How to classify outdoor climbing plants?
Interestingly enough, not every outdoor climbing plant grown on a balcony has the same or similar needs. Balcony vines require different care, and often grow at a different rate. Because of this, they can be divided into several groups. This way one not only knows how to take care of them, but also it’s easier to pick the right species to match the expectations.
First of all, climbing plants can be classified as annuals and perennials. The former are much easier to grow and therefore they are great for beginner “gardeners.” An annual outdoor climbing plant can be planted in a simple plastic container. If you stick to the general plant-care rules, you can enjoy the greenery for the whole season. Perennial outdoor climbing plants are a bit more demanding and difficult to grow. In this case we advise avoiding plastic planters - replace them with stone or wooden containers. Remember about a proper drainage.
Outdoor climbing plants can also be divided into slow ans fast growing. As for the slow growers, you might have to wait for the result even several years. They are typically picked by house owners. Fast growing climbing plants usually appear on city balconies. Because of the rate they grow at, make sure to pick a support for them right away, to avoid damage. Various bamboo or metal sticks and support are perfect for this purpose.
When picking a support element for your balcony climbing plants, avoid wood. Why? Various fungi develop on wooden elements in humid conditions - and they might affect the plants.
Outdoor climbing plants - how to take care of them?
As some claim, balcony climbing plants grown in containers are much easier to take care of than classic vine plants grown outdoors in the garden. As it turns out, it’s not entirely true.
The basic element of growing climbing plants on the balcony is picking the right soil - fertile and matching the needs of a particular plant. Other elements are equally important:
- regular watering,
- feeding with a fertilizer,
- over-winter protection (in case of perennials).
How to pick outdoor climbing plants for a balcony or patio?
When choosing outdoor climbing plants, pay attention to the already mentioned basic issues - e.g. whether the plants are annuals or perennials. The second type is far more popular - especially among those who already know how to take care of plants.
In addition, think about how much time you have to take care of the plants. If you’re very busy, there’s no point in picking demanding outdoor climbing plants that have to be taken care of on a daily basis. In this case, you have to change your lifestyle, or the plants won’t grow as they should.
The direction the balcony or patio is facing is another very important, and often forgotten aspect. Not all climbing plants like direct sunlight, and not all of them like shade. In this case, you can divide balcony climbing plants into two categories:
- balcony facing south or west,
- balcony facing north or east.
Climbing plants for a southern or western balcony
Southern and western balconies are typically very sunny. It means that the vines planted on such a patio or balcony have to endure not only the accumulated sunlight but also high temperatures. What’s more, they also need more frequent watering than other plants. Water evaporates quicker from their containers, leaving the soil dry, which is not beneficial for their development.
Here are the two most popular climbing plants to grow on southern and western balconies:
- sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratu),
- golden clematis (Clematis tangutica).
Sweet pea is characteristic mostly for various colors of its flowers. They can be white, pink or even deeply purple. A sweet pea with orange flowers is a rare occurrence - but not an impossibility. Another, very distinct feature of this plant is a very strong smell. One cannot pass by without noticing it. The sweet pea is a fast growing climbing plant that blooms a lot. You can enjoy its flower for 3 months - from June until the end of August.
Golden clematis is an equally popular balcony vine. It’s not very demanding and more importantly - it can endure changing weather conditions, including freezes. The golden clematis flowers are very characteristic. They are yellow or white and their petals have sharp ends.
Outdoor climbing plants for a northern and eastern balcony
Regarding balconies facing north and east, shade loving plants are the best options. They like indirect sunlight and not too high temperatures. Although initially they grow at a slower rate, their development is noticeable after just one year. Those outdoor climbing plants can decorate balconies and patios for many years.
Here are the best balcony climbing plants that can grow in shade:
- common ivy (Hedera helix) or Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia),
- climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris).
An ivy (and the mentioned creeper plant) requires a lot of attention while growing. But putting some effort is very rewarding, as those plants grow thick foliage and can form a wall to separate the balcony from neighbours. The difference between the common ivy and Virginia creeper lies mostly in color. The former is very green, while the latter has green leaves that turn red and orange.
Climbing hydrangea is highly valued for the color of its flowers. They are orange or even rust-like. Unfortunately, one can enjoy them for a very short time - only between June and July. Nonetheless, they grow quite thick. The plant is very resistant to low temperatures so that you don’t have to worry about sudden frosts. It is yet another advantage.
📍 What perennial climbing plants are good for a balcony?
Morning glories are considered the best balcony climbing plants. But those are not the only plants worth choosing. You can also pick a sweet pea and Indian cress. The choice is quite wide so you will surely find something for yourself.
📍 Outdoor climbing plants - when to plant them on a balcony?
The time of planting for balcony climbing plants depends mostly on the species you pick. Some of them need to be planted in spring, others grow better when rooted in autumn. Picking the right soil and taking a good care of the plant in the first week is also very important.
📍 What are the best climbers for a sunny balcony?
As you pick a climbing plant for a sunny balcony, pick a sun-loving species. Sweet pea, Indian cress and hyacinth bean are great for this purpose. Although those outdoor climbing plants love sun, make sure they have some shade during the hottest times of the day.