Blank walls are like blank canvases crying out for a masterpiece. Why leave them bare when you can easily infuse them with natural beauty using climbing plants? With some creativity and knowledge, you can unleash gorgeous greenery on vertical surfaces.
These 21 plants that grow on walls can lend magic to mundane walls through their diverse textures, scents, colors and heights.
1. Trumpet Vine – Campsis Radicans
Trumpet vine thrives in hot, sunny spots. Provide at least 6-8 hours of direct southern or western sun exposure along walls. Allow plenty of vertical room for growth up to 40 feet.
Install sturdy trellises, wires, or frames securely into the wall pre-planting. Anchor points should be spaced 2-3 feet apart to support mature, climbing vines.
Plant trumpet vine in mildly acidic, well-draining soil improved with compost or manure. Water consistently the first year, then weekly during droughts. Fertilize monthly in season.
Prune each spring before new growth emerges to manage size and shape. Cut back long tendrils and remove damaged stems. This encourages prolific flowering.
Getting trumpet vine established the first season is vital. Once mature, it will reward proper siting and care with vigorous climbing growth and spectacular orange blooms that attract admiring eyes and hungry hummingbirds.
2. Red Valerian – Centranthus Ruber
Masses of pink, crimson, or snowy white blooms unleash cottage garden appeal on walls from May to September when red valerian is in flower. Site this leggy plant low on the wall in full sun to part shade so its elongated stems don’t flop about unattractively.
Sharp drainage is essential for healthy plants, so incorporate ample compost into the soil.
Regularly deadheading spent blooms spurs more flower production. Tuck red valerian into pockets near walkways or entries where its charm can be enjoyed up close. The flower colors pop against neutral wall backdrops.
With proper siting and care, red valerian will flourish on vertical surfaces with fabulous floral displays year after year.
3. Yellow Corydalis – Pseudofumaria Lutea
Cheery yellow trumpet-shaped blooms herald spring’s arrival when they emerge against stone walls and garden paths from this Southern European native. Yellow corydalis flourishes snuggled into the crevices of stone walls where cool conditions prevail.
For best results, plant tubers in fall prior to winter dormancy. Sites with morning sun are ideal to provide sufficient warmth followed by dappled afternoon shade. Avoid planting yellow corydalis in hot, dry areas.
With proper siting in pockets and corners sheltered from intense heat and aridity, yellow corydalis will thrive and greet each spring with abundant golden blossoms tufting playfully from stone wall crevices.
4. Creeping Jenny – Lysimachia Nummularia
With its trailing stems and chartreuse leaves, creeping jenny creates a relaxed cascading effect down garden walls. Its golden-yellow blooms provide a pop of color that complements the foliage.
For optimal impact, site creeping jenny in dappled shade exposures. Consistent moisture is key, but avoid soggy soil by providing good drainage. Deadhead spent blooms regularly to promote more flowers.
Creeping jenny can spread vigorously, so prune as needed to keep its wandering stems in check. This fast-growing plant will quickly blanket walls and slopes for a lightweight, flowing look. Its brightness pairs well with deeper hues like purples or blues. Let creeping jenny spill freely from pockets, hangings baskets, or ledges elevated along the wall. Its versatility and charm make it a go-to wall crawler.
5. Honeysuckle – Lonicera
For timeless old-fashioned appeal, few vines can match gracefully arching honeysuckle. With its sweet perfume and nostalgic presence, honeysuckle was made for adorning cottage garden walls, arbors, and trellises.
Site honeysuckle in full sun to partial shade exposures. Provide sturdy structures for the fast-growing vines to climb. Their twining stems eagerly attach themselves to supports using slender tendrils.
Though carefree once established, it’s important to prune honeysuckle each year after flowering. Trim back wayward stems to keep its growth tidy and renewed. Remove spent blooms to encourage more flower production.
With proper siting and care, honeysuckle’s fragrant blooms will fill vertical spaces with romantic vintage charm year after year. The enchanting fragrance drifting on the breeze evokes cherished memories of childhood summers past.
