When it comes to adding vertical interest to a garden, climbing plants are a must-have, scrambling upward along trellises and fences. Gardeners in frost-prone areas need not miss out on adding these beauties to their garden – read on for some of our favourite varieties for cool climates.
Frost and your garden
In general, the Australian climate is pretty mild in comparison to other parts of the world. However, many places in Australia still experience frost in Winter and early Spring, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a garden that you’re proud of.
To ensure that annual frosts don’t damage your garden, it’s important to plant plants that thrive in frosty climates, or at the very least are highly adapted to the conditions. Plants that originate in warmer climates will become severely damaged, or in some cases die, when confronted with frosty conditions.
If you’re a gardener that lives in a colder climate, it’s vital to plan ahead. When selecting plants that suit the look and feel of your garden, it’s essential that you take note of the specific needs of each plant, as even ones that are frost hardy are impacted by frost to a different degree.
Recommended Frost Tolerant Climbing Plants
Climbing plants look stunning in all types of gardens, but ones in environments with frosty conditions will need some extra TLC. Luckily, there are a number of frost tolerant climbing plants out there that help make a gardener’s job that bit easier. Here are our favourites:
Creeping Figs are the perfect plant for any garden, thriving in both frost and drought-prone environments. This stunning fig quickly climbs walls or covers the ground, adding a much needed element of greenery to any yard.
Having the ability to grow almost anywhere, Creeping Figs can cause harm to surrounding areas and should be planted away from areas that may be damaged. To help combat this, whilst still style adding style and colour to your garden, Creeping Figs also look fantastic in baskets.
The Wisteria Violacea Plena is a frost hardy Japanese climber with spectacular colours. Blooming semi-double mauve flowers in early Spring and vibrant colours in Autumn, this climber continues to excite gardeners throughout the year.
In summer, Wisteria Violacea Plena provides cool places to sit under shade in your garden. Wisteria Violacea Plena requires structural support to be able to grow, and look great along walls, fences and arches.
Another notable frost hardy climber is the Bluebell Creeper.
The Bluebell Creeper thrives in Spring and Summer when deep blue flowers blossom followed by green berries. Bluebell Creepers survive well in frosty conditions, and make a great addition to any garden.
If you live near sensitive bushland, do be mindful that Bluebell Creepers have seeds that can be spread by birds which may impact local flora and fauna.
Pandorea Bower of Beauty Deep Pink Form are frost hardy climbers that thrive in almost any climate, except for the extremely cold. They require care and attention whilst growing, but once fully grown, they are ready to take on moderate frosty conditions.
This Australian native bears masses of open deep pink trumpet-like flowers during both Summer and Autumn, adding colour to your garden for several months of the year. To look their best, Pandorea prefers a full sun to part shade position.
Virginia Creepers require little additional care to help them grow strong and healthy, and are frost hardy. Thriving in cooler temperatures, Virginia Creepers shed their leaves annually but create a complete wall of greenery between Spring and Autumn.
In the seasons without foliage, the intricate branch network of the creeper creates a cosy space in the backyard for gardeners to enjoy. In Autumn, the Virigina Creeper turns a vibrant scarlett that is admired by plant-enthusiasts across the country.
Boston Ivy is a vigorous grower that is best suited for a Southern Australian climate. Like the Virginia Creeper, Boston Ivy is deciduous but very frost tolerant. Despite being frost hardy, Boston Ivy is temperature-sensitive, often turning bright red or purple in temperatures around 4˚C. This extra pop of colour is a defining feature of Boston Ivy, and is an appreciated addition to any garden.
Preferring full sun but being tolerant of shade, Boston Ivy needs to be trimmed three to four times a year or it will grow and spread extremely quickly.
Start Growing Frost Tolerant Climbing Plants
To start growing frost tolerant climbing plants in your garden, there are a number of things that need to be considered.
First and foremost, knowing how different types of climbers respond to colder temperatures and frost is vital, as no plant is the same. Once you’ve established that the climber you’ve chosen is frost hardy, understanding the degree to which it can handle frost is the next step. It is important to plant climbers in positions that best suit their needs, whether that be in a sunny spot outside or a pot to contain the spread.
When tending to your garden, it’s helpful to keep an eye on frost forecasts and schedule your gardening accordingly. Oftentimes frost hardy plants can be tended to once the frost has passed, and will then continue to thrive year-round.
In some cases, your frost tolerant climbing plants will benefit from a bit of extra insulation to survive colder temperatures. Mulching around the base is a great way to protect your plants if temperatures fall outside their optimal living conditions, as it helps soil retain warmth and reduces the likelihood of freezing.
Add Life To Your Garden
Gardener’s living in frosty conditions don’t need to miss out on having the perfect garden. At Garden Express, we have a wide range of frost resistant climbers and plants to choose from – just look for the snowflake symbol in the product descriptions. Looking for more? Read more on our Frost Tolerant Succulents and Vegetables blogs.