Climbers – Habit & Number of Breaks/Shoots

climber several shootsIn recent years considerable developments have taken place to determine methods of specifying the habit (or plant shape) of woody plants.   A climber plants habit is best described as having several shoots.  A climber with several shoots is defined as a plant with a number of shoots arising from ground level.  Examples of these are Clematis spp., Campsis spp., Hedera spp., Hydrangea spp. and Parthenocissus spp.

The habit of the climber is further qualified by the number of branches or breaks which can be expected for a given size of specified plant.  The NPS clearly indicates the number of branches or breaks which can be expected for bare root and container grown climbers of a range of growth types and sizes.

Bare root Climbers

The number of branches, which is dependent of growth habit and size, may be specified for Parthenocissus quinquefolia and cvs. which are available bare root, the minimum number of branches is 3 for a plant with minimum height of 125 cm.

Container grown Climbers

The number of breaks occurring in the lower third of the plant may be specified. This is dependent on the habit and size of the climber.

Climber No. of breaks Climber No of breaks
Akebia spp. 3 Hydrangea spp. 2
Clematis spp. 2 Lonicera spp. 3
Hedera spp. 2 Parthenocissus spp. 2/3

These specifications cover climbers grown typically in 2-3 litre containers. This represents the majority of the plants for sale.  For larger container volumes, the overall height and number of breaks will increase in proportion of the habit and vigour of the plant.