The classic climbing plants are roses and clematis. Unfortunately these are not evergreen. In winter their beauty is gone. Evergreen climbing plants are rather rare. The classic is ivy, but not all types of ivy are hardy. You have to be careful when choosing. In addition, the fruits of the plant are poisonous. Who small children should choose another plant. An alternative is the evergreen honeysuckle. Evergreen creeper and evergreen creeper aren’t bad climbers either, but they don’t reach the proportions of the other climbers. They are intended more for base areas.

Leaf density is crucial

Most climbing plants are only deciduous. Theoretically, there are some evergreen climbing plants, but the leaves usually only stick in mild winters. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on the weather. Thus, these plants usually do not achieve the leaf density of really evergreens. Many evergreen plants save their foliage more or less well over several months and sometimes the loss of leaves is not great at all because the withered leaves stick and the fresh ones simply grow over them. So to speak, leaf fall and new growth merge seamlessly.

Ivy – Hedera helix

The ivy is the classic evergreen climbing plant par excellence. It is ideal for facade greening, as it can cling to walls very well with its adhesive roots. Also, most ivy species are reliably evergreen, at least into zone 6a and up.

Our native wild form Hedera helix is ​​best suited. It is a good climber, very hardy and a reliable evergreen. Hedera helix ‘Woerner’ is particularly recommended. It is extremely frost-resistant and climbs and adheres excellently. Hedere colchica also climbs well, but it lacks winter hardiness. He needs a good location. In addition, its adhesive roots are not well developed. The same goes for the popular Irish ivy, Hedera helix ‘Hibernica’. Although it is particularly fast-growing, it often cannot hold its own. Its adhesive roots are rather weak.

Ivy does not necessarily have to green a facade. It also forms dense roofs on a pergola, is ideal as a privacy screen if it can green a fence, covers dead trees and can do much more. In total there are about 700 ivy varieties. The best known are: Hedera helix – small-leaved, Hedera colchica – large-leaved and Hedera hibernica. The varieties are often distinguished by the color of their leaves, from light to dark green. Varieties with variegated foliage are usually not as hardy as common ivy. There are brightly flamed or bordered leaves. The flowers are usually inconspicuous, yellowish green. They are umbels of flowers. Flowering lasts from September to October. The fruits, pea-sized black berries, ripen the following year and are poisonous.

Hedera helix is ​​the fastest growing species. It reaches heights of up to 25 meters. The annual increase is about 2 meters and more. One plant can cover an area of ​​500 m². That is often overestimated. If you don’t have that much space, you should rather plant a Hedera colchica variety.

  • Location – a north to west oriented facade is ideal
  • Plant substrate – very adaptable, likes loose, slightly moist substrate, no soil compaction, no acidic soil,
  • Watering and fertilizing – ivy does not like prolonged drought, must be watered even in winter when it is dry, because it evaporates a lot of water
  • Pruning – is easily possible and usually necessary to curb plant growth.
  • Climbing aids – definitely recommended for heights over 10 meters. A fall protection prevents entire areas of the ivy carpet from coming off because the weight is simply too high. The plaster also comes off. In general, a climbing frame is recommended from the start so that the plant does not grow in cracks and joints and damage the building fabric. Ivy can do great damage to a home.
  • Removal of ivy – is often difficult. The adhesive roots usually remain on the masonry. The only thing that helps here is flaming and replastering and painting.

Evergreen Goat Leaf – Lonicera henryi

Evergreen honeysuckle is the best alternative to ivy. Although the leaves can fall off in very cold winters, which is usually because the ground is frozen and the roots can no longer absorb water, the plant usually sprout again reliably, very early in the year. A sign of a lack of water is curled leaves. But this is a self-protection mechanism that keeps the plant alive. Evaporation is reduced to keep the honeysuckle from drying out.

The yellow-red flowers of the evergreen honeysuckle appear from June to August and are rather inconspicuous. Small, round, blue-black berries appear later.

