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Climbing Plants Help Beauty Grow

Climbing plants can give your property a special look.

And The Early Show's resident green thumb, Charlie Dimmock, offered a primer on them Tuesday.

She discussed some of the most popular climbing plants, appropriate supports and trellises, and the best ways to attach plants to trellises.

Dimmock also detailed ways to grow one of her favorites: roses.

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Wisteria is a familiar climbing plant. This perennial can "sulk" after you buy it, meaning it may not flower much the first year or so. There's nothing you can do about this, just sit back and wait.

Honeysuckle is another popular perennial. Although both honeysuckle and wisteria will basically grow on any surface, including your house, Dimmock recommends restricting the plants to a trellis, so you can control where they grow.

The plants need to be pruned and cared for, which can be difficult if the vines are approaching the second floor of your home.

You can also buy climbing plants that are annuals, such as morning glory. These plants only live for one season, so you'll find that they grow quickly and flower prolifically.

Dimmock likes to mix her perennial climbers in with her annuals. The colorful lush annuals help spice up the more slowly-growing perennials.

You should know how dense and large your climber is going to become before deciding where you want it to grow. There are some beautiful trellises and metal frames now that can be considered decorative garden elements on their own. You don't want to obscure these items with an aggressive plant. On the other hand, if you have a plain wooden trellis obscuring an ugly view, you probably do want to train a lush plant over it.

Dimmock suggests training climbing plants to climb sideways, not just straight up. That keeps their blooms at eye level, where you can enjoy them. To do this, you're going to need to tie the vines to your chosen support. You should avoid using twine or string, since it can cut into the plant and hurt it.

If you're working with climbing roses, wear thick gloves: Their thorns can hurt!

As for those roses: To keep them looking absolutely stunning, totally full of blossoms, you have to keep deadheading and remove all the old flowers. Once the cluster's finished, take the whole thing off and just cut above the leaf.

Another thing to remember about your roses is that, once you've had your first flush of flowers, you feed it with a rose feed. That way, you'll get a second lot.

Climbing roses often go woody and bare at the base, which doesn't look very attractive. If you want to cover that up, go for an annual climber, such as sweet peas or rhodeacyton. Its known as "purple bells," it's got lovely purple bell-shaped flowers that go on all through the summer, and it will actually end up climbing all the way up through into the roses, but still be colorful at the base.

With your climbing roses, its definitely worth training the side stems so they run horizontally along a wire. That way you get flowers all along the stem. If you let them just grow straight upwards, you'll find you'll have flowers high up, but you won't be able to see them, and you won't be able to smell them so easily.

Sweet peas are one of Dimmock's favorite climbing plants, because they come in lots of colors and have a fantastic scent. If you want to grow them, do it up a nice, twiggy support, but weave in all the little twigs, because it makes it easier for the sweet pea to climb, and they use the little tendrils to haul themselves up.

If you're going to have a pergola covered in climbing plants, rather than using all the same ones, make sure you mix them up. That way, you'll have a lot more interest all through the year. You could have several clematis, painted vine wisteria, and even roses and grapevine; it will be must more interesting and a lot prettier.

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