15 Fast Growing Climbers

Annuals

Climbing Nasturtium fast gorwing climbers

Climbing Nasturtium

A plant that is so common it is usually overlooked, newer varieties of climbing nasturtiums can be quite the showstoppers and quickly grow to cover nearly any support they are given. They come in white-green variegated, purple leaved, and the traditional green leaved variety. Their flowers come in every shade between red and yellow and also in peaches, greens, and whites. There are both single flowered and double flowered varieties available and to top it all off the shoots and flowers of this plant are edible too! With enough nutrients and water, many varieties can reach heights of 5 m in a summer easily.

Black Eyed Susan

black eyed susan fast growing climbers

An old fashion favourite. The bright orange, yellow, or red flowers of this plant are sure to brighten up any space. Equally at home scaling the side of your house as spilling out of a planter or hanging basket. This plant does well where its hot and sunny. It is usually treated as an annual but once established it can even survive light frosts and is hardy to zone 9b.

Canary Bird Vines

A relative of the common garden nasturtium this exotic looking vine sports yellow or tangerine flowers with little frills that make them look like birds. The leaves are small and toothed, adding a lot of interest to any vertical space. Technically hardy to zone 9a, these plants are often treated as annuals as they grow quickly from seed and do not take frost well.

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea fast growing climber

Sweet Pea

Sweet peas come in a variety of sizes, from dwarf bush forms, to standard 1 m tall varieties, and they even come in giant 4-5 m forms too. The flowers come in nearly every shade of the rainbow and have a delightful smell, earning them their name. Usually treated as annuals, sweet peas in milder climates can be simply sheered back by about 2/3 to renew them for a another growing season.

Hyacinth Bean

A non-edible bean this tropical looking giant is nothing less that amazing. This plant can grow to heights of nearly 7m and is covered for most of the growing season with large, scented light purple flowers on a backdrop of large, purple tinged, compound leaves. A great focal point or way to spice up a dull corner, hyacinth beans are tough and drought tolerant once established. Light pruning and removing pods as they appear will prolong the live of this plant. You can even save the seeds from it each year for the next growing season

Cup and Saucer vine

This exotic looking Climber is just at home in the tropics as it is in your summer garden. Reaching up to 5 m in just one season, this one is a show stopper. The dark green compound leaves and interesting tendrils perfectly frame the cup shaped cream or purple flowers. Because this plant has self-adherent tendrils, it does not need much support to get it climbing on any wood, brick or stone surface.

Mandevilla vine

Mandevilla vine

A tropical favourite, the large (12-15cm) flowers in white, red or pink put on a show all summer. If given room, a plant can reach heights of 4m in a summer but is usually grown in containers with trellises as a show piece. Usually treated as an annual because it does not tolerate frost at all, mandevillas can easily be cut back and kept in a sunny window through the winter. They can be long lived and only get more large and impressive with age.

Hardy Perennials

Kiwi

This harder twining climber has many ornamental and fruiting varieties that are at home in a variety of garden styles. Most varieties have large spade shaped leaver whereas varieties like artic beauty have smaller pink-green-white variegated leaves spade shaped leaves. Note that in order to set fruit you need both a female and male kiwi plant but don’t worry because they are usually sold with one of each in the pot you buy. Kiwis require a bit of pruning to keep them fruiting or growing well and that they need a support or trellis. They look excellent climbing an arbor or shading a pergola. They are deciduous in all but the warmest climates and will lose their leaves in winter letting more sunlight through.

Perennial Sweet Pea (Lathyrus)

Perennial Sweet Pea LathyrusPerennial Sweet Pea Lathyrus

This uncommon plant should really get some more time in the spotlight. It is nearly identical to its common garden relative but comes back year after year and has shiny, lance shaped leaves. Beautiful flowers of pink, white, red, or purple adorn this hardy, drought tolerant plant for much of the summer. This one quickly grows back from the roots each spring to a maximum height of 2-3 m. The fact that it grows right from the soil again each year makes clean-up and pruning easy.

Trumpet Vine

Trumpet Vine

Large, fern-like, glossy green leaves and chains of bright red or orange flowers are the hallmarks of this species. A favourite of humming birds and other pollinators this plant sure puts on a show reaching heights of 5m. Technically from warmer reaches this plant is surprisingly hardy and can be easily grown in climates as cold as zone 5 as it blooms on new wood. A good pruning each spring to remove damaged growth helps freshen a trumpet vine up and promotes heavy flowering. Some varieties are self-adhering but most need some support.

Clematis

clematis

These tough and showy plant come in nearly every flower size and color with many different patterns and forms too. Some clematis even have flowers 15 cm across! They are super hardy and some can even be grown in zone 2 or 3. Many clematis stay evergreen in the warmer growing zones. These plants come in early, mid-summer, and late flowering varieties and some even rebloom all summer. Clematis typically enjoy full sun to part shade and a good mulching to keep their roots cool. There are different pruning groups of clematis that determines how hard and when to prune them so as not to interrupt flowering, make sure your know the pruning group of your clematis and treat it accordingly.

Climbing Rose

climbing rose

climbing rose

A staple in many home gardens the climbing rose is a long-lived plant that always puts on a great show year after year. While some varieties get very large, up to 10m, most are a manageable 3-5m and can be kept smaller with pruning. Climbers come in nearly every flower color and form of rose so there’s no doubt you will find a favourite. Some even have lovely scents of old fashioned rose, fruit, or even a spicy scent. Needs support

Virginia Creeper

Virginia Creeper

A vigorous climber grown for its large glossy green leaves and its red fall colour, Virginia creeper is perfect for covering structures or brig walls. This plant is easy to grow and tolerant of many different conditions. Pruning is optional but sometimes necessary to keep it in check as it will pretty much grow to fill any space. This plant has self-adherent Ariel roots which means it can and will climb any surface without aid.

Honeysuckle

honeysuckle

A vigorous twining climber that is loved by hummingbirds and butterflies, this scented plant is a welcome addition to any garden. It has long twisting vines with small ovate leaves and older wood develops bark and has a trunk like appearance. Different varieties of honeysuckles come with flowers in cream, white, pink, orange, or red. This plant requires a trellis or support to grow on. Honeysuckles benefit from a good hard pruning of 1/3 to ½ of all growth in fall or early spring so it is easy to keep tidy and in check if you need to.

Hops

Hops climbing plant

Yes that’s right hops! Like the ones used to make beers all around the world. You can even bur brewers varieties to grow for your home beer crafting or herbal remedies. This plant produces long twining vines covered in large palmate leaves each spring that need a support or trellis of some sort to grow on. In mid summer to fall, hops vines produce the interesting papery seed heads that are what most people think of when they think of hops. In colder climates Hops dies back to the soil line each year so it can take a hard pruning when it is dormant in winter if your winter does not kill it back naturally. Be aware that hops vines have small hairs on them that can be irritating to some people.

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