Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on growing climbers in your garden | Garden | Life & Style


This is Britain’s most popular climber and there are hundreds of varieties to choose from.

For a good summer display, go for large-flowered hybrids or, if you want a clematis for small gardens or growing up obelisks in pots, try one of the compact varieties, such as the stripy, double pink “Josephine”, which reaches 8ft (2½ metres) high and has flowers like giant rosettes, or the 6ft (1¾ metres) tall “Crystal Fountain” with its single pinkish-mauve flowers.

Star jasmine

Trachelospermum asiaticum is a large evergreen climber that can reach 20ft (6 metres) high and flowers from July to August.

The propeller-shaped, pale cream single flowers have a strong scent and look particularly good grown on a pergola or trellis in a sheltered, sunny spot with acid soil or in a large tub of ericaceous compost.

Climbing roses

Many older varieties grow big, but for small gardens or a pillar at the back of a border try “Compassion”, a peachy-pink rose that produces masses of heavily scented flowers throughout the summer. It reaches about 10ft (3 metres) high, so coil the stems around upright poles or posts to maximise flowering. 

Several larger new English roses double as compact climbers when trained against trellises or walls – go for soft pink “Constance Spry”, bright pink “Gertrude Jekyll” or the yellow “Graham Thomas”.


Our native wild woodbine, Lonicera periclymenum, is noted for its scent, rather than its flowers, and is ideally grown over arches or gazebos where you can sit and inhale.

But if it’s glamour you are after, go for Lonicera brownii “Dropmore Scarlet”. It has striking, carmine-red flowers from June to October, but no fragrance. Honeysuckles grow best in sun or light shade. Avoid soils that have a tendency to dry out.

Trumpet vine

The incredibly showy Campsis is not for everyone, as it is large and needs a warm, sheltered spot in full sun and well-drained soil to flower well. 

In the right position, though, you…

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