Enhance Your Fence with Climbing Plants

Ruby-throated HummingbirdIt seems too good to be true, but it looks like spring is finally here. Let’s hope it sticks around — 39 degrees may not precisely be “warm”, but it’s a far cry from the brutal -10 degree temperatures we saw just a month ago.

The arrival of spring means that it’s time to start thinking about your garden in earnest. And in honor of this turn in the weather we thought we’d give you some pointers on how you can adorn your fence with climbing flowers to create a sort of living perimeter around your yard.

These plants generally don’t damage your fence unless you fail to properly prune and maintain them, so this is a safe, fun way to create a garden which seems to burst and overflow with life at every corner.

Choosing Your Climbers

Starting with the right plant is half the battle. Here in Wisconsin you’ve got quite a few that you can choose from, including:

When you choose your plants make sure you pay attention to the sun conditions along your fence line. If you have an even mix of sun and shade then scarlet honeysuckle may be your best bet — it does well in either condition.

Give your climbers additional support!

If you have a chain link fence then you can skip this step. A wooden, vinyl, or aluminum fence won’t provide enough support to a climbing plant on its own, however.

You can either add a trellis to your fence or string up a series of horizontal and vertical climbing wires for the climber to play on. You’ll need to monitor the plants throughout the growing season to make sure that the climber “takes,” however.

This means that you’ll have to gently tie new shoots along the support structure as they appear. This will help your plant get the idea that it needs to use the structure. Use soft garden twine to avoid damaging the plant.

Plant your climbers carefully.

It’s important for you to avoid planting your climbers right up against the fence. Instead, you should plant them 35 centimeters away from the base of the fence.

When you water your climber water the base of the plant. Don’t spray the whole thing down with water.

This is better for your plant. If you have a wooden fence it’s also better for your fence — the last thing you want to do is douse your fence with water all spring and summer long.

Remember to clean and stain your fence before you plant! You won’t be able to do this once your seedlings are in the ground.

Don’t have a fence yet? Live in Shorewood, Wauwatosa, Whitefish Bay or anywhere else in the Milwaukee metro area? Call us! We should be able to get your fence in the ground in time for you to plant those climbers.

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