The success of a green facade is primarily dependent on the selection of the right climber plants and supporting structure.

While a proper climbing structure can be ensured by choosing various options from the Tensile product range, plant species selection should be done through proper understanding of the location and micro-climate of the site. The latter requires a sound understanding of the various types of climbing plants, the right selection of which will ensure plant prosperity and green facade success.

Tensile recommends climbing plants that work their way to the light. The following categories of climbing plants are suitable for vertical garden walls. Learn how, when and where these plants work, grow and thrive with particular support structures and environments.

Vines (Twining Plants)

Twining species such as Chinese Wisteria, Star Jasmine, Native Sarsaparilla, Wonga Wonga Vine and Madagascar Jasmine tend to be quite hardy and therefore, work best with vertical stainless steel cables. The vertical cable allows the plant to coil and loop its way around in a circular motion. Multiple vertical cables can be used to create a facade with the separation between the cables determined by the density of the plant.

Leaf and Leaf-Stem Climbers

Also known as tendril climbers, Kangaroo Vine, Passion Flowers and Orange Trumpet Creeper are best used with a cross-hatch of vertical horizontal members, allowing the plants ample scope to spread out. Featuring abundant foliage and diverse flower options, these plants can bring substance to living green walls.

Scrambling Plants

Though many scrambling plants will not reach the heights of other plant types listed in this article, these varieties also have their place in living wall gardens. Plants such as Bougainvillea, Lady Banks Rose and Cape Honeysuckle work beautifully at the base of large facades or on their own on smaller structures, supported by horizontal cables. These species are great for their capacity to handle a warm climate.

What not to plant

Those planning green facades and living wall gardens are advised to avoid adhesive suckers and root climbers because of the tensile elements used when building the vertical garden. The stainless steel cables used to support these green walls lack the porous material the plants need to help them climb.

Tensile also advises prior consultation with a landscape consultant before species selection and installation. By doing so, one can avoid situations where the climbers attach to the top, leaving the bottom of the structure threadbare. One should also understand that there is a direct relationship between the climbing plant and the structure that will be supporting it.

With careful species and trellis selection combined with ongoing maintenance, the result will be a fantastic lush vertical garden wall with all its benefits of amenity, sun-shading and cooling.

Tensile Design & Construct offers a full service from design conceptualisation through to installation on all scales of green facades.