SOCIAL CLIMBERSAli Barwani
If houseplants make us happy, then climbing plants should make us ecstatic because they allow us to be ultra-creative with indoor greenery. Today we are looking at climbers, namely plants that require support to reach upwards; and climber/trailers, adaptable plants that can climb or trail downwards.
Five advantages to growing climbers:
1) Versatility. Climbers can be grown up strings or wires, canes, moss poles, or even allowed to swathe internal walls. Climber/trailers can be grown upwards in the same way, or allowed to dangle downwards in pots or hanging baskets. They can also be allowed to run along shelves. Cluster them to create a mini-jungle, or spotlight one like a sculpture.
2) Big plants for small spaces. Because of the way they grow, climbers can cover a large area; yet they only occupy a small footprint – making them ideal plants where space is limited. Climber /trailers can be grown in hanging baskets to maximise space usage.
3) Value for money. Climbers grow quickly – you can buy a smaller plant and, given the appropriate care, it should rapidly develop into a bigger specimen. The greatest joy of plants is that they change over time.
If your landlord doesn’t allow you to make permanent changes then you can still personalise your home with your own portable garden of climbing and trailing houseplants – that can be boxed up and transported when you move.
4) ‘Variety’s the very spice of life’. Climbers don’t represent a single plant family. Climbing is an adaptation that has arisen many times in over 130 different plant families. This means there is lots of choice for the intrepid indoor gardener. Did you know there are climbing forms of bamboo, palm, and even cactus?
5) Climbers come from diverse habitats. There is a suitable plant for all areas of your home: sunny or shady, hot or cold, dry or humid. Selecting the right plant for the right place is the key to success.
Style Rules – Five ways to do it right!
Using climbers in the home requires thinking outside the box. They can be used to zone areas, to add interest, or even to give seclusion. Here are 5 suggestions:
1. Its Curtains! Climbers can create privacy, especially if don’t want to resort to lacy nets. Hanging baskets suspended from the curtain rails can be planted up with climber/scramblers such as the English ivy in cooler rooms: or the grape ivy (Cissus rhombifolia) in warmer homes. Quick growing grape ivy is an evergreen vine with a retro vibe thanks to its ubiquity in 70s and 80s decor. It tolerates light conditions from full sun to mild shade.
2. The New Wallpaper. Climbers add texture and colour to a bare wall, making a stunning feature in a modern apartment or a light-filled extension. To do this you need to make sure your walls are sound and waterproofed, with a slightly rough surface to help the climbers cling. You will also need to use large planters with an irrigation system to be certain your green wall thrives when you are busy. The creeping fig (Ficus pumlia) is ideal for this purpose.
3. Taking a Stand. Plant stands, whether antique or modern, are a great way of displaying climbers. They accentuate hanging plants, and elevate climbers. Plant stands are a great way to lift pots off the floor, and add sophistication. They are also easy to move around when you feel like refreshing your look.
4. Divide and rule! Macramé hanging baskets lend a boho air to a room. A series of baskets suspended at differing heights is an exciting way to define the dining area within an open-plan flat.
The Devil’s Ivy or Pothos (Epipremnum areum – also know as Scindapsis) originates from Society Islands of French Polynesia, yet it makes an easy to care for tropical indoor climber. It is perfect for growing in hanging baskets – but is equally attractive in pots growing up moss poles. Pothos is a tough plant with an exotic look. It also makes an ideal subject for trailing along shelves.
5. Every Home Needs a Monster. The Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa) has been both in-and-out of fashion, but has never gone away. Its huge, holey leaves recall the richness of rainforests. Hailing from the tropics of the Americas it makes a bold statement. The iconic leaf shape features on fabrics, wallpapers and jewellery. Monsteras are easy to care for, and best grown up a damp moss pole. Given support they can climb to over 6 metres!
If you like the look, but want something on a smaller scale then try Monstera adansonii (the Monkey Mask plant).
The closely related climbing Philodendrons have spectacular, large tropical leaves. They too need firm support as they climb, and like Monstera produce numerous aerial roots. There are many leaf shapes ranging from heart-shaped to deeply cut. Several forms have red colouring.
Scents and sensibility
If you enjoy sweet smelling flowers then there are several climbers you should consider. Three of the best are:
1) Hoya, the Wax Plant. This climber has fleshy leaves and waxy, heavily scented flowers. It needs the support of a wire loop or moss pole, but is easy to nurture.
2) Stephanotis floribunda. Richly perfumed stephanotis is more of a challenge to maintain, but the reward is sweet. It needs the support of a wire or cane, and is commonly sold trained around a wire loop.
3) Jasmine (Jasmium polyanthum). The white star-shaped blooms emit an intense, sweet scent that will fill your home. It needs supporting with canes or a trellis, and prefers to be in a cool room during winter.
Are you looking to add some life and drama to you home? Come and visit us, and peruse our curated collection of climbing houseplants. Whether it’s for the floor, shelves, alcoves, windowsills, or hanging baskets, we can help you can find the perfect indoor climbers for your home.