How to space climbers

Hi all

I've found no shortage of information about the amount of space to leave between a climber and its support/wall/fence etc., but little about how to space climbers from one another.  I'm planting along two 12m fences, so lots to cover!

As a rule of thumb, should I look at the maximum spread of a plant and leave that much space between it and the next plant?  For example, if the maximum spread of a climber is 3m, should I leave 1.5m either side of the plant, or can I plant them closer together than that?

At the moment I plan to plant a selection of clematis, akebia, honeysuckle, choosing specific ones to match the conditions (one of the fences faces north, the other south).

Thank you.  Sorry if this is a stupid question but I am a rank amateur where gardening is concerened....


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Not a stupid question at all pariate image

    In theory you would look at the ultimate spread of the plant as you say, but I'd reckon most of us here probably don't do that! It also depends on when each plant flowers - you may want a succession of flowering so, for example, you might put two clematis which flower at different times quite closely together so that the same space is covered for a longer period of time.  Like shrubs - or any other plant -  the conditions in your garden can affect the ultimate size as well, so you need to consider that as well. What grows like mad in one part of the country could be well behaved in another. I tend to plant closer than is probably ideal, but I always reckon I can prune back a little, or just remove something if it gets too big for the area it's in. Just remember that the closer you plant, the more quickly nutrients will be taken up, so you will probably need to feed more often.

    Not sure I actually  helped you much there! image

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,356

    Not sure about the others but clematis need a deep hole but it can be quite narrow.  I dig mine at least 2 feet deep with a border spade and fill with homemade compost. Many of my large-flowered clematis are only planted 15" apart and they do fine.  Very vigorous species like Montana would need a lot more space though.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Okay, thank you both.  As I said before, I worried that this was a really stupid question and showed me up for being the newbie that I am, but it's so hard to find any real guidance on this subject!

    I'll take your advice and will plant a little closer than the projected maximum spread, trying to take habit, vigour and other factors into consideration.

    The tip on feeding closer-grouped plants more regularly will be helpful, thank you image  I guess it's going to be trial and error.  We learn by our mistakes, right?!  If I plant things a little too closely and have to space things out at a later date then I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  Wish me luck!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Good luck pariate! image

    As you say - we all make mistakes and we're always learning - I'm sure even really knowledgeable people like Bob will agree with that.

    Sometimes we plant things thinking they're going to look tremendous (and they should)  but one plant just doesn't deliver in some way so we have to change it. I doubt if any gardener hasn't done that at some point!

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,356

    Absolutely - I make new mistakes all of the time!  As one gains experience all it really means is that we have a larger number of past mistakes which we (hopefully) can remember in order to avoid repeating them in the future! image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Bob image

    But as we get older our memories get worse - so now I forget all the things I should remember.... image

  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..this isn't something to be too worried about pariate, but at this stage, I would plant each one 6 foot apart.. the reason being that, later on, when you get as obsessed as the rest of us, you will want to infill those gaps, [there's always room for another Clematis is the usual saying]... and you will have plenty of space to do just that...when you go visiting Garden Centre's and suchlike and see all those lovely climbers you really would like to have... you know...?

    ..the late Geoff Hamilton from Gardener's World used to plant a climbing rose and a Clematis in the same hole.... now, I wouldn't do that myself.. but there you go... it's surprising what you can get away with...

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