CLIMBING PLANTS FOR FOLIAGE COLOUR EFFECT

Climbing plants for foliage colour effect

Climbing plants can make for a fantastic addition in any garden, and there are plenty of exotic, flowering species to choose from. However, no matter how gorgeous the flowers are, the blooms are often short lived leaving only the foliage to provide ornamental effect for the rest of the year.

Like the majority of garden plants available, most climbers produce regular green leaves which will often fade to the background amongst the rest of the specimen plants. However, appropriate foliage colour can provide a far longer effect and with a little though and design can enhance the plants in front of them.

In no particular order, check out my choice of top 8 (10 was a bit of a stretch) and sometimes award-winning ornamental foliage climbing plants.

Hedera helix 'Buttercup'

Hedera helix 'Buttercup' 
Hedera helix 'Buttercup' is arguably the most eye-catching of all the ornamental ivy cultivars. It is a selective cultivar of our native ivy and was introduced to English gardeners around 1925. The broad, bluntly lobed, evergreen leaves are a rich golden-yellow, becoming yellowish-green or pale green as they age.

Plant in a sheltered position in full sun to semi-shade, in a moist but well-drained soil.

Hedera helix 'Buttercup' received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1984.

Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea'

Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea'
Commonly known as the Teinturier grape, Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea' is a deciduous ornamental grapevine. The leaves first emerge a claret-red colour, later turning a deep vinous purple.

It will happily grow in most moist, well-drained soils in a sunny to partially shaded position. Provide a sheltered position.

Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea' received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1984.

Jasminum officinale 'Fiona Sunrise'

Jasminum officinale 'Fiona Sunrise'
Jasminum officinale 'Fiona Sunrise' is arguably the best yellow leaved climber currently available. It is a vigorous, deciduous cultivar perfect for training over walls, arches or gateways. However due to its strong growth will require a suitably sturdy support structure.

Plant in a sheltered position in full. sun. Jasminum 'Fiona Sunrise' is tolerant of partial shade, but the foliage will turn a yellowish green if there is not enough light. Jasminum officinale 'Fiona Sunrise' prefers fertile, well-drained soil and a sheltered position with some winter protection.

Vitis coignetiae 'Claret Cloak'

Vitis coignetiae 'Claret Cloak'
Vitis coignetiae 'Claret Cloak' is a large-leaved, deciduous climber with purple-red shoots and young leaves. It was found growing in a batch of seedlings of Vitis coignetiae during 1988 in Fromefield Nurseries, Romney.

As the leaves age, they become greener, but they also turn to rich colours in autumn. 'Claret Cloak' is harder to find in garden centres than the species, but is available from nurseries that specialise in climbing plants.

Vitis coignetiae ‘Claret Cloak’ is very easy to grow in any reasonably fertile soil in sun or part shade, but will need a support in order to establish.

Actinidia kolomikta

Actinidia kolomikta
Actinidia kolomikta is a rarely seen yet extremely ornamental deciduous climbing plant native to the Eastern Asiatic Region. It is a striking climber noted for the tri-coloured variegation of many of its leaves.

Plant in a moist but well-drained. For best foliage effect position in full sun.

 Actinidia kolomikta received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1984.

Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' 

Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' 
Commonly known as the 'Golden Hop', Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' is a strong growing vigorous herbaceous climber with rough, twining stems. It bears yellow, deeply lobed leaves and drooping cone-like, greenish-yellow, aromatic female flower clusters which followed by attractive hops.

It is ideal for growing up trellis or over an arch in a sheltered position. It will tolerate partial shade but a sunny place will produce the best leaf colour so long as the soil does not dry out.

Plant Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' in a sheltered position in a moist but well-drained soil.

Parthenocissus henryana

Parthenocissus henryana
Native to China, Parthenocissus henryana is a vigorous, deciduous tendril climber which under favourable conditions can growing up to 10 metres in height.  It was named after the Irish plant collector Augustine Henry (1857–1930) who discovered the species on his tour of Central China in the 1880s. However it was introduced to Great Britain by another great plant collector, Ernest Henry Wilson, in 1903.

The thick glossy leaves are dark velvety green or tinged bronze, with 3-5 silvery-veined leaflets which give an evergreen feel to this handsome specimen. They then change colour to a brilliant red in autumn before falling.

Hedera colchicum 'Sulphur Heart'

Hedera colchica 'Sulphur Heart'
Hedera colchicum 'Sulphur Heart' is an evergreen climbing shrub that clings to its support by aerial roots. It has broadly ovate leaves to 20cm in length, which are dark green with a central splash of yellow and yellow-green.

It is a vigorous cultivar which will grows best in fertile, humus-rich, alkaline soil. That being said, it will tolerate acidic soils.

The Royal Horticultural Society gave Hedera colchicum 'Sulphur Heart' the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1984.