The Q&A Archives: Plants To Espalier In Shade

Question: Are there any plants suitable for espaliering against a brick garage wall which faces north and east? It gets some sunshine in the spring during the morning only. The rest of the time the wall is in shade, so obviously I am not looking for fruit trees such as pear, etc. There is a deep overhanging roof as well, which means the soil is fairly dry, though it could be watered as needed with no problem...

Answer: The plant that jumps to mind for this is the climbing hydrangea or Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris. It needs a rich, well drained but moist soil (meaning not soggy)and is self clinging. As a result, it can be trained in the shape of a traditional espalier and looks lovely against a brick wall; the blooms are white and the foliage is a clean pleasant green. The main drawback is that it grows very slowly for the first two or three years until it becomes established.

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