Shade-loving climbing plants are an excellent way to add natural beauty and dimension to any garden. These plants not only enhance the aesthetics of your outdoor space but also offer functional benefits, such as providing shade and improving air quality.
In this article, we will explore the best shade-loving climbing plants for your garden and provide insights into the different types of shade and how to determine them.
Whether you have a small balcony or a large garden, incorporating these plants will surely elevate the look and feel of your outdoor space.
What are Shade Loving Plants?
Shade-loving plants are those that thrive in areas with low to moderate levels of sunlight. These plants have adapted to survive in the shade by developing the ability to photosynthesize with less light.
They often have larger leaves to capture more sunlight, and some may also have a darker shade of green to absorb more light. Shade-loving plants can be found in various sizes and shapes, from low-lying ground covers to tall and towering climbing plants.
Adding shade-loving plants to your garden is beneficial in several ways. They can help to improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen.
What are the Different Types of Shade?
There are different types of shade that affect the growth of plants. Understanding the type of shade in your garden is essential in choosing the right shade-loving climbing plants to grow. The different types of shade include:
This is the type of shade that is created when sunlight filters through the leaves of trees or shrubs. It creates a patchwork of light and shade on the ground.
This is the type of shade that is created when a plant or structure blocks the direct sunlight, resulting in reduced light levels.
This is the type of shade that receives direct sunlight for a few hours in the morning or afternoon but is shaded for the rest of the day.
This is the type of shade that receives no direct sunlight but is bright enough to cast a shadow.
This is the type of shade that receives no direct sunlight and is very dark, often found under dense foliage.
Determining the type of shade in your garden is crucial as it will affect the growth and health of your shade-loving plants. Understanding the amount of light your plants will receive will help you choose the right plants for your garden and place them in the right location for optimal growth.
10 Beautiful Shade Tolerant Climbers
Here are ten shade-tolerant climbing plants that grow well in the UK:
1 – Ivy
English ivy, also known as Hedera helix, is a popular evergreen climbing plant that is native to Europe and western Asia. It is known for its attractive, glossy green leaves and ability to adapt to a variety of growing conditions, including partial to full shade.
English ivy can grow up to 20 meters tall and is often used to cover walls, fences, and trellises. It is a fast-growing and low-maintenance plant that requires little water once established.
However, it should be noted that English ivy can become difficult to control in certain areas and should be monitored carefully to prevent it from spreading too quickly.
2 – Oriental Bittersweet
Oriental Bittersweet, also known as Celastrus orbiculatus, is a deciduous climbing plant that is native to East Asia. It is characterized by its green and yellow leaves and clusters of small, greenish-yellow flowers that bloom in the spring.
In the fall, the plant produces showy orange and red berries that can be attractive in wreaths and other decorative arrangements. Oriental Bittersweet is a hardy plant that can grow well in partial shade and is often used to cover walls and trellises.
However, it is important to note that Oriental Bittersweet is considered an invasive species in some areas and can quickly spread and choke out native plants if not controlled.
3 – Climbing Roses
Climbing roses are a classic and beautiful addition to any garden. These plants are characterized by their long, flexible canes that can be trained to climb walls, fences, and trellises.
Climbing roses prefer partial to full shade and produce large, fragrant blooms in a range of colours, including pink, red, white, and yellow.
They are relatively low-maintenance plants that require regular pruning to control their growth and maintain their shape.
With their stunning blooms and ability to add height and dimension to a garden, climbing roses are a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of elegance and beauty to their outdoor space.
4 – Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle is a sweetly scented climbing plant that is known for its trumpet-shaped flowers and delicate, vine-like stems.
The plant is native to Asia and Europe but is now grown in many parts of the world. Honeysuckle can grow up to 6 meters tall and prefers partial to full shade.
It produces an abundance of fragrant, nectar-rich flowers that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Honeysuckle is a low-maintenance plant that requires occasional pruning to control its growth and maintain its shape. It is often used to cover walls, trellises, and fences and adds a touch of charm to any garden.
5 – Climbing Hydrangea
Climbing hydrangea, also known as Hydrangea petiolaris, is a deciduous climbing plant that is native to Japan, Korea, and China.
It is characterized by its fragrant white flowers and heart-shaped leaves that turn yellow in the fall. Climbing hydrangea can grow up to 15 meters tall and prefers partial to full shade.
It is a relatively slow-growing plant that requires little maintenance once established. Climbing hydrangea is often used to cover walls, trellises, and fences and is a popular choice for its beautiful blooms and ability to add vertical interest to a garden.
6 – Japanese Quince
Japanese quince, also known as Chaenomeles japonica, is a deciduous shrub that can also be trained to climb as a vine. It is native to Japan and produces stunning, brightly coloured flowers in shades of red, pink, and orange.
