Evergreen climbing plants are quite rare. Most of the climbing plants lose their foliage in autumn. With some plants, the leaf-free period is quite short, because the leaves stick for a long time, sometimes until the new shoots. However, the condition is usually a sufficiently moist soil.

Hardy evergreen climbing plants

Akebia, a very beautiful climbing plant, is one of these plants. Some honeysuckles apart from the evergreen also score points with the long adherence of the foliage. It usually only rots when the new leaves appear. The evergreen honeysuckle naturally bears its leaves year round, unless the winter is extremely harsh and dry. Then these plants sometimes also lose their leaves. This occurs especially at high altitudes. Kiwi and knotweed plants also belong to the group with late leaf shedding and early budding. The time when they are bare is quite short, depending on the winter you have to reckon with one to three months. Ivy is one of the really evergreen plants. There are a lot of varieties. Not all of them are sufficiently hardy for our Central European climate. Ivy is the ideal evergreen climbing plant,

Ivy – Hedera-helix

The ivy is the best known and most suitable evergreen climbing plant. It doesn’t matter whether you want to green walls and houses, need a privacy screen from your neighbors, want to green a dead tree, want to overgrown a large part of the garden that is in the shade, a fence, a pergola or similar, or or or. This plant is unbeatable in terms of versatility, growth performance and ease of care.

Ivy is a self-climber, which means that it does not necessarily need a climbing aid, because it can easily hold on with its adhesive roots. Over the years it forms dense tapestries that can take on huge dimensions and then become really heavy. Sometimes the weight is too great and the mass tears and falls. If left alone, the ivy can reach heights of 20 to 25 meters. Depending on the variety, it is able to grow up to 2 meters a year. Depending on how they are used, the adherent roots can become supply roots.

Ivy forms flowers after a certain age, but it takes many years (usually 10 to 20) until then. The flowers appear in September and October and are rather inconspicuous, but they look good in bulk. Small black berries will develop later, which should be consumed with caution. They are poisonous. Especially those who have children should be very careful!

Suitable ivy species for the home garden

Hedera colchica

  • Dentata – smooth green leaves, very large up to 20 cm wide, leaf veins lighter and easy to see, leaf shape similar to maple, climbs up to 10 meters, very good winter hardiness
  • Dentata Sulfur Heart – leaves green with yellow spots, heart-shaped, large leaves, veins somewhat lighter, yellow within the variegation, very good winter hardiness
  • Dentata Variegata – light green to gray-green leaves with a white or cream-colored edge, large, coarse leaves, leather-like, heart-shaped, in shady locations the edges are more yellowish, reaches heights of about 6 meters, very good winter hardiness

Hedera helix

  • Alt-Heidelberg – dark green leaves, looking like oak leaves, small leaves, almost no petiole, very compact growing, but rather slow-growing, good hardy for normal locations
  • Aureo Variegata – green-yellow variegated rather small leaves, well winter hardy for normal locations (is sometimes only recommended for protected regions), when used as a ground cover, excessive green or white leaves develop
  • Dealbata – small, glossy, dark green leaves partly with white speckles, partly also completely white, triangular leaf shape, rather slowly growing, forms low cushions, very hardy
  • Erecta – grows rather shrubby and very slowly, numerous small leaves that are strongly wavy and curled, dark green, leathery leaves, the leaf veins protrude, only suitable for low walls, very good winter hardiness even in rough locations
  • Green Ripple – dark green, shiny foliage, three- to five-lobed, heart-shaped, leathery, medium-sized, slightly shiny leaves, very good winter hardiness, although some descriptions only recommend wine-growing regions
  • Helvetica – normal green foliage, triangular and three-lobed, medium-sized, non-glossy leaves, in cool weather the leaves get dark, red-brown spots, veins light and easy to recognize, very good winter hardiness even in rough locations
  • Minor marmorata – dark green medium-sized leaves, young leaves with white speckles, often in geometric patterns and quite large, three-lobed leaves in an irregular triangular shape, very good winter hardiness even in rough locations
  • Modern Times – velvety green five-lobed leaves, young leaves apple green, pale leaf veins, suitable for low walls, good ground cover, very good winter hardiness even in rough locations
  • Pedata – bird’s foot ivy , dark green leaves with light-colored veins, very beautiful leaves, like the fingers of a hand spread wide apart, very hardy even in rough locations
  • Sagitfolia – three-lobed, dark green, medium-sized, slightly shiny leaf with lighter leaf veins, very good winter hardiness even in rough locations
  • Woerner – green foliage, medium-sized to large leaves, violet color in winter, almost white leaf veins, therefore easily visible, mostly five-lobed leaves, first bloom after about 10 years, height 3 to 4 meters, very good winter hardiness

Hederah hibernlca

  • Deltoidea – dark green, shield-shaped, three-lobed, medium-sized to large leaves, in cold weather the leaf color changes to dark purple-bronze to red, growing slowly and tightly upright, very good winter hardiness in normal locations, the sunnier and drier in summer, the harder it is
  • Aracena – dark green foliage with light veins, arrow-shaped, three-lobed leaves, remain green in winter, medium to strong growing, good winter hardiness in normal locations

Ivy – care

Ivy is usually very easy to care for. The right location is important and a good soil. Otherwise, the plants usually get along quite well on their own. Depending on where you want them to grow, a trellis makes sense. Even if the instincts have organs of attachment, they cannot hold on everywhere. A trellis can also protect against damage from the ivy roots. You can also specify the direction of growth.

