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Plants for Walls: Green Houses
A green house can be a house which is, quite literally, green. Climbing plants on your home - or anywhere else in your garden for that matter - are very useful because they take up little space on the ground but provide masses of greenery elsewhere. One prized-up paving stone can provide enough space for a climber which can cover an entire building. Maintained correctly they cause no damage at all. In fact, climbers on a house can actually buffer it from weather extremes and act as a first line of defence against the elements. See our selection of climbing plants for sale in Ireland...
Ivy (Hedera helix) on a house in Inchicore, Dublin 8.
Choosing the right type of climbing plant for your wall.
Self clinging: There are different types of climbers, and the easiest ones are the ones which are known as 'self clinging'. These climbers don't require any support as they grip onto the wall surface themselves. These climbers are good for most walls but should not be planted onto weak or damaged walls. They need to be clipped once a year to keep them out of gutters and windows.Otherwise they can look after themselves and will work their way over any vertical surface. Good examples of self clinging climbers include Ivy (Hedera), Boston Ivy and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) and climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea seemannii and Hydrangea petiolaris).
Parthenocissus henryi growing on a house near Ashford in Co Wicklow.
Parthenocissus tricuspidata on Georgian buildings in Dublin's Fitzwilliam Square.
Parthenocissus quinquefolia on a window in Dublin's Portobello
Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston ivy) in autumn. Bray, Co Wicklow
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) Dublin 8. Summer.
The same Parthenocissus again in autumn (Dublin 8).
Hydrangea petiolaris (Climbing hydrangea) in Dublin 8.
Hydrangea petiolaris in autumn, Booterstown, Co Dublin
Hedera on a house in Co. Wexford
Twining climbers: Many climbers require support such as wire or trellis. They can scramble up most structures but need something to grip to. They have the benefit of not actually gripping onto the wall surface but the disadvantage of needing support. Heavier climbers such as Wisteria require a very sturdy structure to grip onto and can grow vigorously up a pole or wire to reach many metres up. Lighter climbers such as Clematis prefer to fan out along a trellis and can be cut down to ground level to keep them in check. Good examples of these types of climber include Wisteria, Clematis, Passion flower (Passiflora), Kiwi (Actinidia), Jasmine (Jasminum), Potato vine (Solanum) and Honeysuckle (Lonicera).
Wisteria growing on a cottage on the banks of the river Liffey, Dublin.
Wisteria on an apartment building, Dublin city centre
Wisteria on a house in Dublin city centre
Passionflower (Passiflora caerulea) on a cottage in Wicklow.
Solanum jasminoides (White potato vine) in Ranelagh, Dublin 6.
Shrubby climbers: Some plants just like to grow flat over any surface, including vertical ones. They have woody stems but may also need a helping hand to keep them from flopping over. They are effectivey a shrub which grows flat against a wall. They require trimming to keep them flat and have the advantage of not gripping the wall itself and, in some cases, of providing security or obscuring features which you wish to hide. Good examples of this type of plant include Firethorn (Pyracantha), Quince (Chaenomeles) and Cotoneaster horizontalis.
Cotoneaster horizontalis against a wall, Co Dublin
Pyracantha / Firethorn against the wall of a house in Bray.
Pyracantha (Firethorn) on outbuildings at Fota House, Cork
Clianthus puniceus (Lobster claw vine), against a wall in Dublin 8.