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Tropical Climbers

Climbers are versatile plants that can often serve the same purpose as shrubs, while using less space. If you have a small garden, climbers can be used to hide walls, or fence off boundaries, without spreading into the limited space of the garden. Climbers can also be used to provide shelter or shade by enclosing structures, such as shadehouses, pergolas and arbours. They are also a cheap and easy way to cover up something unsightly, such as a shed or water tank, or to soften a harsh wall, fence or tree trunk. Many have very attractive flowers or foliage.

The only major problems are that, if left uncontrolled, some rampant climbers can block drain pipes or gutters on buildings, while some can do serious damage to the structure (or tree) they are clinging to. Some climbers cause less damage than others, but no matter what you use, you should check for damage every few years, and trim back the climber if need be. If you are worried about climbers causing damage, ones to avoid are those such as Hedera (ivy) and Ficus pumila which cling to even smooth surfaces such as a concrete wall, and can eventually grow into small cracks in the wall then expand enlarging those cracks.

Most climbers need something to climb on. You can use materials such as trellis, wire mesh, single wires or nylon strings (not jute ‑that will rot).

Using Climbers
Climbers are a great way to cover up something ugly, or to soften a harsh wall, fence or tree trunk. The only problem is that if uncontrolled, some climbers can do serious damage to the structure (or tree) they are clinging to. Some climbers cause less damage than others, but no matter what you use, you should check for damage every few years, and trim back the climber if need be.

The following list of climbers represent those that are reliable in tropical and warm climates.

  • Allamanda cathartica
  • Antigonan leptopus
  • Argyreia nervosa
  • Aristolochia sp. (note some of the species are regarded as weeds in some districts)
  • Asparagus plumosus (syn Protasparagus)
  • Beaumontia grandiflora
  • Bignonia sp.
  • Bougainvillea sp.
  • Campsis grandiflora (Tecoma grandiflora)
  • Chonemorpha fragrans
  • Cissus sp. (C. discolor, C. rhombifolia, C....)
  • Clerodendron thomsonae
  • Clitorea ternatea
  • Clytostoma callistegloides (Bignonia speciosa)
  • Congea tomentosa
  • Ficus pumila
  • Gloriosa superba
  • Hedera helix
  • Hoya sp.
  • Ipomoea sp. (I. horsfalliae, I. digitata) (note some species are considered weeds in some
  • countries)
  • Jasminum sp. (J. polyanthum plus many other rambling shrub forms)
  • Lonicera sp. (L. sempervirens, L. confusa, L. japonica)
  • Mandevillea sp.
  • Manettia bicolor (Brazillian Manettia)
  • Mucuna bennetii
  • Pandorea jasminoides (Tecoma jasminoides), Pandorea pandorana (Tecoma australis)
  • Passiflora sp.
  • Petrea volubilis
  • Phaseolus caracalla
  • Pyrostegia venusta (Bignonia venusta)
  • Quisqualis indica
  • Saritaea magnifica (Arrbidaea magnifica, Bignonia magnifica)
  • Solanum sp. (S.jasminoides, S. seaforthianum, S. wendlandii)
  • Stephanotis floribunda
  • Stigmaphyllon ciliatum
  • Strongylodon macrobotrys
  • Thunbergia sp. (T. alata, T. coccinea, T. fragrans, T. grandifora, T. laurifolia,
  • T. mysorensis) note. some species are considered weeds in some countries.
  • Trachelospermum sp. (T. fragrans, T. jasminoides)
  • Tristellateia australasiae

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