Three plant pots for climber plants.

How to Pot Up Climbers in Containers

Many of the more compact climbers, such as jasmine and some clematis cultivars, are well suited to being grown in pots, and add another layer of interest to areas such as patios or pathways where there is no soil. All they need is a good-sized container, suitable support, and regular watering and feeding.

When to start: Spring.

At their best: Summer.

Time to complete: 1½ hours.

You will need: Jasmine or other climber, a large frost-proof pot, broken clay pot pieces, soil-based mix, trellis, twine, gravel or pebbles to mulch, watering can.

Before you plant

Put pieces of broken clay pot into the base of the container to aid drainage, and then cover with a layer of soil. Position the support at the back of the container and then pack some soil around it to help hold it firmly in place. Make sure that there is enough room for the plant roots to spread out.

Angle plant toward trellis

Part-fill the container with more soil. Set the climber on top to check that it will be at the same depth as it was in its pot when planted. Plant it with the stems angled toward the trellis. There should be a gap of 2 in (5 cm) between the compost surface and the rim of the pot.

Tie in main stems

Remove any supports the plant has been grown on. Tie the main stems loosely to the trellis with twine. When the stems have hardened, remove the ties and tie in new growth higher up the trellis.

Water in well

Water in well and place a layer of gravel or pebbles on top of the compost to minimize evaporation from the surface. This will also keep the roots cool, and improve the appearance of the pot.


Many clematis are naturally compact and flower when still small, but take care to choose the right type. To keep clematis compact, cut back the stems of summer-flowering plants, such as Clematis florida, in late winter. Leave unpruned those that flower before late spring, such as C. alpine and C. macropetala, because they bloom on the previous year’s growth.