The evergreen honeysuckle is one of the best climbing plants for the greening of walls, fences and pergolas, but it also covers the tops of walls, columns and is favorable as a slope greening. The twining shoots can reach a height of up to 8 meters. A plant can grow up to 4.50 meters wide. The planting distance should therefore be about 2 meters. The evergreen honeysuckle grows between 30 and 60 cm per year, so it is not as vigorous as the ivy.

Freshly planted honeysuckles should receive winter protection for the first year. The plant is often infested with lice and should therefore be checked regularly for infestation. Normally it is sufficient to wash away the pests with a powerful jet of water. Chemicals only have to be used in exceptional cases.

  • Location – sunny, preferably semi-shady location, too much shade causes the plant to bare from below. Shading the base of the trunk is advantageous. There is a risk of burns if there is too much sun in winter.
  • Planting medium – nutrient-rich, fresh to moist soil
  • Watering and fertilizing – sufficient water and nutrients are important so that a dense wall of leaves can form.
  • Cut – a cut is easily possible. You cut in the spring. The cut serves to thin out and promote branching. The carpet of leaves becomes thicker. If the plant is bare, usually starting from the bottom, you can cut into the old wood without any problems. The evergreen honeysuckle also tolerates a very strong pruning.
  • Vines – Evergreen honeysuckle is a vine. The plant is moderately vigorous. Vertical compartments or net-shaped aids are suitable as climbing frames. Transverse elements and branches are important because they counteract slipping. This ensures a dense, closed wall of leaves.

Evergreen Purple Creeper – Euonymus fortunei

The evergreen purple creeper is a rather weak plant. Like most varieties of this species, it is hardy. It is also well suited for greening wall bases, for example if you want to cover structural damage. You can also hide other lower walls or “dirt corners” in the garden behind them.

There are several creeping spindle varieties, this one has particularly beautiful foliage. In summer it is light green and very dense. In autumn, a change in color begins, the foliage becomes redder. By winter the color has changed to crimson. The leaves have a strong luminosity. The plant grows to about 40 to 60 cm in height and about twice as wide, but does not grow strongly and not very quickly. However, the carpet of leaves is very dense. When they come into contact with the ground, new roots form there. That is why the creep spindle is also well suited for slope stabilization. However, she also uses every opportunity to use her clinging roots. It climbs up walls with ease. However, it only manages 20 cm of height growth per year.

The flowers are inconspicuous and only appear on older plants. The flowering period is from May to July. After flowering, small reddish fruits are formed. Euobymus fortunei is very robust and almost as hardy as ivy. If you cultivate the plant in the tub, you have to pack it well in winter. The temperature in the bucket should not fall below -5 °C.

Evergreen Climbing Spindle – Euonymus fortunei radicans

This plant is an undemanding and adaptable self-climber that can push itself up a wall or wall 2 meters and more. Its leaves turn orange-red to brown-red in autumn. Annual growth here is 20 to 30 cm. The adhesive roots are quite shallow. The winter hardiness is good, the plant easily withstands temperatures down to -25 °C.

  • Location – full sun to semi-shade to shade, also suitable for more shaded areas, eg a north face
  • Planting medium – very adaptable, but sufficient moisture is important. No soil compaction! A sandy, humus-rich soil is favourable
  • Watering and fertilizing – the plant does not like long droughts, especially when it is hot. If there is a lack of water, leaves may drop in autumn.
  • Cut – well tolerated by cuts. You can cut two or three times a year. The more you cut, the better the plant will branch out and the thicker the carpet will be. The best time for pruning is in spring and between May and August.
  • climbing aids -. Due to the adhesive roots and the low height of the creeping spindle, no trellis is necessary in most cases. If you cultivate the plant in a bucket and want to use it as a privacy screen, then a framework for tendrils should be provided. For walls, it has proven useful to attach the long shoots with modeling wax. Caution, the shoots also grow in joints!

There are a lot of beautiful climbing plants. They usually convince with great flowers and beautiful leaves, but they all have one disadvantage: in winter their beauty is gone. Evergreen climbing plants that can withstand our Central European winters, on the other hand, are rare. Site conditions must be considered when choosing an evergreen climber. Plants only thrive where they feel good.

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