Choose a country to see content specific to your location

Skip to main content

Propagation & Cultivation of Climbers

Published on August 28th 2019
A small bird perched on a tree branch
Most climbing species can be grown from cuttings during the warmer summer months. Root in a well-drained container of moist sand. Keep in partial shade and water well. Some species can simply be grown from cuttings in situ like the Senecios, Aloe ciliaris and other semi-succulent species. Others, such as the elephant's foot Dioscorea elephan­tipes, can only be grown from seed.

Planting and Pruning

For planting vigorous woody climbers, prepare a hole 50x50 cm and mix a third of the soil volume with compost and fill up the hole. The plant can now be planted and should be watered well. Bone meal is rich is phosphates and will enhance flowering and disease resistance. The soil left over can now be used to make a wall around the hole to hold the water.
Prune whenever needed. Specimen plants, such as the elephant's-foot, are best grown in a container but will do well elsewhere provided it has good drainage. The succulent stem of the elephant's-foot is subject to sunburn and should be partly shaded. The following mixture is recommended for containers: 2 parts sand, 1 part loam (garden soil) and 1 part compost and an ample helping of bone meal.


Most of our climbers are vigorous growers and annual feeding with inorganic or organic fertilizer will enhance their performance. Annual composting and a twice-yearly dressing of 2:3:2 in spring and summer is advised. These can also be grown in containers.

Indigenous climbers

Natal Bauhinia

Bauhinia natalensis

Gloriosa superba fresh flower on left mature on right

Flame Lily

Gloriosa superba

Jasminum multipartitum

Starry Wild Jasmine

Jasminum multipartitum


Plumbago spp.

A close up of a cluster of the blue flowers of Plumbago auriculata.


Plumbago auriculata


Thunbergia spp.

A header page with the words Image Coming Soon surrounded by an illustrated border of flowers.

Kei White Bauhinia

Bauhinia bowkerii

A close up of some succulent green leaves on a Aloiampelos ciliaris plant

Common Climbing Aloe

Aloiampelos ciliaris

Ivy-Leaved Pelargonium

Pelargonium peltatum

Clock Vine 'African Sunset'

Thunbergia alata 'African Sunset'



Podranea spp.

Clock Vine

Thunbergia alata


Senecio spp.

Pride of De Kaap

Bauhinia galpinii

Large Forest Asparagus

Asparagus falcatus

Clock Vine

Thunbergia alata

A Zeyheria plant in the wild


Zeyheria spp.

Related articles

A close up of a tree branch

In the garden


Pruning climbers

Climbing plants make their way up in the world by clinging and twining around natural or man-made support. Due to this growth...
A close up of a flower on a plant

In the garden


Indigenous climbers for the garden

Most gardens need climbers. They can be grown on pergolas, as barrier plants along fences, against buildings to soften walls...