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Best support for growing clematis to cover wooden fence

I would like some help with support for my climbing plants. I have got 2 Clematis Montana Rubens and 2 Honeysuckle Copper Beauty which were all planted in November 2013 (last year). At the time, I had no knowledge whatsoever of gardening and got a gardener in to set the plants up. He set up wire supports (using vine eyes) against the wooden fence for the plants to grow and attach to. However, I reckon they are spaced too far apart (about 45cm each) because all four plants have formed patterns that look a lot like cat’s cradle. Certainly not the look that I was after.

What I want is complete coverage of the fence which I doubt will happen with the widely spaced wire supports. I have decided to start all over again but this time do it properly so I figure wire/plastic mesh is the way to go. Can anyone provide me with any visual help of how to set up mesh against a wooden fence? I am tempted to just attach them to the fence using u-nails/staples but my knowledge of physics makes me think it is a bad idea. I would be grateful for suggestions ASAP as I would like to set up the mesh and plant out the replacement climbers before the weather turns.



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,631

    45cms spacing isthe correct distance for training wires but you do actually have to intervene with clematis and honeysuckle and train them along the wires.   Otherwise you end up with a cat's cradle.   Just putting up a mesh won't help and may make it look worse as it'll be more difficult for you to manipulate stems.

    If you really must, add extra lines of wire between the ones you already have and then in spring, cut the honeysuckle back so you can train new growtha s you want it.  Leave the clematis till after it has flwoered as this variety flowers on old wood then cut back as much as you need in order to tidy it up.  

    Give all of them a good feed in spring when new growth starts and they should do well but remember you need to referee the new growth on a regular basis.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,025

    I aBsolutely agree with everything Obelixx has said above. And it should be borne in mind that climbers on fences will not look beautifully organised like the ones in some gardening catalogues - they have been primped, coiffed and airbrushed for the photo shoot, just like the models image

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

  • Also see my reply on your other thread - I agree with the above.

  • HacksHacks Posts: 6

    I have quite a few clematis and a couple of honeysuckles all on wooden fences. I have found that the expanding wooden trellis you can get from places like B&Q works really well when screwed to the fence, the plants can then do as they will with a bit of guidance from you. 


  • LesleyKLesleyK Posts: 4,029

    Landgirl I expect OP thought she had posted under the wrong topic and tried again.image.  Agree with the primp, airbrush comment Dove.  My Mum thought she could have a border exactly like the cover of 'The Expert' book.image

  • Thanks for all your useful responses. I did think I had posted my question in the wrong section so I posted it again on what I felt might be the right one. Apologies for the confusion.

    I did tie them in along the wires but they seem to just grow straight along the wires with big gaps in between each row hence the cat cradle effect. Whereas, what I was hoping for was growth upward and sideways. There are some branch offshoots along the horizontal branches but these are waving around in the air which I assumed was because the wires are too far apart for them to attach to the next level wire.

  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..when I put up wire supports for these things I make a grid type framework using both vertical and horizontal wiring, rather like a crossword puzzle....however, with 2 montanas and 2 honeysuckles... eventually these are just going to be doing their own thing regardless of any help from us... in fact I might panic a little at the prospect of having to manage these... they will soon take over your fence, flop down the other side...and intermingle and mangle amongst themselves... but look jolly nice for it... I wouldn't worry about it too much to be honest,... the work comes later when you try to keep them under some sort of control...

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,631

    I think maybe you're are being impatient Lola.  If the've only been in one year they haven't really had time to put on lots of growth.  I sugegst you tie or twist in any growth that's long enough so it doesn't get blown about during autumn and winter gales.

    Next spring, feed the cleatis with proprietary clematis food which is available in good garden centres and will release nutrients slowly that encourage flowers.  For an instant tonic, give all the plants a dose of liquid rose or tomato fertiliser then stand back and admire but keep an eye on new shoots and train them in as they get long enough.

    If you like, you can make a zig-zag frame by winding extra wire up and down at 45° between the horizontal wires so that tieing in is easier but do this now or at least before new growth starts in spring.   I wouldn't use expandable trellis as honeysuckle and clematis montana are all very vigorous and will soon prove too heavy for it.


    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Cherry3Cherry3 Posts: 35

    I use staple gun to attach mesh but have problem of little growth on honeysuckle & clematis[ they have sun all day nut are behind a bushy lavatera & delphiniums---will these be blocking the light too much?

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,631

    When were they planted, how deep, and what kind of soil do you have - clay, stony, sandy, well drained, moist, acid or alkaline.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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