Training roses to grow around your door or adding a froth of wisteria blooms to your porch is the dream when it comes to adding a touch of beauty to your front yard. The good news is that if you would like to enhance the front of your house or apartment with flowers and foliage there are many more shrubs to choose from besides roses and wisteria that will do the trick in style.
First take into account one or two practicalities when choosing the best climbing plants for your modern front yard. Think about the dimensions of the wall to be covered, the height a mature plant will reach, and how flower color works with the exterior of your house. You also need to consider whether your plant of choice likes a sunny or shady aspect, and what sort of soil it requires to thrive.
Next, think about how best to support the plant if it's not a self-clinging variety. Choose a trellis or wires that complement your existing scheme and the rest of your landscaping, as well as supporting the weight of the foliage as it grows. Now for the best part. Take your pick from our expert suggestions for best climbing plants for front of house.
10 best climbing plants to beautify your exterior
Climbers are a brilliant way to liven up dull front walls, especially when planting space is limited, such as in urban areas. There are many different types of plants to choose from and you can be sure to find something to suit all locations.
Beautiful wisteria is a must-have for dressing up the front of house. It's fast growing with dreamy blooms in May and June cascading from the vine, and some varieties even flower again in August.
Indigenous to the eastern half of the US, American wisteria produces lilac-blue flowers in spring that are even more beautiful than its more familiar Asian cousin, which the USDA considers invasive for its tendency to crowd out native plants.
'Wisteria 'Amethyst Falls' is the perfect choice for those looking for a show-stopping climbing vine,' Alex Kantor, owner of Perfect Plants Nursery in Monticello, Florida. 'Its graceful, drooping clusters of vivid purple blossoms are like a magical curtain of color, adding charm and whimsy to your front yard design.'
Wisteria is extremely resilient, ideal for a low-maintenance garden. 'Prune it at least once a year and make sure it's only growing where you want it,' says Alex. 'I would also recommend keeping in mind that this plant has a vast root system and is a heartier vine that can get quite heavy, so make sure your support system is strong enough.'
2. Climbing hydrangea
When choosing the best hydrangeas for front of house, climbing hydrangea is one of the easiest and best-looking options. This vigorous grower is covered in large clusters of showy, lacy, white flowers in late spring and early summer. It can tolerate a variety of growing conditions, is easily trained, and looks attractive all year round.
It's also one of the best climbing plants for shade. 'If you have more shade than sun in your front yard, or just have a few shady spots to decorate, try the easy-care climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris),' suggest the experts at plant nursery Nature Hills, who are based in Omaha, Nebraska. 'This perennial vine loves to bloom in shade. How nice to finally be able to brighten up those dimly lit areas in your garden.'
As well as being ideal for shady urban spaces, another plus is the butterflies that will visit the wide, flat pretty lace cap flower clusters to gather nectar.
3. Trumpet vine
The vivid blooms of the US native trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) will drape softly over the front wall of your house to add a vibrant and colorful tropical look to your front yard landscaping. In addition to the more common shades of red and coral pink, these beautiful, tubular flowers come in yellow and orange too.
This attractive creeper will spread rapidly over a wall, so keep it contained by trimming back regularly. 'It can be cut back hard in winter and will grow back in the blink of an eye, so be as aggressive as you want with it,' according to the team at Nature Hills. 'Be on the lookout for runners and be ready to pull them out.'
It's one of the best flowers for hummingbirds too. They cannot resist the vivid blooms of this gorgeously showy trumpet vine, so it's no surprise then that it's also known as hummingbird vine.
4. Virginia creeper
Sometimes plants known for their striking foliage can be just as beautiful as flowering ones, and this is definitely the case with Virginia creeper. If you're looking for front of house color for fall, this native climber (also known by the name Parthenocissus quinquefolia, as well as Boston ivy) is known for its fiery crimson hues. Another plus is that it's a good choice if urban pollution is a concern in your area.
If you want to keep your house wall dressed when summer plants fade choose this easy climber. It clings to brick or stone surfaces by adhesive 'holdfasts' located at the tendril ends. To achieve a truly spectacular show it's best grown in full sun but is also tolerant of moderate levels of shade. Clip back as required to keep things under control as this plant can become rampant.
'It must be trimmed regularly to keep it in bounds,' according to the experts at Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis. 'It should not be grown up wood or shingle walls because the holdfasts are difficult to remove, can creep under shingles and will ruin the paint. If unchecked, vines can also attach to and seriously damage such objects as gutters and shutters.'
So, the word is to keep an eye on it while enjoying the stunning fall show.
