Australian Climbing Plants
Climbers and scramblers are superb additions to the garden. They form excellent screen plants for walls and fences, provide shelter from the sun when grown on pergolas and add interest and variety when grown on trees or amongst shrubs. Many produce colourful flowers and fruits, or are of interest for their foliage.
Climbing and scrambling plants are commonly grown from seeds or cuttings. The best cuttings are taken from young growth which is just beginning to harden (semi-hardwood cuttings). Most cuttings of climbers produce roots from the nodes, so a clean cut below the node generally promotes good root development. Otherwise climber cuttings can be treated in the same way as cuttings from other woody plants. When propagating from seed, fresh ripe seed produces the best results. The life of seed from fleshy fruits is often very limited, and these seeds should be sown as soon as possible after collection.
Soil Preparation and Planting
Most climbers and scramblers grow well in well-drained soils rich in organic matter. Clay soils can be improved with the addition of gypsum, while sandy soils are improved with the addition of compost and other organic material. Evergreen climbers can be planted at most times of the year. Mulching around the plant will help keep the roots moist and cool and will limit weed growth.
Supports for Climbers and Scramblers
Wire mesh, lattice, arches, walls, fences and pergolas are traditional, and highly effective, supports for climbing plants. Many climbers also look particularly interesting when trained on tree trunks. Light climbers and many scramblers can be grown among shrubs, where they provide added interest and texture to the garden.
Suggested Climbing and Scrambling Plants
Some Australian native climbers are not commonly held by commercial nurseries. Specialist native plant nurseries may stock a better range, or your local branch of the Society for Growing Australian Plants may be able to provide advice on obtaining plants or seeds.
Suggested Planting Lists
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Growing Native Plants No 13
Australian Government Publishing Service, 1986
Elliot, W.R and Jones, D.L.
Encylopaedia of Australian Plants Suitable for Cultivation Vols 15
Lothian Publishing, various dates.
Jones, D. L. and Gray, B.
Climbing Plants in Australia.
Reed Books 1989
Wrigley, J.W. and Fagg, M.
Australian Native Plants 4rd edition
Reed Books, 1996