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With decorative foliage and often fragrant flowers, climbing plants entwine fences and scaffolding and cover up dreary walls. Most of the creeping and climbing species originally come from forests. In order for them to receive enough sunlight, the plants have to grow taller. By nature, many of them are therefore well suited for places in the penumbra and shade. However, there is a considerable number of climbing plants that do well in the shade and partial shade.

climbing plants

Before you decide on a climbing plant to green a wall, shed or the facade of your house, you should think about the suitability of the respective species. It is not only decisive whether the plant can cope with the site conditions on site. An important criterion is also the variant with which the climbing plant grows upwards. Because climbing plants have transformed their leaves or shoots into adhesive organs or tendrils. One distinguishes:

1. Self climber

Self-climbing species such as ivy or climbing hydrangea can hold onto a surface independently without climbing aids. For this purpose, the shoots form adhesive roots, which dig into the ground to hold on to it. Therefore, there must be no cracks in the wall, otherwise the building fabric will be damaged. Other self-climbing plants, such as Virginia creeper, instead form a contact secretion with which the plant "sticks" and thus does not damage the wall.

2. Scaffolding Climbing Plants

However, there are hardly any problems with the building structure with all types of climbing plants that require climbing aids. However, this climbing aid must be tailored to the respective plant. Twining vines spiral their young shoots around anything that gives them support, such as trellises or wires. However, these writhing shoots find it very difficult to cling to lattices or nets that are too thick.

light requirements of plants

To indicate the light requirements of plants, three categories are used in practice, which are based on the average hours of sunshine at the respective location. The transitions are to be considered fluently.

  • sunny location: more than six hours of full sun exposure per day
  • Partial shade: between three and six hours of sun per day
  • Shady location: less than three hours of full sun daily

Climbing plants for shade


The Akebia / chocolate wine / five-leaf climbing cucumber (Akebia quinata) is a climbing plant that originally comes from East Asia. In our gardens, the climbing plants for the shade are not yet particularly widespread. The striking climbing plants with the grape-like hanging flowers have the name climbing cucumber from their fruits, which ripen up to nine centimeters long on the shoots in late summer. These fruits are edible and have a slightly sweet taste.

  • Growth height: up to 10 m
  • twining climbing shrub (scaffolding or ropes as climbing aid)
  • Growth per year: 30 to 100 cm
  • Location: shade or partial shade
  • female flowers: brown-violet, arranged in racemose
  • male flowers (on the same bush): pink, fragrant
  • Leaves: dark green, ovate with a long stalk
  • deciduous
  • hardy to -20 °C
  • still somewhat sensitive to frost in the first few years

tip: The plant grows easily in the shade, only the abundance of flowers decreases somewhat.

Tree Shrike / Round-leaved Tree Shrike

The round-leaved tree shrike (Celastrus orbiculatus) is particularly popular because of its pseudo-flowers and pretty orange-colored berries, which remain attached to the climbing shrub over the winter. These creepers are of separate sexes. This means you need at least one male and one female for the tree shrike to bear fruit. However, a tree shrike should be planted with care. Because similar to the wisteria, the climbing shrub with its thick shoots can put enormous pressure on the climbing aid and crush smaller trees or downpipes.

  • Growth height: up to 8 m
  • Growth per year: about 1 m
  • Penumbra, conditionally tolerant of shade
  • Leaves: Light green, ovate foliage, deciduous
  • Flowers: pseudo umbels in May to June
  • Fruits: orange berries
  • stable trellis required
  • hardy to -25 °C


Climbing plants such as clematis have proven themselves in semi-shade. There are countless varieties of clematis whose abundance of flowers sets colorful accents in the garden from spring to late summer. The queen of flowering climbing plants loves a bright spot, but doesn't like direct sunlight that much. The base of the plant in particular should be in the shade.

  • Growth height: up to 3 m (ornamental forms)
  • Common clematis and mountain clematis up to 10 m
  • Growth per year: large-flowered varieties up to 40 cm, wild species over 1 m
  • leaves: ovate acuminate
  • Flowers: filled and unfilled varieties in all imaginable colors
  • requires scaffolding for support
  • not all varieties are hardy


The only evergreen climbing plant that originally comes from Europe is the ivy (Hedera helix). It is one of the completely undemanding types of climbing plants that easily climb facades and walls up to 20 meters high. However, before you decide to use ivy, you should think twice about whether it will still be desirable in many years' time. Because the plant climbs with the help of adhesive roots, which it mercilessly beats into the masonry or insulation. Therefore it is very difficult to remove.