The plant prefers partial shade and can grow up to 2 meters tall. Japanese quince is a hardy plant that requires little maintenance once established and is often used to add colour and interest to walls, fences, and trellises.
As well as its stunning blooms, Japanese quince also produces small, edible fruits that can be used to make jams and jellies.
7 – Star Jasmine
Star jasmine, also known as Trachelospermum jasminoides, is an evergreen climbing plant that is native to China and Japan. It is characterized by its fragrant, white, or pale pink flowers that bloom in the summer and its glossy, dark green leaves.
Star jasmine prefers partial shade and can grow up to 9 meters tall. It is a low-maintenance plant that requires little pruning once established and is often used to cover walls, trellises, and fences.
In addition to its stunning flowers, star jasmine is also an excellent plant for attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies to the garden.
8 – Virginia Creeper
Virginia creeper, also known as Parthenocissus quinquefolia, is a deciduous climbing plant that is native to eastern North America. It is characterized by its five-lobed leaves that turn bright red in the fall and its ability to climb and cover walls, trellises, and fences.
Virginia creeper prefers partial to full shade and can grow up to 20 meters tall. It is a fast-growing plant that requires little maintenance once established and is often used to add a touch of natural beauty and colour to outdoor spaces.
Virginia creeper is also an excellent plant for attracting birds and other wildlife to the garden.
9 – Clematis
Clematis is a genus of flowering vines that includes over 300 species, many of which are used as climbing plants in gardens. The plants produce large, showy flowers in a wide range of colours, including white, pink, red, purple, and blue.
Clematis prefers partial shade and can grow up to 5 meters tall. It is a low-maintenance plant that requires little pruning once established and is often used to cover walls, trellises, and fences.
Clematis is a versatile plant that can add beauty to any yard, and is especially popular for its beautiful blooms, which can last for several weeks or even months at a time.
10 – Chilean Lantern Tree
The Chilean lantern tree, also known as Crinodendron hookerianum, is a shrub that can be trained to climb as a vine. It is native to Chile and produces striking, lantern-shaped red flowers that bloom in the spring and summer.
The plant prefers partial shade and can grow up to 6 meters tall. The Chilean lantern tree is a low-maintenance plant that requires little pruning once established and is often used to add a touch of exotic beauty to gardens.
It is a relatively rare plant that can be challenging to find but is well worth the effort for its unique and stunning blooms.
These shade-tolerant climbing plants can add a unique dimension to your garden design and thrive in the UK’s varying climate conditions.
Incorporating these plants into your garden will add interest, colour, and fragrance while also creating a cooler and more comfortable outdoor environment.
Choose the right shade-loving climbers for your garden and watch them grow and flourish in the shade!
Don’t forget, it is not just climbers that can be added to shaded areas, there are plenty of plants that don’t mind a shady border.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Different climbing plants have different light requirements, so choose a plant that is suitable for the amount of shade your garden receives!”
“Good soil drainage is important for the health of climbing plants. Be sure to choose a planting location with well-draining soil!”
“Climbing plants need support to grow, so install trellises or other structures to support the plant as it grows!”
“Climbing plants can be susceptible to pests and diseases, so keep an eye out for signs of infestation or illness. Early detection and treatment can help prevent the spread of pests and diseases to other plants in your garden!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a clematis that likes shade?
Yes, there are some clematis varieties that can tolerate shade, such as Clematis montana, Clematis viticella, and Clematis alpina.
What is the fastest growing vine for shade?
The fastest growing vine for shade is the climbing hydrangea.
What is the best honeysuckle for full shade?
The best honeysuckle for full shade is the native American honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).
What plants will grow in heavy shade?
Plants that will grow in heavy shade include ferns, hostas, astilbe, and bleeding heart.
Can honeysuckle grow in full shade?
Some honeysuckle varieties can tolerate full shade, such as the native American honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).
Can you grow wisteria in shade?
Wisteria prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade, as long as it still receives a few hours of direct sunlight each day.
Will Goldflame honeysuckle grow in shade?
Goldflame honeysuckle prefers partial shade to full sun but can tolerate some shade.
What is the easiest climbing vine to grow?
The easiest climbing vine to grow is probably the Virginia creeper, as it is very low maintenance and can grow in a variety of conditions.
What can I plant against a fence shade?
Plants that can be planted against a fence in shade include climbing hydrangea, English ivy, and Japanese quince.
Will a climbing rose grow in the shade?
Most climbing roses prefer full sun, but some varieties can tolerate partial shade.
Will star jasmine grow in shade?
Star jasmine prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade, as long as it still receives a few hours of direct sunlight each day.
Hi, I’m Trev and I’ve been growing things since I can remember. When I was younger, I grew up on a farm, so I have always been around plants and animals. After studying horticulture at university, I decided to start my own nursery which I have run now for 25 years. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their gardens.