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Green plants to cover fence


I’m looking for some plant ideas to cover a north facing fence. Ideally two or 3 varieties to break up the fence and provide a nice backdrop to flowers in front. Being short on space I’m ideally looking for plants that aren’t too bushy/deep. 

I’ve come up with a design idea and there is an existing thread in the garden design section here...

I thought I’d ask in the plants section too as it’s more plant related than design. 

Any ideas very welcome. 

Many thanks. 



  • Clematis alpina varieties flower happily on a northfacing fence. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    And colourful ivy, too.
  • Yes I was looking at some ivy variants, that could be a nice option with maybe something else in between?
  • newbie77newbie77 Posts: 1,722
    You have come up with very beautiful design. How deep are the borders in front of fence? Do you really want to cover all of the fence? A hedge or ivy or any evergreen climbers will cover it but everything is two dimensional and will also take up space from your border and nutrients and water too.

    What if you paint the fence say dark green, have couple of trellis to plant group 3 clematis and climbing rose, jasmine etc at different places and use all of the border for plants. Put some evergreen shrubs dotted around in border for keeping interest in winter. Some of those everygreen (for example nandina domestica) will grow tall over time to break up the fence line as well. 

    South West London
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    You might have trouble with jasmine and roses on a shady fence. A good design is great but nature is nature and some plants need good light. Rose expert @Malorena will tell you about roses that could work.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,236
    Marlorena recommended Rosa 'Alfred Carriere' for my N. fence. I might have to accept it might get a bit 'bushy/deep' though.

    If you're not in a cold windy spot, Trachelospermum jasminiodes would be a potential choice. Seems to take way more shade than you'd expect.
  • Thanks everyone,

    Border size wise, well it's a blank canvas so anything within reason can be done but I did want to keep a little grass so a little constrained. 

    I'm thinking about roses for the sunnier parts of the garden, I'll have a look at some of the other plants that were suggested.

  • BiljeBilje Posts: 740
    Can I advise, from personal experience, against Ivy. We had Clematis Montana and Ivy but as the years went on it became an impenetrable mess. Went up and over the six feet high fence and the weight started to pull the fence over. Which we had cleared and replaced.
    A climber I really enjoy is the Golden Hop. It's a bright cheery  lime green and here inthe NE it does produce hops. It dies back in winter and that allows for fence maintenance. I also have a Clematis Vitichella ( not the correct spelling) variety Polish Spirit. I cut this back to about 18 inches in late winter.
    both plants cover a good area. 
  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    Posy said:
    And colourful ivy, too.
    Ivy is a strange one for me. I've got loads of ivy and it seems to prefer crawling around the ground and up trees, but for some reason it avoids the fence!
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    It depends what variety you buy. We have one with big leathery leaves, splashed with gold. Good in a shady area. But they do have to be tied in, cut back and managed like any other climber.
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