Can i grow clematis in a trough?

O OsborneO Osborne Posts: 10

I have a small roof terrace where i would like to create a foliage screen for privacy.

People have suggested clematis as a good choice as it climbs well.

I am planning to buy the two troughs below

150cm x 15cm x 17cm  to be placed against a fence of about 1m heigh on top of which a trelllis that will hopefull have the clematis climbing all over to create the screen.

My main question is will a trough like this be adequate to house a plant that will grow to 2m

Are clematis indeed the right plant, and what sort of spacing between each plant

Im a complete novice so any advice would be much appreciated!

thanks in advance



  • This should be ok. I would try it and if after a few years the clematis gets too big for its boots (so to speak), then transplant it. Just don't go for the smallest trough, but one of the deeper, wider ones (and make sure it has good drainage).

  • Gold1locksGold1locks Posts: 499

    A six inch deep trough does sound very shallow for a clematis. The roots like a deep cool root run. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Agree with Gold1locks. I'd suggest a  taller planter, maybe 40-60 cms,(wouldn't have to be very wide) would be best as it would have the depth for the root system clematis would need. image

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,145

    I would think those are far too narrow and shallow for clematis but you could grow one in 6° to 70cms deep and wide pot.   Clematis are very greedy plants that like a deep root run and plenty of food and water in good quality compost.

    Clematis also look pretty drab for 6 months of the year unless you go for an evergreen and they tend to get bigger than the 2m you want.    Why not consider a screen of tall grasses such as miscanthus n big pots?   They'll provide a screen and movement in the breeze and seeds for birds in autumn.  You could add verbena bonariensis to the pots to give small purple flowers that are very attractive to insects such as butterflies and are held on light airy stems.   Bronze fennel would also add contrast and attract insects and be tall enough to provide a screen.

    If you do want a climber, think about veriegated ivy which will look good all year or else something like sweet peas traine dup a trellis.  They'll give you flowers and perfume for months but you'd have to plant new ones each year and keep picking the flowers to make them produce more.


    The Vendée, France
  • O OsborneO Osborne Posts: 10

    thanks for the advice guys

    so the fact that it is nice long trough wont really help , it needs to be deep?


    my trouble is that on a roof terrace weight is a consideration, are there other suitable climbers that would be happy in a trough of 150cm x 15cm(w) x 17cm(d)




  • Love obelixx suggestion of grasses & verbena. Think I will try that. Thank you
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,145

    See my last para. Variegated ivy or sweet peas, althoughth latter will want deper troughs and good food to keep them going.   

    You can reduce weight, and water loss, by using plastic containers which now come in vibrant colours or terracotta look alikes or subtle greys and greens depending on what you fancy.   Use wine corks or polystyrene packaing chips as crocks to help with the drainage and use a 50:50 mix of multi purpose and John Innes no 3 soil based compost to reduce soil weight but maintain feed and drainage and water retention capacity.

    The Vendée, France
  • O OsborneO Osborne Posts: 10

    Thanks all again

    so Ivy and sweet peas are the way to go.

    What sort of height could i expect to achieve in the troughs i initially posted?

    What happens when ivy out grows its pot does it die?

    lastly what sort of spacing should i use?

    thanks for your help!

  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    There is a variety that you can grow in hanging baskets now which would suit better.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,145

    Ivy can last for years in a pot as long as you remember to supply food and water.  It's evergreen so make sure you choose one you like.  I think the creamy variegations are easier on the eye and makea better background for other plants.    You would only need one per torugh but then need to give them time to grow.    Ivy eventually covers walls and trees if left to grow so should manage a trellis panel easily enough in time.

    For sweet peas, I plant mine 6" apart in good, fertile soil.  You oculd do the same in your troughs but remember all the food and water is cooming from you so you must do it regularly.

    The Vendée, France
  • You can, of course, use water retaining granules to help prevent such a shallow pot from drying out and also slow-release fertilisers, though you'll still need to water very regularly and top-dress the pots annually. Ivy is virtually indestructible, but it will grow faster and better if it is well-looked after.

  • Angie12Angie12 Posts: 1

    Would a bamboo work.  I think you can get various varieties and evergreen ones but I was wondering if they can be pinched out to the height you want. 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,029

    I'd start a new thread about the bamboos Angie. This is a very old one and won't attract people who know about bamboo.

    That's not me, but I do know they're not plants to reduce in height, you need to get one that's the height you want

  • Ryan LloydRyan Lloyd Posts: 391

    Now I know why my Clematis montana hasn't flowered, or looks like it's going to flower this year. It's in a 6" deep trough thats 6" wide and about a metre long. I've also put in some Iberis and Sedums at the bottom.

    I shall move it ASAP! image

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