Plant these climbers now for a froth of summer flowers that will soften stark walls and add romance to archways and pergolas, says Leoné Williams, owner of Petal Faire nursery
1. Dalechampia dioscoreifolia (bow tie vine)
Dalechampia dioscoreifolia (bow tie vine) has spectacular vivid purple bracts that give the impression of flowers. The actual flowers are small and insignificant. It can grow in full sun to semi-shade, is semi-hardy and flowers in summer and autumn. Leoné recommends growing it on an obelisk, over an arch, on a pillar or on a trellis as a screen.
2. Beaumontia grandiflora (Herald’s trumpet)
Beaumontia grandiflora (Herald’s trumpet) is a summer-flowering creeper with large cream trumpet-shaped flowers that look like St Joseph’s lilies. It is evergreen and never stops flowering, even into winter in warmer areas like Pretoria. It grows best in full sun and is supposedly frost tender. The plant is robust, with a sturdy stem that supports it. Leoné suggests using it in a container, tied onto a trellis as a screen or as a feature on a wall.
3. Bauhinia yunnanensis
Bauhinia yunnanensis is an extremely rare climber from south-west China. It’s a medium grower, with clusters of pale pink flowers and cleft leaves typical of the bauhinia. It is very showy and in summer is covered by a mass of pink flowers. It needs full sun to flower well although it will flower to a lesser extent in semi-shade. It is an ideal screening plant that won’t take over, although it grows too big for an obelisk.
4. Lophospermum erubescens (creeping gloxinia)
Lophospermum erubescens (creeping gloxinia) is a delicate climber with furry leaves and gorgeous foxglove-like flowers. It grows easily from seed and can grow in full sun to partial shade. Not being a very vigorous climber it is suitable for training onto an obelisk or even grown in a hanging basket. It flowers in spring and autumn.
5. Stigmapyllon ciliatum (orchid vine)
Stigmapyllon ciliatum (orchid vine) can be propagated from slip. It grows into a dense creeper with green heart-shaped leaves and masses of yellow, orchid-like flowers. It blooms best in full sun and will flower from summer through to autumn and even into winter. It can be used as an effective screen, trained against a wall, over an archway, can scramble up a tree and cover any unsightly area, even a garden shed.
6. Thunbergia alata
Thunbergia alata appears to be a cross between T. ‘Blushing Susie’ and T. ‘Raspberry Smoothie’, a difficult plant to grow. It has all the best Thunbergia attributes; it’s quick growing, healthy and able to flourish in sun to semi-shade. It can be used to scramble up a pole, over a pergola, along a fence, screen an unsightly area or just scramble as a groundcover.