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Learn How & Why Your Plants Climb

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Most gardeners have a climbing plant or two adorning their property. Whether it's a decorative climber such as a wisteria or clematis or a functional plant such as pea pods and squash that you can eat later, climbing plants present a unique challenge to their owners. These plants require some kind of plant support to grow properly; without the ability to grow upwards, they won't receive the sunlight that they need to live. You can use a trellis, garden stakes, netting, or even your porch railings as plant support, but climbing plants will need something to latch onto in order to grow and bloom.

So how do these plants actually climb? Most of them use some kind of tendril, leaf, or a flexible stem that grows out from the plant with the express purpose of finding a support. Once the offshoot piece finds a support, it starts curling around it and pulling the plant upwards in that direction. Some tendrils or "scramblers" may be best suited to wrap around skinny objects, while others can wrap around a trellis just fine. Plants that use these methods have something similar to our sense of touch, as the curling action of a tendril only occurs after it comes into contact with something. Some plants have a much more sensitive touch response than humans.

Other plants might use sticky pads on their leaves that allow them to attach to almost anything, even the brick of your house or the bark of a tree. As all of these plants grow, they'll look for new ways to pull themselves up and continue their climb. Some plants can become invasive, though, and will need to be removed if they are causing problems by growing into the siding of your home. Clinging root stem climbers can be especially troublesome and may need to be removed by an expert to avoid damage to the siding of your home.

All plants climb with one purpose: sunlight. Instead of growing stems or trunks like other plants do to lift themselves up towards the sun, climbing plant simply use the other plants to move up. They use their energy differently than other plants. This adaptive growth allows them to move out of the shade and into the sunlight to get the nutrients they need from the photosynthesis process. It's a pretty cool solution for a plant that would other be buried and die on the forest floor, shaded by the taller surrounding plants. 

One way you can help your climbing plants thrive is create a climbing-friendly environment. Some plants, such as peas, will prefer netting or string while others will do better with a sturdy structure like garden stakes clamped together with  C-BITE stake grips or a trellis. You can speak to your local garden shop to determine what kind of plant support is right for your climbing plants. You can then pick up C-BITE stake grips to create the perfect climbing environment, because our plant clamps have space for netting, string, and ties to be attached directly to the unit. Give your climbing plants the room  and the climbing area that they need to flourish!