Winter Flowering Climbing Plants

Winter doesn’t have to be ‘the gloomy season’. I’m not one for putting away my hanging baskets and containers over the cooler months. Quite the opposite. I like to outshine my neighbours with a plentiful display of winter blooms.

If you are decking the halls with boughs of holly, why not cover the walls with winter flowering climbers this year?

Jasminum nudiflorum – Winter Jasmine

Lovely yellow star-shaped flowers appear along leaf-less, dark green stems from January to March. Jasmine is more than happy to climb through trellis work or into a hedge or tree and is very easy to grow. A real favourite with the winter gardener. Very cheerful.

Clematis cirrhosa

Not only can this Clematis put on a great floral display during winter, it also smells rather good! Yields bucket loads of white speckly flowers. It is a frost hardy climber, but may suffer during a severe and prolonged winter.

Honeysuckle – Lonicera purpusii

Clusters of white, tubular flowers with prominent yellow anthers cling to bare branches in the depths or winter and fill the air with a heady fragrance. The scent from this deciduous shrub will stop you in your tracks. An invaluable addition to the garden in winter. It is best planted near a path or in a front garden, where its delicious fragrance can be appreciated. Once the bright green leaves appear, this honeysuckle looks rather insignificant. So plant it among shrubs that provide interest over the summer months.

Tropaeolum tricolorum

An old favourite of mine. You could crudely call it a ‘perennial nasturtium’. This rare climber will happily rambling up and into hedges or trees. It provides plenty of fiery interest during winter and on into early summer.

Tropaeolum tricolorum is not total hardy, but a mulch of straw around the roots should secure its survival. Also, growing against a dense hedge will act like a blanket during the season’s coldest nights.

Asarina scandens

The Asarina has very similar flowers to the Streptocarpus (Gesneriaceae family), but to my knowledge they are in no way related. This flowering climber will produce masses of blue, white or pink flowers. It will do so right up to Christmas outdoors during a cooler year, or further in a conservatory or greenhouse. Asarina is commonly grown as an annual but is actually a half-hardy perennial.

Daphne odora

Not strictly a climber, but can be trained as one against a trellis. Another scented climber! I don’t think that there are many garden plants that can boast a greater perfume than the Daphne. Incredibly sweet! Pink and white star-shaped flowers pop-out over glossy lined green leaves.

Other articles on winter flowering climbers & other plants

James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. LandscapeLara

    Lovely choices. Didn’t know that there was a winter Tropaeoleum. Lonicera purpusii is one of my favourite scents.

  2. James Middleton

    Well, the tropaeoleum is not at it’s best in winter and will perform a lot better in a conservatory. But all the same, it should add some colour in a sheltered spot in the garden during the cooler months. I have also found that the Chilean Glory Vine (Eccremocarpus scaber) performs to a similiar degree.

  3. landscape_gardener_oxford

    Winter Jasmine looks evergreen although it is not and gives good cover with bright flowers in winter and spring

  4. Kid Kat

    Thank you for this post, it’s really helped me trying to choose a good climber.
    I have a horrible north-facing garage wall right outside the kitchen window, and I’m just dying to cover it up with something pretty. I’ve waited until this month (February) as I hear it’s the best month to start planting things in the garden, but now I have a dilemma about what to use up the wall.
    Ideally I’d have something evergreen and had flowers all year long, but I know I’m in a dream world about that! 🙂

  5. James Middleton

    Hi Kid Kat,

    The climbing plant for a north facing wall that springs to my mind is the Hydrangea petiolaris. It’s not an everygreen, but looks great, with white umbrella-like flowers in summer followed by yellow leaves in Autumn. As far as evergreen – I think you’re just stuck with ivy (Hedera). How about Boston Ivy or Virginia Creeper? Not everygreen, but fine for shade and provide stricking colours during autumn. You might also want to try roses – I hear that ‘Mme Grégoire Staechelin’, ‘Gloire de Dijon’, ‘Mme Alfred Carrière’, ‘Danse du Feu‘ or golden showers are all good climbing roses for a shady spot.

  6. Ruth Shaw

    Can anyone tell me whether Akebia is of any use to British wildlife? I would like it, and I want an environmental excuse to plant it. If anyone has seen butterflies using it it would be plus.

  7. James Middleton

    Although it’s not the most attractive to bees, they will visit it for Akebia’s nectar. Maybe it tastes as it scent implies – of chocolate 😉

    The only thing I would say is that the Akebia can be quite an aggressive grower, so keep it under check.

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