  • Growth height: 4 to over 10 m (depending on species)
  • Growth rate: 50 to 70 cm per year
  • Root climber, self-climbing
  • Leaves: three-lobed to heart-shaped, deep green (also species with variegated leaves)
  • Flower: inconspicuous light green
  • evergreen
  • tolerates frost well


Hops (Humulus) are among the fast-growing climbing plants that can quickly cover large areas with greenery. There is no fear that the plant will cause structural damage to facades. The hops are ideal, for example, for balconies, to cover downpipes or as an inexpensive high green cover. Actually, the hop does not belong in the climbing plant category, but in the perennial category. Its shoots grow out of the ground again every year and then die off in autumn after flowering. All parapets, downpipes, masts or fences on which woody species of climbing plants are not allowed to be placed are suitable as climbing aids.

  • Growth height: up to 12 m
  • Growth: up to 1 m per week
  • Sun to semi-shade, also shade
  • Flowers: catkin-like flowers on female specimens
  • Leaves: similar to grapevines
  • dies back to ground level in autumn
  • hardy to below -35 °C

climbing hydrangea

The climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris) is one of the species of climbing plants native to the forests of Japan and Korea. The fine white flowers form a beautiful contrast to the dark green foliage from June to July. Hydrangeas need deep, acidic soil to thrive. However, they are also suitable for cultivation as a container plant. They should also be planted in a semi-shaded or shaded location, because the plant suffers in the sun and grows very poorly.

  • Growth height: up to 10 m
  • Growth rate: 80 cm per year
  • self-climbing (however scaffolding is recommended)
  • Flowers: Plate-shaped panicles with small white flowers
  • Leaves: Rich green, pointed heart-shaped foliage
  • completely hardy down to -26 °C

tip: Although a Hydrangea petiolaris tolerates pruning well, it hardly needs pruning due to its low tendency to overgrow.

Pipevine / Ghost Plant

The pipe bindweed (Aristolochia macrophylla) elegantly climbs fences and trellises up to a height of ten meters in a very short time. This climbing plant lives up to its name because it has a particularly strong growth - not only in height, but also in width. However, if left undisturbed, it can grow to between four and six meters wide. It is therefore perfect, suitable for greening larger walls and fences with just a few plants. In addition, the Aristolochina macrophylla can be up to 100 years old. As far as lighting conditions are concerned, the pipe winch is also very undemanding. It does very well in both sun and shade.

  • Growth height: up to 10 m
  • Growth per year: 50 to 100 cm
  • Climbing aid necessary into old age
  • sheltered location required
  • Flowers: small, particularly striking flowers, yellow on the outside, red-brown on the inside
  • Leaves: heart-shaped and very large (10 to 30 cm in length)
  • deciduous
  • Fruit: cucumber-like, up to 9 cm long
  • hardy to -30 °C


A creeper (Fallopia aubertii, also Polygonum aubertii) is difficult to tame because of its enormous growth potential. Therefore, you should think carefully about where you use the climbing plant. It is perfect for all large areas that are not particularly pretty to look at, such as the facade of a stable, a garage or even a long, high wall. It is not suitable as a container plant or for small houses because the cutting effort is too high. The knotweed prefers to grow in a sunny location or in semi-shade, but it is also tolerant of shade.

  • Growth height: up to 20 m
  • Growth per year: several meters
  • Flowers: white, in panicles (July to September)
  • Leaves: fresh green, elongate oval
  • deciduous
  • rod-like climbing aids
  • maintain sufficient distance to downpipes, lightning rods, etc

Self-climbing Mauerwein

The self-climbing wall wine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia 'Engelmannii') originally comes from North America. As a fast-growing climbing expert, he is very popular. The three- to five-lobed leaves, which turn into a bright red eye-catcher in autumn, are up to 12 centimeters long. In late summer, the inconspicuous flowers give rise to spherical, blue-black fruits that are not edible for humans, but are a welcome source of food for birds. The Wall Wine thrives in the sun as well as in partial shade and shade.

  • Growth height: up to 12 m
  • Width: up to 4 m
  • Growth per year: 50 to 100 cm
  • climbs up almost all materials itself
  • Flowers: June to August, inconspicuous greenish
  • Leaves: lanceolate, five-lobed, dark green
  • beautiful orange-red to crimson coloring in autumn
  • deciduous
  • hardy to -30 °C

Ornamental kiwi/ radiant pen

From spring onwards, the tips of the leaves of the ornamental kiwi (Actinidia kolomikta) turn white-pink and thus form a very special highlight in the garden and on the terrace. Hence the name variegated kiwi or flamingo kiwi. As a rule, the plant keeps the foliage on the shoots for a particularly long time, often until November. As a weakly twining climber, however, a ray pen must be tied to a trellis. Although the fruits are much smaller than those of the "real" kiwi, they are still very tasty and healthy.

  • Growth height: only 2 to 3 meters (rarely up to 5 m)
  • Growth per year: about 50 cm
  • Sun to shade, protected as much as possible
  • better leaf coloring in semi-shade
  • must be connected
  • Leaves: lanceolate, light green with variegated coloring
  • Protect against severe frost in the first few years

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