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Trellis or Wire?

SamU90SamU90 Posts: 6

Hi there,

First post so not sure if this is in the right place etc. but hoping someone can help!

My boyfriend and I have bought our first house together and we are keen to put up a climbing plant on the wall of the garage that is unfortunate enough to be in the garden.

I have read that most climbers need a trellis for support and that the trellis should be sturdy as the plants can get heavy over the years. I have also been advised that attaching the trellis to strips of wood on the wall is also helpful to circulate air behind the leaves/flowers and to avoid diseases.

We are on a tight budget and therefore I was wondering if it was possible to attach wood to the walls and then just a wire mesh to that for the plants to grow on, or would that not be much support?

We are clueless so please if anyone could suggest anything that would be fab!!!

Sam image



  • BiljeBilje Posts: 711

    Hi Sam, suppose the question is what climber do you want to grow? And what is the position where it will be ie sunny or  shady. Do you want a long term plant or climbers from seeds you'd plant every year like sweet peas or nasturtiums. With a little more info I'm sure you'll get more specialist help.  

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,208

    You can do something else which is simpler and will let you cover the wall as pennies permit and growth requires.

    Buy some strong wire and a set of vine eyes from a good DIY store.  These are screw fixings with a stem and round eyes on the end through which you pass and stretch wires to which you loosely attach your climber.   You can buy tensioners which will stretch the wire taught or you can just pull it tight using a pair of pliers and then twist it to secure it.  Maybe add proper tensioners later.

    You need to set the wires horizontally on the wall and space them at 12" to 18" or 30 to 45cms apart going upwards.   You can then train the stems of a rose, clematis, honeysuckle or maybe a grape vine or blackberry depending on aspect and soil type.

    When you plant your climber, make its planting hole away from the base of the wall so its roots are not in a rain shadow and make sure you work in plenty of good quality garden compost or well rotted manure to improve the soil in and around the planting hole.  Keep your plant watered during its first year until the autumn rains arrive.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • SamU90SamU90 Posts: 6

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the responses!

    We want a flowering climber and maybe ivy, definitely an evergreen so there is something all year round. We have about 4metres in length and potentially 5metres in height to play with so maybe two varietys mixed would look nice? Also, the wall is South-West facing and gets quite considerable sunshie.

    Obelixx, I believe we saw Monty do this on an episode of gardeners world a few weeks ago? The reason I did not think that would be a viable option would be because there was no support? Or do the plants actually cling to the wall.

    I feel maybe I have asked the wrong question initially...

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,208

    It dépends on the plant.  Ivy and Virginia Creeper will cling directly to the wall and need no support.

    Clematis, roses, honeysuckle and so on will need to be trained to the wires.  Clematis will usually self cling once guided there but beware of integrifolias which do not self cling.  Honeysuckle can just be wound round the wires and will hang on by itself.  Roses will need tying in with string, wires or clips according to your preference.

    The wire system is very flexible as you can go as high and as wide as you need and it's also very unobtrusive.  I use it on the front of our house to support a Kiftsgate rose which covers the wall but not the windows.   As the rose gets bigger we just add a line of wire above the last one.   This winter has been so mild the rose has kept most of its leaves and the hips have added to its attractiveness.



    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • SamU90SamU90 Posts: 6

    Thank you this has helped a lot actually, especially regarding your roses. I was under the impression you had to have the entire wiring system up from the word go.

    I've just been onto one of the DIY store websites and looked at the wire/vine eyes and you're right, it is so much cheaper than if you were to buy a wooden trellice!

    I think perhaps we should have decided what climber we wanted before I posted this... although I am sure we will be getting a Clematis as well as an Ivy. Which now leads me to ask, does a Clematis only grow (i.e. wrap itself around the wire) or will it spread out like an Ivy? If that makes sense..

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,208

    Clematis have different vigour and sizes depending on variety.   Have a look at this site which allows you to select on colour, flowering time, aspect etc -

    They do need guiding onto their supports but will then cling with their own tendrils.   you just need to go out once a week in spring and help it along as the new shoots grow and spread.   Training any flowering climber as horizontally as possible will encourage more flowers.

    If you do go for ivy, choose one with cream or golden variegation or it will look very dark and dull.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • SamU90SamU90 Posts: 6

    Thank you so much for your help! image Will be sure to consider all of the above!

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,289

    Good advice from obelixx Sam. I've just put trellis onto the horrible fence here and have several Clematis which are getting established. When the rain goes off I'll get a pic to let you see. Get some soft string from a Garden Centre/Supermarket/DIY place for tying in the  shoots initially as they can be quite fragile.  I'd second that about the variegated ivy too. I have one called Gloire de Marengo which is a nice colour - cream and green-  and Sulphur Heart is also nice. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • SamU90SamU90 Posts: 6

    Hi Fairygirl, I would love to see a picture of your trellis/Clematis so I can see what the early stages look like. Yes I agree, I wouldn't want to make the wall look too dark and dull!

    I actually quite like the idea of getting an Ivy that does this in autumn but not sure what kind it is:

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,208

    That'd be Boston Ivy or Virginia Creeper which are deciduous.  Boston Ivy prduces dark berries which are good for birds but poisonous to people and pets.  Both plants produce amazing autumn colour but just for a few weeks and then they are bare till spring.

    I'd stick with variegated ivy which, when mature, produces flowers and berries taht are good for insects and birds in turn.  The tangle of stems and foliage also provides shletre for insects and birds will nest in it too so it's very wildlife friendly.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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