  • Location – best in partial shade. But if you get the plant used to the sun from an early age, the plants will also feel good in full sun. But then the plant needs sufficient water, even in winter. A moderately warm place is ideal. Ivy is good for urban climates and has good wind resistance. The plant can live for hundreds of years.
  • Plant substrate – deep, calcareous soil with sufficient water supply, but by no means waterlogged, loamy sandy soil is ideal, loose, humus soil is usually sufficient.
  • Watering and fertilizing – once the ivy has grown, it usually does not need to be watered. There is also no need to fertilize. If the plant rolls up the leaves, it is a sign of a lack of water. This happens especially in winter.
  • Cutting – is usually essential to curb growth. Ivy grows slowly for the first few years, but then it literally explodes. The plants are easy to cut, preferably in spring or summer.

Evergreen Goat Leaf – Lonicera henryi

The evergreen honeysuckle is the best alternative to ivy. In very cold winters it can happen that the leaves fall off, which is usually due to the fact that the ground is frozen and the roots can no longer absorb water, but the plant usually sprouts reliably, very early in the year. Rolled up leaves are a sign of a lack of water. But this is a self-protection mechanism that keeps the plant alive. Evaporation is reduced so that the honeysuckle does not dry out.

Other honeysuckle species score with their great flowers, unfortunately this is not the case with the evergreen species. The flowers are rather inconspicuous, but the foliage stays on in winter and does not fall off, as with those with beautiful flowers. Flowering time is from June to August. Small blue-black berries develop later.

The evergreen honeysuckle is one of the best climbing plants for greening walls, fences and pergolas, but also covers wall crowns, pillars and is cheap as a slope greening. The twisting shoots (creeper) reach a height of up to 8 meters. A plant can grow up to 4.50 meters wide. Vertical fan and net shapes are suitable as a climbing aid. Cross elements and branches are beneficial, as they prevent slipping and promote a dense leaf wall.

The planting distance should therefore be around 2 meters. The evergreen honeysuckle grows between 30 and 60 cm per year, so it is not as fast-growing as the ivy. But there is no damage to the masonry, especially not if you use a trellis. The evergreen honeysuckle has no adherent roots, does not hold on to itself. It winds around the climbing aid. That is why many homeowners who want to green their wall prefer the honeysuckle. The house is spared.

  • Location – sunny, ideally partially shaded location, too much shade leads to the plant becoming severely bald from below. Shading the base of the trunk is advantageous. Too much sun can cause burns in winter.
  • Plant substrate – 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 possible without any problems. You cut in spring. The cut is used for thinning and for promoting branching. The carpet of leaves becomes thicker. If the plant becomes bald, usually starting from the bottom, a cut in the old wood is possible without any problems. The evergreen honeysuckle also tolerates very strong pruning.

Evergreen Loquat – Cotoneaster dammeri

The evergreen loquat is also called the loquat, which suggests it is better suited as a ground cover. Nonetheless, it can also green facades, as it forms hanging towers. One advantage is their abundant flowering. The flowers, which appear from May to June, are rather inconspicuous because they are very small, but small red berries appear as fruits and then look very good on the long, arching stems. The shoots are often very long and form real trails. The fruits last well into winter. They serve birds as food. The evergreen crawfish is an ideal embankment fastener. Even large slopes are tightly sealed and look really good.

During my research I read that the crawfish can grow up to a height of 15m, but I haven’t seen it yet.


Cotoneaster dammeri

  • Coral Beauty – up to 60 cm high, small dark green leaves and arching overhanging growth
  • Skogholm – up to 100 cm high, beautiful autumn colors, some of the leaves turn red, not curved
  • Radicans – only up to 20 cm high, ideal, flat ground cover or for overhanging, e.g. down a wall


  • Location – sunny, partially shaded or shady location, particularly many flowers and fruits appear in the sun, suitable for city climates
  • Plant substrate – undemanding, normal garden soil is sufficient, also compatible with lime
  • Watering and fertilizing – is not necessary. Extensive mulching is recommended in spring. This protects the plant from drying out.
  • Pruning – very easy on pruning, preferably in early spring, then the flower will not be lost

Anyone looking for an evergreen climbing plant cannot ignore ivy. Ivy is ideal for greening walls or for creating privacy fences. It doesn’t always have to be a dark green variety: There are many different leaf shapes and colors, some of them very beautiful leaves. You have to be careful with the hardiness of winter. Not all ivy varieties are sufficiently winter hardy, many only in an ideal and protected location. The roots of the climbing plant can also cause damage to masonry. The best alternative to ivy is the evergreen honeysuckle. Otherwise, the evergreen crawfish and the creeping spindle are also possible, but neither grow nearly as tall as ivy and honeysuckle. So it always depends on the type of use, which plant you choose.

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