Climbers are woody plants needing the support of nearby trees and shrubs or trellis. They can be trained over shrubs such as a clematis through a lilac to extend the season of interest or grown over a pergola to create a tunnel of flower and fragrance. Many lend themselves to growing up the walls of houses softening the hard lines and obscuring ugly features such as waste pipes. Some climbers are twining winding them selves around their supports, others use tendrils to hold on and others rely on suction pads to cling to walls or other surfaces. Whilst certain combinations can be very effective such as a summer clematis combined with a climbing rose, too many climbers together can be muddled and difficult to prune. One of the most effective uses is the same climber repeated along a structure such as a wisteria walk or a long fence planted with Pyracantha.
Pruning and training are critical with climbers whether it be cutting a late summer flowering clematis to near ground level in February or shortening the new growth of wisterias to prevent the house disappearing under greenery. Unpruned climbers can become a tangled mess of twigs so it is important to ensure that these tasks are carried out at the correct time. Careful pruning and training will also stop climbers getting under tiles and behind drainpipes where they can cause structural damage. Sound brickwork is not usually damaged by climbers.