Category Archives: Climbing Plants

Plants as room dividers

As room dividers, potted plants offer an excel­lent alternative to the sort of furniture that is specifically manufactured for this purpose. When plants are used to divide large interiors into sections as, for instance, the living-dining areas, they offer some flexibility, as well as providing privacy without a solid wall.

The most important requirement of any display of plants is that it should be seen, so for maximum effect choose a prominent position; plants are too beautiful to be hidden away in a dark corner, although they can be used to hide an ugly feature or create a new dimension for a dull spot. The setting should not be too permanent as seeing the same plants month after month looking exactly the same may be dull. Make provision for some of the plants, particularly the flowering subjects, to be of a more temporary nature. And feel free to experiment: choose plants to show each other off in habit, texture, colour and shape, and to blend with or highlight the colours of the room.

plants as room dividers

To facilitate movement of plants, many of the containers that are manufactured specifi­cally as planters have easy running castors fitted to the base of them. Containers of this type, besides being useful for the time when re­arrangement of plants is necessary, will also make cleaning a much simpler task.

Containers are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but as room dividers the square or oblong trough types are best, as they can be more easily butted together to form a barrier between one part of the room and the other. Some of the containers are fitted with capillary watering devices which greatly re­duce the need for visiting the planters with the watering can, as it is only necessary to top up the water reservoir in the bottom o( the con­tainer about once every two weeks. Capillary containers have indicators fitted which will show exactly how much water is required by the plants. However, it must be stressed that the reservoir should be allowed to dry out completely and remain dry for about five days between each topping up operation – this will permit the soil in the container to become aerated, which would be impossible if it remained wet all the time.

Although containers used as room dividers are essentially oblong in shape, there is no reason why the feature should not be made up as a combination of smaller containers. The advantage here is that if several plants are used they can each be planted in their individual boxes, so that any problems that may occur with the soil in the box at a later date will be confined to one container and will not affect all the plants. If preferred, a layer of gravel can be placed in the bottom of the container and the plants, in their pots, placed on this.

Using plants in interior design

room design with plants in troughs

In many instances indoors there is often the need for providing a container for a given loca­tion and it may then be necessary for one ot the correct size to be made. When making such containers it is important that they should not be too unwieldy, so if a very long trough type container is wanted, it may be necessary to build it in two or more sections.


Width and depth are important factors to consider if large plants that are intended to climb to the ceiling are envisaged. Tall plants of 1.8m/6ft or more in height will have to have a considerable bulk of soil around their roots to keep them going. Therefore it means pro­viding containers large enough to accept pots that may be as much as 25cm/10 in in diameter; the trough that is made must be at least that much across. The depth of the pot will be in the region of 30cm/1 ft , but it would be wiser to allow for at least 38cm/15in in order that a layer of gravel may be placed in the bottom of the trough on which the plant pots can be placed. The container must also have a liner of metal or plastic, so that any surplus moisture gathers in the bottom of the container rather than running out onto the carpet.

Climbing Plants

Climbing plants as room dividers

Having prepared the trough for accommodat­ing the roots of the plant, or the pot, there is then need for providing some form of support on which the chosen plants may be allowed to climb. A simple trellis is probably the best way of overcoming the problem, and it can either have diamond- or square-shaped sections – the latter being my preference. Most trellis sections that are purchased ready-made for the job are almost invariably a dull brown in colour and not very interesting as features in the home. But the same trellis can be made to look very different simply by painting it white (or a colour that blends with the room’s colour scheme) rather than brown, and leaves will be set off much more effectively against the white.

The cheapest method of providing some form of support is to screw a 5 x 2.5cm/2 x 1 in slat into the ceiling immediately above the trough, and to insert stout screw eyelets into the slat. It will then be a simple task to tie thick nylon string from the eyelets in the ceiling to similar eyelets screwed into the trough. Screws can be inserted into either side of the trough so that the string can be traced up and down to form an open tent shape up which plant growth can either be trained or allowed to grow natu­rally. Done in this fashion the growth of the plant will be much less congested and will grow very much better.

plants as room dividers in long tub

By fixing a similar slat to the ceiling, you can employ slender lathes of wood for plants to grow against, the lathes to be pinned to the ceiling slat at one end and to a centre bar of wood running through the length of the trough at the bottom.


Although all manner of elaborate and expen­sive materials may be used for making the upper sections of room dividers, the simple and natural materials are very much more effective, as it is the plants themselves that should be the feature and not the framework.

