Climbing plants for clay soil
Climbing plants are perfect for adding vertical ascent, colour and interest on heavy, clay soils. They’re well suited for covering walls, fences, trellis, unsightly features or pergolas, especially in smaller gardens given they take up a small footprint of lateral space. Climbing plants have a natural tendancy to climb, scramble or ramble. Some will ‘twine’ up their support structure, wrapping their stems around it, whilst other ‘self-clinging’ climbers naturally adhere to the climbing surface using aerial roots or adhesive pads. The best climbers for heavy clay soils are honeysuckle (aka lonicera) and climbing hydrangeas.
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. The blooms are produced in hues of white, yellows, reds, oranges, pinks and purples with long stamens, contrasting beautifully with the lush foliage. Most varieties are deciduous with rich bronze new growth bringing additional colour and interest as they come into leaf in the spring.
Climbing hydrangeas are a valuable addition to any garden with beautiful, fragrant clusters of white, airy flowers above large deep green, serrated, heart-shaped leaves. They make an eye-catching choice for growing up walls, trees and pergolas, as well as being a brilliant ground cover plant for securing soil on slopes and inclines. Most varieties are relatively slower growing than other climbers, so whilst they can grow very large over time, they're relatively easy to keep in check if you prefer to restrict them to a smaller space.