Climbing plants for chalky soil
Chalky soils are free draining, alkaline and tend to be lower in nutrients than neutral, loamy soils. Chalks soils normally dry out more quickly during periods of dry weather (unless there is also clay present) and may contain visible lumps of white stone. We normally recommend choosing plants suitable for growing on chalk with an alkaline soil pH, rather than trying to change it. Any artificial change in pH will only be temporary, although some natural soil improvement with organic matter will always serve your plants well. Generally speaking, chalky soils are best suited to plants that like sharp drainage and are not too greedy in terms of nutrient requirements. The best climbers for alkaline soils are actinidia, akebia, clematis, grape vines, ivy, jasmine, honeysuckle and virginia creeper.
Clematis is one of the most popular climbing plants, well-known for producing masses of distinctive flowers available in a broad palette of colours. They come in a variety of different shapes and sizes from vast, vigorous varieties to compact climbers, with a mix of evergreen and deciduous types. Climbing jasmine produce stunning, sweetly-scented tubular flowers and make an attractive, twining climber for a sheltered sunny wall, fence, trellis or archway. Honeysuckle, also known as lonicera, is the classic twining climber of the cottage garden with highly ornamental, large cartwheel-shaped flower heads consisting of wonderful, tubular individual flowers each exuding a sweet fragrance. Virginia creepers are a good choice if you’re looking for something vigorous that can cover a large area in a short space of time.