Although flexibility could be claimed to be an advantage here, it will usually be found that the climbing plants normally used as room dividers will quickly become intertwined and a more or less permanent feature of the room.

Possibly the best plant of climbing habit that is intended for a location offering poor light is the grape ivy, Rhoicissus rhomboidea, with Philo­dendron scan dens running a close second. If rapid growth is an important need in the climbing plant used as a room divider there can be no better choice than Tetrastigma voinieriana – a vine that will grow at almost frightening pace it the prevailing conditions arc to its liking.


Room dividers are usually some distance from the natural light source of the window, so highly coloured plants such as crotons and variegated plants such as Hedera canadensis are comparatively unsuitable as they need ample light to keep them in good condition. Al­though crotons are not of climbing habit and

would not be suitable if a trellis or other frame­work were used, they could well be included in plant boxes that are raised on a waist-high wall near a window. The advantage of the latter method is that the plants are more easily seen in respect of their watering and other requirements and can be dealt with without need for too much bending.

If plants are some distance from the natural light source they will benefit from having arti­ficial lighting placed above them, especially during the evening when they will not only benefit growthwise from the additional light but they will also be considerably improved in appearance.

From the foregoing it may seem that climb­ing plants against a framework are the only subjects that are suitable as room dividers, but this is not so as there is no reason why a row of stately dracaenas or ficus plants should not do an equally good job of segregating one part of the room from the other. But it must be re­membered that only mature plants will be suitable for this purpose and, in any event, that mature plants will give the desired effect im­mediately. Also larger plants that are well established in their pots will settle to room conditions very much more readily than young plants. They would almost be scared out of their pots at the prospect of climbing a 2.4m/ 8ft bamboo, or lathe attached to the ceiling!

Easy To Grow Climbing Plants For Gardens, Sun Rooms, Conservatories And Patios

Actinidia kolomikta. A spectacular and vigorous deciduous climber grown principally tor its foliage. The base of each leaf is green; the rest, white flushed with pink. A sunny wall is ideal. Leaves do not always colour white and pink on young plants. Campsis radicans (trumpet vine). This supports itself by aerial roots. Orange and redContinue Reading

Climbing and trailing plants as room dividers

Modern living rooms are often multi-purpose areas. Frequently one part has to be screened from another, for example a dining area to be separated from the sitting area. Plants are an excellent way of decorating a shelving unit used as a room divider or for simply forming a screen of greenery. If using plants asContinue Reading

Climbing Annuals

Climbing plants are useful to cover walls and sheds, mask old tree stumps and clamber over patio fences and loggias. Some can even be grown with perennial climbers like roses, so that they can take over and give colour when the roses have finished blooming. Most of those grown as annuals are only half hardyContinue Reading

Vitis Grape Vine

The grape vine belongs here, its name being Vitis vinifera, and a few varieties are worth planting for ornament. Particularly recommended are Brandt, with blackish-purple fruits and leaves which turn crimson before they fall in the autumn, and purpurea, similar in fruit and with leaves that are purple throughout the summer Both are vigorous climbersContinue Reading


Colutea are the bladder sennas, deciduous shrubs with clusters of yellow pea-type flowers followed by inflated seedpods which are distinctive and decorative. They will thrive in dry, hot places where many other plants would fail. Colutea arborescens will grow 10 or 12 ft. high if unrestricted, but can be kept to half that height byContinue Reading

Clematis Climbers for Outdoor Cultivation

There are herbaceous species of clematis, but the kinds we are concerned with here are all climbers with slender stems and tendrils with which to cling to twigs, wires, trellises or other not too stout supports. There are a great many different kinds and varieties, ranging from plants of quite modest size which can beContinue Reading

Selecting Shrubs and Climbers

Plants may be sold as ‘bare root’, ‘balled’ or ‘container grown’. Bare root means that they are lifted from a nursery bed and that all, or most, of the soil adhering to the roots is shaken off so that the plants are as light as possible to transport. Transplanting bare root can be done onlyContinue Reading

Preparation of the Soil For Shrubs and Climbers

Shrubs and climbers are always planted for years and often for permanency so the preparation of the ground should be thorough. In particular difficult weeds such as nettle, docks, ground elder, couch grass and bindweed should be removed, for though it is possible to deal with these later on with herbicides, it is much moreContinue Reading

Growing Shrubs and Climbers

American gardeners, who are very good at inventing names that are highly descriptive, often refer to the trees and shrubs used in gardens as foundation planting. This expresses perfectly one of the major roles which these plants perform in providing the permanent framework into which other plants with a shorter life or a greater needContinue Reading