As well as growing a clematis on its own against a house wall with a support like a trellis you can grow it through a host plant such as a climbing rose, jasmine, wisteria, or an evergreen like Garrya elliptica. This creates a naturalistic look as the clematis will intertwine through the other stems. Either way, there are lots of varieties to choose from and you will be rewarded by a mass of showy colored blooms.
Whatever aspect your front garden wall is (even north facing) try Clematis 'Jackmanii'. This easy large-flowered clematis can be relied upon to produce a mass of sumptuous velvety blooms from mid-summer to early fall.
'Clematis 'Jackmanii' is a stunning vine that adds elegance and color,' says Andrew Connolly, the New York-based founder of Little Flower Cottage. 'Its abundant purple flowers create a breathtaking display that makes for a striking contrast against the backdrop of a wall. I particularly love 'Jackmanii' for its versatility. It can be trained to climb and cascade over a wall for a visually interesting effect.'
For an enchanting flourish choose a bougainvillea, especially if you're looking to lift your front of house with a vivid burst of color. Despite their exotic good looks and the fact they're also known as paperflower, they don't need much care once they have settled in. They rarely need watering but they do need a specially formulated high nitrogen liquid feed.
'Bougainvillea is a bold and vital star that can bring the ultimate super bloom to a yard,' says horticulturalist Jac Semmler, author of Super Bloom, available at Amazon. 'There is an exuberance when there is that amount of color on a plant. Vivid flowers coat the vines in brilliant jewel tones of fuchsia, magenta, scarlet and purple. Other cultivars are available too in softer colors like apricot, cream, and blush pink.'
Bougainvillea thrive in areas with warm climates, such as Florida, South Carolina, and California. For front of house it looks particularly nice framing a doorway. They can become very heavy and will need additional support in most cases.
7. Crimson glory vine
Noted for its ornamental foliage, crimson glory vine (also know as vitis coignetiae) is a vigorous climber with spectacular leaves that can reach up to 12 inches across. The leaves start off dark green through summer, then turn spectacular shades of crimson and purple in fall.
Leafy vines like this are one of the best climbing plants for front of house, making an ideal covering to dress bare walls. Easy to grow, it's quick to get established either on its own with a sturdy support for its twining stems, or alternatively scrambling through the branches of another established plant.
Best for a south or west facing aspect, it prefers full sun or dappled shade. Give it these conditions and it will make quite a statement to boost your curb appeal.
8. Star jasmine
'Star jasmine, is a true gem in the world of climbing vines,' says Alex Kantor. 'This beauty will add a touch of elegance and charm to the front of your house. With its skinny stems, star jasmine is a lightweight contender, making it a breeze to train and guide up a wall. Although this plant is lightweight I would still suggest pruning it at least once a year, otherwise it can grow where you don't want it, and if left too long can grow heavy.'
This versatile climber envelops walls with lush green foliage all year round. During spring and early summer the small star-shaped white flowers will drench your front yard with fragrance so it makes a nice welcome home, especially if you train it to grow around your doorway.
Deciduous, semi evergreen or evergreen, climbing honeysuckles (also known as Lonicera) have flexible stems that twine around a support. Grow them up front of house walls to clothe them with foliage and flowers, as well as scenting the air.
Easy to grow, consider when you would like your climbing honeysuckle to look its best. Take into account flowering times to help you work out whether you want to cover a wall all year round or are looking for a summer display.
Choose a handsome variety of honeysuckle like 'Goldflame' (Lonicera x. heckrottii), as seen in this front yard in Kansas. This twining vine features fragrant rose pink flowers with yellow interiors that bloom profusely from June to August. It's easily grown in full sun to part shade, and semi-evergreen in warmer winter climates.
10. Climbing rose
Training climbing roses on a house wall is easy and the result is always beautiful. Roses work whatever the style of your front yard.
'One of my favorite roses is 'New Dawn' as they are great performers,' says Michael Derrig, a registered landscape architect and founder of Landscape Details, who is based in East Hampton, New York. 'As far as a climbing rose goes I prefer 'Iceberg' and 'Pink Eden'. I have created beautiful wall coverings with both of them for some of the outdoor spaces I have designed.'
If you love the look of this design by Michael as much as we do, you'll be pleased to know that 'Pink Eden' is a vigorous grower that's perfect for front walls and is resistant to black spot and powdery mildew too. It has a lovely vintage rose scent, which means it's one of the best climbing plants for front of house to come home to.
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Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about flowers, plants, and garden design and trends since 2015. Having already studied introductory garden and landscape design as well as a course in floristry she is currently adding to her list of qualifications with an RHS Level 2 course in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development. In addition to livingetc.com, she's also written for homesandgardens.com, gardeningetc.com, Modern Gardens and Country Homes & Interiors magazines.
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