering more so if you’re experiencing a somewhat warmer mild winter. If you have a support structure in place such as a trellis it will grow significantly taller because it will have the structure up which to climb.
As the name suggests this particular variety offers flowers in the winter before the beautiful leaves show up later in the season. It is perfect for mass planting particularly in containers used to offset an otherwise boring winter garden.
As a deciduous shrub that climbs you will enjoy fragrant flowers that take on a star shape in tones of red or pink. This particular variety commonly known as red Jasmine prefers rich soil and is a vigorous, semi-evergreen climber that is so strong it can withstand a typical frost. So, if you live in a colder area it is perfect for containers.
When you choose the location for the containers in which you will plant your flowers, try to find an area that is sheltered from severe winds not necessarily for the sake of the plant but so that the heavy sent it offers doesn’t get whisked away. The plant grows well in full sun or partial with moist, well-drained soil. It will reach a spread of 3m wide and up to 4.5 m tall.
Passiflora caerulea (Passion Flower)
Exotic in their appearance the passion flowers are the quintessential tropical plant and yet they can be grown pretty much anywhere and are much hardier than they look. This species is a climbing vine that has the same exotic flowers with the wide, flat base and the additional petals on top in the circle shape all offset by the brightly-coloured stamens. Passion flowers require full sun to partial shade with rich, moist soil but are one of the easier climbers to grow and are self-clinging with no pruning needed.
Given that they are put into containers you won’t have to worry so much about the soil pH none the less they are able to withstand slightly alkaline, acidic, or neutral soil. In terms of the colours you can achieve with the flowers there’s almost no limit. You can enjoy blue, purple, red, pink, or white but the Passiflora caerulea pictured above is probably the most hardy as some varieties are tender in comparison.
These particular plants are heavy feeders so they will benefit from an all-purpose fertiliser as soon as new growth starts to emerge in the spring and then every four or six weeks until the beginning of autumn. Other than that they are incredibly low maintenance and require no deadheading or pruning.
Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine)
Star jasmine is a beautiful vine which is well known for its fragrance, star-shaped flowers. Those flowers are offset by a thick blanket of rich green foliage. These are best when planted in containers for frost-free areas so that they can be trained up walls or trellises. If you plant them near a patio or a terrace you can enjoy the beautiful fragrance they have when you are outside.
For colder areas, this is the perfect summer container plant. These require partial to full sun and weekly watering. They grow very fast and bloom from spring through summer. They are ideally suited for rustic or Cottage gardens. They can be a little tender so are best placed in a sheltered position.
In order to create an enhanced space offset by larger blooms, this early large-flowered clematis is the perfect addition to your home. The flowers are compact and raspberry pink spanning up to 20cm across. They have a beautiful exterior of white lined with a rich pink stripe up the centre. As the flowers open they become flat like saucers and you will get to enjoy two waves of flowering one of which comes at the end of spring and another that comes at the beginning of autumn.
Perfect for containers this clematis can be deadheaded after the first wave to promote more growth. It will grow very quickly though and as a climber it is best to give it something up which to climb. This variety will do well throughout the season if left unpruned and then hard pruned every 3 years at the end of winter as you do with all group 3 clematis.
Clematis florida Sieboldiana
The clematis is well known as a deciduous vine but this particular variety is one that has some of the most uniquely beautiful flowers. When in full bloom you will enjoy 6 beautiful petals in the centre of which is a rich purple stamen with a green centre that draws the eye.
The flowers produced span between 7 and 10 centimetres across and they will produce the main flush at the end of spring and beginning of Summer and then rebloom sporadically well into fall. It is truly one of the most beautiful clematis for containers. It thrives in full sun in order to generate better blooms so if at all possible you want to keep the container with the roots cool but the top of the plant in the Sun. It can grow very fast if given the right conditions and will reach between 180 and 240cm so make sure that you have the space to support such growth when you put your containers in the garden.
This plant can be a bit more challenging to grow well if there’s a fluctuation in weather and since it is part of the second group of clematis that means it flowers in the early summer on the short shoots that develop on the growth from the previous season and then again in the Autumn on the growth from the current season so you need to prune it at the end of winter before either of the flowering sessions begin.
Miniature Climbing rose Lavender lassie
This is a fragrant miniature climbing rose that produces semi-double, pink flowers and can grow up to 2.5m tall and wide. This is better suited for large containers and as a hybrid it is much more tolerant of shade than other roses. As a result, it is a better climber for pots in back gardens, on porches, or decks that may not get daily sunlight.
It requires moist, well-drained soil and good circulation. It is important that once you plant in any size container you remove fallen leaves from the base of that container to help prevent diseases.
You should regularly prune it on a light basis or prune it back by up to 1/3 its size annually. This particular rose can be propagated, with softwood cuttings in the spring or hardwood cuttings in the fall so once you have one thriving plant you can use it to create a collection in your garden.
Wisteria amethyst falls
Ideally suited for smaller spaces, this twining vine grows at a third of the rate of regular Wisteria which means it will bloom at a very early age and provide you with purple flowers that gracefully sweep down word and continue to grow slowly but surely thereafter. They are perfect for small patios or porches and will train quite well up a trellis or an arbour but if left alone can be crafted into a small, free-standing tree.
This deciduous plant requires partial to full sun and weekly watering. The average size for the stems can reach up to 2 m long at full maturity but this can obviously be pruned back to fit your garden. The foliage is green juxtaposed by fragrant, purple flowers that repeatedly flower throughout the season. They start with the heaviest blooming in late spring and repeat again lightly during the summer.
These are very exotic-looking perennial climbers that produce heart-shaped leaves and pendant flowers in bright fuchsia. They will produce in succession starting at the end of spring and going through the remainder of the season.
There are bright bell-shaped calyces and then purple petal tubes that hang from those. After pollination, the tubes fall away but you get to enjoy the sepals thereafter. These will reach 7cm and will successfully coil around any support structure you use.
They are a free-flowering vine that requires very little care and can be grown outdoor successfully in containers but need cutting back in autumn and keeping in greenhouse or conservatory over winter as they are tender.
They are generally disease-free and require morning sunlight but afternoon shade. They thrive in moist, well-drained soil or shrub compost if growing in pots. If you plant them in pots or containers be sure to give them a trellis, pergola, or wall up which to climb. They will do well with acidic, neutral, or alkaline soil and will reach a height of up to 3m and a spread between 30 and 60 centimetres each season.
Thunbergia alata (Black-eyed Susan Climber)
Black-eyed Susans are a very popular wildflower, part of the sunflower family. They get their name from the dark purple, brown centre they have surrounded by daisy-like yellow petals. These attract a variety of insects including bees and butterflies for their nectar and will produce stunning flowers from June through October. Black-eyed Susans tend to be quite territorial which means they will interfere with any other flowers attempting to grow near them which actually makes them ideally suited for pots because there won’t be any competition.
When you plant these they need moist, well-drained soil and they prefer full sun but will develop just fine in partial sun. Be cognizant of where you want to put the pots or containers you are using especially if you are going to grow in a large container that might become too heavy to move once it has been filled. Black-eyed Susans can reach up to 1m in height and spread up to 30cm across so plant them closer together to prevent them from spreading too far in the container or plant them farther apart if you are using a long container and want the black-eyed Susans to create a border.
These do need regular watering so that they don’t dry out and you can deadhead after the first flowering to enjoy a second flowering later in autumn. It is a tender perennial so you will need to bring it into a warm conservatory or greenhouse over winter, failing that you can replace them every spring and treat them as an annual as they are fairly quickly growing anyway.