6. Virginia Creeper – Parthenocissus Quinquefolia
Virginia creeper readily scales vertical surfaces using small adhesive tendrils that cling tightly to walls and structures. Its five-pointed foliage transforms into a vibrant crimson canopy in fall, providing seasonal interest through autumn.
When siting Virginia creeper, allow ample room for growth. It can easily reach over 50 feet at maturity. While it tolerates partial shade, full sun is ideal for the healthiest growth and most intense fall color.
Prune Virginia creeper each year in late winter to early spring to maintain shape and manage spread. Cut back stems straying too far from the wall. This pruning stimulates new growth.
With its gorgeous fall color show, Virginia creeper is a stellar choice for blank garden walls in need of seasonal pop. Time autumn prunings to shape vines and highlight the crimson foliage cascading down the wall. Virginia creeper will reliably return each year more glorious than before.
The colorful, prolific flowers and vining growth habit of clematis make it ideal for gracing vertical spaces. Its flexibility allows it to gracefully intertwine with roses, honeysuckle, and other climbing plants.
For the best blooms, site clematis in bright, direct sun. Consistent moisture is important, especially as new growth emerges in spring. Mulch around the base with organic matter to maintain cool root zones.
Pruning clematis properly maximizes flower production. In early spring, trim back stems to just above a strong set of buds on each vine. Remove any dead or damaged growth as needed throughout the season.
With its diverse flower forms and hues, clematis enlivens blank walls and structures. It can be trained to climb directly up surfaces or guided along supports. Pair complementary colors like purple clematis with pale yellow roses.
Let clematis wander freely or tightly weave vines for different effects.
8. Ivy – Hedera Helix
English ivy is prized for its ability to gracefully drape down brick facades. It uses small aerial rootlets to cling tightly to vertical surfaces. However, monitor ivy’s vigorous spread closely, as it can rapidly take over sites. For best results, limit ivy to certain sections of walls only.
Prune and train new growth to keep mature ivy tidy and in check. Cut back stems spreading too far to guide the vines. Where winters are harsh, provide extra protection on exposed walls to avoid dieback.
While English ivy with its dark green leaves is most common, other ivy species offer unique leaf shapes, sizes, and variegations. Persian ivy features elegant gray-green foliage while curly leaf ivy has ruffled leaves. Explore different ivy varieties to create living tapestries on garden walls.
With proper siting and pruning, ivy imparts timeless grace and charm to vertical spaces without turning rampant.
Guide its growth to selectively cloak sections of wall in deep green.
9. Bellflower – Campanula Poscharskyana
The elegant purple bells of bellflower create a charming floral cascade down walls starting in late spring. Space plants 12-15 inches apart for best coverage. Bellflower thrives in well-drained soil enriched with organic matter. Site in full sun to light shade.
Even moisture is important for plentiful blooming. Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and reduce weeds. Deadhead spent blooms regularly to encourage more flower production.
Left alone, bellflower can grow quite rampant. Prune back overgrown stems as needed to rejuvenate plants and maintain a tidy shape. With proper care, bellflower will blanket walls with its lavender-blue bells while remaining well-behaved.
The cascading flowers soften hard edges and lend cottage garden grace.
10. Stonecrop – Sedum Acre
The succulent stonecrop thrives in stone wall crevices with little care required. Its attractive leaves come in shades of green, red, cream and gray. Yellow or white flower clusters add seasonal interest.
Tolerates heat and drought once established.
11. Abutilon – Abutilon ‘Kentish Belle’
The ornate lantern-shaped blooms of Abutilon ‘Kentish Belle’ create a stunning display dangling down walls from late spring into fall. Flowers emerge in warm shades of yellow, orange, and red.
Grow this beauty in protected wall spaces in zones 9-10 where frost is rare. Abutilon thrives in bright, direct light. Provide some afternoon shade in hot climates. Shelter from cold winter winds.
Well-drained, fertile soil amended with compost is ideal. Maintain even moisture and avoid soggy conditions. Prune lightly after flowering to encourage more blooms. Overwinter indoors in cold climates.
With proper siting and care, the elaborate blooms of Abutilon ‘Kentish Belle’ will grace protected garden walls with a vibrant show of suspended color. Site where the dangling flowers can be admired up close.
