When people think of what to grow in a greenhouse, they’ll often just think of exotic flowers or ‘productive’ fruit and vegetables, such as tomatoes and cucumbers. The structure of your average greenhouse however, is perfect for growing any plant that grows upwards, across, or hangs down.
There is also a lot to be enjoyed from growing climbers in your greenhouse. You may wish to choose climbers that bloom so that you can enjoy the extra colour and beauty, or you might be more inclined to opt for climbers whose blooms are lusciously fragrant – something which makes for a very pleasant ‘working’ environment!
Of course, there are many productive’ climbers to choose from too. This article takes a sneak peek at just a handful of climbers that you can grow in your greenhouse.
Choosing the Right Climber
There are literally thousands of climbing plants to choose from that will happily grow in your greenhouse. You should be aware that some climbers will only thrive in sustained temperatures – usually around 15C/60F – whilst other climbers will need a minimum temperature of around 7C/45F to survive in your greenhouse.
When choosing your climbers, think carefully about the kind of environment you can offer in your greenhouse. Can you sustain stable warm temperatures throughout the winter? Does your greenhouse get full sun with soaring temperatures in the summer? How much time can you allot to your greenhouse plants throughout the year? These may seem like simple questions, but they’re exactly the kind of important questions that you need to ask yourself. If you know what you want and what you need from your climber, then it makes your choosing the right climber for you easy.
So let’s look at a few choice climbers, according to what they can offer!
Climbers for Fragrance
If it’s beautiful but delicate fragrant blooms you’re after, then Jasminum is the climber for you. Its star-shaped flowers may be relatively small, but they release a strong, sweet perfume that belies their size. There are two main types of Jasminum; J. officiale, which flowers in summer, and J. polyanthum, which begins flowering in the winter. However, J. polyanthum needs an ambient temperature of around 15C/60F to flower; any lower than this and the flowers will take longer to come into bloom.
Clematis Armandii is a fantastic evergreen plant for your greenhouse. It may need pruning back once or twice a year to keep it in check, but in summer it will provide the greenhouse with shade, and in winter will add some colour and insulation. The leaves are long, dark and green and add an architectural interest throughout the year. This clematis produces glossy, white fragrant flowers around April time, and can also produce a second flowering in August too. A great all-rounder.
The Wax Flower, also known as Hoya, is actually the name for a large family of evergreen climbing and trailing plants. In autumn and winter it produces clusters of star-shaped wax flowers (hence the name) and can climb to 4.5 metres! However, a miniature version of the hoya plant can be grown, H. bella, but is more suited to hanging baskets.
A Cooler Greenhouse
If temperatures in your greenhouse tend to be on the cooler (but frost-free) end of the scale, then Ceropegia woodii (Hearts entangled) is the plant for you. It’s not exactly a climber, but as the mature plant reaches around 2 metres tall, it’s trailing stems will fall down towards the ground.
If you’re after something that will climb and grow in your greenhouse, but will produce something more than flowers, then there are a few options. Melon plants are great for both heated and unheated greenhouses, as are vines. If your greenhouse is unheated, then you’ll need to be a bit more selective about choosing a vine for cooler climates. You’ll also need to make sure that the vine has plenty of free-draining soil to grow in, and is watered regularly throughout the year. However, with a bit of pruning and fertilisation, you should be able to enjoy plentiful crops of juicy grapes!
With thousands of climbing plants to choose from, there’s no doubt that with even a cursory trip to your local garden centre, you’ll be able to fulfil your requirements. Regardless of whether you’re an experienced horticulturalist with a heated glasshouse and drip-feed system to hand, or a novice starting out with a small, unheated greenhouse, you’ll find that there is an amazing choice of climbing plants for your greenhouse out there. All you need to do is start researching – so what are you waiting for?