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GardenSMART :: 5 Perfect Plants for a North-Facing Wall

5 Perfect Plants for a North-Facing Wall

By Kate Karam, Monrovia
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia

There are plenty of really beautiful (and surprising) plants that not only thrive in the gloomy, dark, cool, and typically dry conditions of a north-facing wall, but many bloom up a storm, too. Some are natural climbers, while others are shrubs that you either leave alone to sprawl or prune to grow against a wall.

If this sounds familiar–the only time your north-facing wall gets any direct sunlight is in the first and last few hours of the day at midsummer–then take a look at these five easy-to-grow favorites.

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Pamela Jackman Alpine Clematis

Native to the mountains of central Europe and northeastern Asia, it's no wonder it can cope with growing in challenging conditions. Covered in masses of nodding deep blue blooms in late spring. Train on a wall or let it wend and weave through nearby shrubs or trees. Zone: 3 – 9

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Toyo-Nishiki Flowering Quince

Invaluable for early spring color, Japanese quince is an incredibly easy shrub to grow. It's tolerant of virtually any soil and waterwise once established. (This flowering shrub also does well in east-facing conditions). Zone: 5 – 9

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Lacy Hearts™ Chinese Hydrangea Vine

Self-clinging by nature, this extremely rare selection lights up a north-facing wall with shimmering foliage and creamy white flowers in flattened flowerheads in midsummer. Zone: 6 – 9

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Nuccio's Gem Camellia

Camellias are an excellent option for growing against north facing walls in a protected spot as they're shielded from the morning sun that can burn blooms. Sparkling white, double flowers come on mid-winter. Zone: 8 – 10

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Fiveleaf Akebia

This luxuriously fast-growing climber is commonly known as the chocolate vine, due to the intensely-colored, aromatic blooms. Climbs and twines to cover a wall (may require support such as a trellis or sturdy twine strung horizontally). Zone: 5 – 9

We would love to hear your thoughts on this vexing garden space and if you have questions, email me at [email protected]. For much more about gardening, plants, solutions, and ideas, visit our exciting new blog, Grow Beautifully. While you're there, be sure to sign up for our award-winning monthly newsletter, Plant Savvy.


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