12. Garrya – Garrya Elliptica
With its broad evergreen leaves and long dangling catkins, wavyleaf silktassel makes a striking wall shrub. Use sturdy wall anchors to support mature plants on vertical surfaces.
Garrya thrives in full sun to part shade. It becomes quite drought tolerant once established. After the dangling gray catkins fade in spring, prune as needed to shape plants and encourage new growth.
The lush green foliage provides year-round presence on garden walls. As an added bonus, the winter blooms attract beneficial insects to the landscape. Site Garrya where its cascading form can be displayed and appreciated.
With minimal upkeep needed, Garrya offers unique architectural flair on vertical spaces. Let it develop into a focal point covered in the textural catkins each spring. The bold leaves make a wonderful backdrop for displaying other wall-loving plants.
13. Pyracantha – Pyracantha Coccinea
Also known as firethorn, pyracantha is prized for its abundant clusters of orange, yellow, or red berries that brighten garden walls through fall and winter. The flame-colored fruits also attract birds to the landscape.
Pyracantha’s spiny stems make it deer and pest resistant. For best fruit production, grow pyracantha against sunny walls and train stems along supports or trellises.
Provide well-draining soil and prune regularly to maximize blooms and fruits. Cut back leggy stems after flowering. Site where both the blossoms and berry clusters can be appreciated from spring through winter.
With fiery fruit displays, wildlife appeal, and hardy growth, pyracantha is a stellar addition for unfurling against vertical garden spaces needing multi-season color. The fruits shine against neutral wall backdrops.
14. Jasmine – Jasminum
The quintessential Southern vine, jasmine infuses vertical spaces with its intoxicating floral fragrance. For optimal growth, plant jasmine at the base of sunny walls in fertile, well-draining soil amended with compost.
Provide trellises, wires or other sturdy supports for the vines to climb up. Train wandering stems carefully onto fixtures. Left unmanaged, jasmine can grow rampant. Prune regularly to keep its growth tidy and maintained to the wall.
The star-shaped white blooms emerge in flushes from spring into fall, filling outdoor rooms with their sweet perfume. Site jasmine near windows or patios where its fragrance can best be enjoyed. When in full flower, jasmine truly envelops any vertical area in an enticing floral cloud.
With proper support for its vining stems, jasmine will thrive and reward efforts with its signature Southern charm on garden walls and structures.
15. Maidenhair Spleenwort – Asplenium Trichomanes
The delicate fronds of maidenhair spleenwort lend graceful texture to shady, moist crevices and pockets of old stone walls and rocky slopes. This petite woodland fern naturally seeks out cracks to settle into without overpowering its site.
For best results, provide evenly moist, humus-rich soil. Avoid planting maidenhair spleenwort in hot, dry exposures. Dappled sunlight filtering through trees is ideal.
Maintenance is minimal aside from removing spent fronds as needed. Simply tuck pieces of rhizome into shaded wall pockets and this lovely fern will reliably return year after year. Let maidenhair spleenwort form drifts of lacy greenery to soften weathered walls and rocky outcrops.
16. Fairy Foxglove – Erinus Alpinus
Dainty fairy foxglove ushers in spring with a profusion of pastel-hued blooms in shades of pink, white, or rose. This petite plant neatly tucks itself into stone wall crevices and rocky corners from April through August without spreading aggressively.
For optimal growth, site fairy foxglove in areas receiving morning sun with sharp drainage. Avoid overly wet soils. Pinch or snip off spent blooms to encourage more flower production.
The low-growing nature and delicate colors of fairy foxglove allow it to easily blend within spaces. Mass several plants together for a cohesive look. It grows no more than 5 inches tall and spreads slowly via seed.
With minimal care needed, fairy foxglove is perfectly suited for softly frothing from the nooks and crannies of weathered garden walls.
17. Selfheal – Prunella Vulgaris
With its short, mounding form and violet-blue blooms, selfheal hugs the ground while creating an attractive floral carpet from June through November. It flourishes as a lush lawn substitute and colonizes areas readily.
