Growing plants against a wall is a great way to soften the hard edges of a garden. Walls are great for privacy, and of course, make up an essential part of a home, but they aren’t always that pretty. Combining the hard, vertical material of the side of your house or garden wall with attractive plants is a great way to add more beauty to your outdoor space.
Gardening Against a Wall
Whether you’re looking to add plants up against the walls of your house or against a garden wall or fence, first consider several different factors.
Choose plants that will do well facing a particular direction (like against a north-facing or a south-facing wall) or in full sun or partial shade. Consider that south-facing walls can get very hot in summer.
Don’t select plants destined to grow taller than the garden wall. Prepare the soil before planting, as it can be thin and dry near walls. Know which plants will naturally cling to a wall and those that will need training and supports. Likewise, you could simply opt to grow said plants in a bed that’s just against the wall.
Good Plants for Walls and Vertical Space
There are plenty of wall garden plants suitable for a variety of vertical conditions, from dry and hot to shady and cool. Vines, shrubs, and trees are all fair game when it comes to wall gardening. A few good plants to consider include:
- Roses: Climbing roses add color and perfume to a garden wall. Certain varieties in particular will climb easily and enjoy a warm wall, including ‘Mermaid,’ ‘Alberic Barbier,’ and ‘Madame Gregoire Stachelin.’
- Fruit trees: Citrus trees are great for hot wall areas in warm climates, while pear and peach trees can be espaliered against a sunny wall in more moderate climates.
- Fruit vines: Warm, sunny walls will take a grape, kiwi, or fig vine.
- Flowering vines: For flowers that love to climb up a vertical surface, you can try jasmine, honeysuckle, trumpet vine, or wisteria.
- Climbing vines for hot, dry gardens: In a desert climate, try bougainvillea, yellow butterfly vine, lilac vine, or Queen’s wreath.
- Shady, climbing plants: If you have a wall that is cooler and gets partial shade, you can try English ivy, Virginia creeper, chocolate vine, and climbing hydrangea.
Be prepared to help out even the most natural climbers. Training and directing your wall garden will ensure that it is healthy as well as looks nice and well-maintained against its backdrop.
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.