Selfheal thrives in full sun to part shade. Once established, it is fairly drought tolerant. But provide supplemental irrigation during prolonged dry periods. It grows well in poor, rocky soils.
The spreading nature of selfheal allows it to excel at blanketing areas near walls with color. Plant in clusters and allow it to fill in over time. Shear plants halfway back after initial flowering to encourage reblooming.
Offering carefree growth and weeks of color, selfheal is ideal for painlessly infusing life and vibrancy along expanses of wall bases and hard-to-mow sections.
18. Rose – Rosa
Join climbing roses with clematis vines for the quintessential cottage garden pairing on walls and structures. For optimal growth, plant bare-root roses in early spring in compost-amended soil and full sun.
Provide sturdy supports like trellises or wires for roses to climb. Train and tie stems into place using soft gardening ties. Prune roses in late winter before new growth emerges. Remove dead or diseased canes first, then trim back old stems.
Control common rose diseases like black spot and powdery mildew using organic methods if issues arise. Proper site selection, spacing, and care will prevent most problems and keep roses thriving season after season.
With proper planting and pruning, climbing roses intertwined with clematis will adorn vertical spaces in vintage garden style. Train vines along supports and let them mingle for romantic, old-fashioned charm.
19. Passionflower – Passiflora
The exotic, intricate blooms of passionflower vine emerge in summer atop vigorously climbing stems ideal for attaching to supports. Site passionflower in warm zones 9-11 in fertile, well-drained soil and full sun for optimal growth.
Provide sturdy trellises, wires, or fencing for the rampant vines to climb. Left unchecked, passionflower will readily spread over everything in its path. Monitor for pests like spider mites and treat organically if found.
Prune regularly to train vines and keep growth in check. Cut back unwanted stems spreading too far and trim again after flowering. With proper support and care, passionflower will reward efforts with showy summer blooms against any vertical backdrop.
The unique blooms and rapid growth make passionflower a standout choice for ornamenting blank walls and spaces needing more exotic flair. Just be sure to allow enough room for this vigorous climber.
20. Carolina Jessamine – Gelsemium Sempervirens
Native to the warm southeastern United States, Carolina jessamine is an evergreen vining plant that can lend its graceful habit to garden walls. In early spring, abundant fragrant yellow trumpet-shaped blooms emerge along its vines, blanketing vertical surfaces with cheery color.
Plant Carolina jessamine at the base of sunny walls in fertile, well-drained soil. It can tolerate partial shade but does best with at least 6 hours of direct sun. Train the vines up trellises, meshes, strings, or other supports attached to the wall. Carolina jessamine grows quickly, easily reaching 10 feet or more in height.
Prune as needed to keep growth in check and maintain shape. Take care not to overwater and avoid soggy soil. This hardy vine has few pests or diseases to trouble it when given proper cultural care and conditions.
The glossy green foliage provides an attractive backdrop when not in bloom.
21. Morning Glory – Ipomoea
For gorgeous summer flower power on garden walls, look no further than annual morning glory. The trumpet-shaped blooms unfurl in a range of lovely hues like purple, blue, magenta, pink, white, and more depending on the variety. Morning glory is easy to grow from seed directly sown in the garden in spring after frost danger has passed.
Plant the seeds at the base of a trellis, mesh, wires, or strings attached to the wall where you want the vines to climb. Morning glories grow incredibly fast, quickly covering vertical surfaces with their twisting stems, tendrils, and heart-shaped leaves. Flowering lasts from summer into fall. Site morning glory in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist.
To encourage more prolific blooms, pinch off the vine tips after the fourth set of leaves. At the end of the season, morning glory can self-seed, returning reliably each year. Collect and save its unique seeds to sow the following spring.
With proper siting and care, morning glory will eagerly clamber up walls for an impressive floral display.
The Possibilities Are Endless
Now that your creative wheels are turning, visualize these natural wonders scaling and spilling over your vertical gardens! With this diverse plant palette, the possibilities are endless.
Select plants with the right growing conditions, care needs, and aesthetics to create your ideal living wall art. Then unleash your masterpieces!
Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.