Annual climber pot display

Do it:

May, Jun

Takes just:

one hour

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug

The bright, cheery colours of Spanish flag (Ipomoea lobata, formerly known as Mina lobata) and Canary creeper, Tropaeolum peregrinum, combine to make a stunning summer pot display.

Canary creeper is an easy-to-grow relative of nasturtium. You might have to trim its fig-like leaves to let the Spanish flag flowers truly shine. Set off these two annual climbers to perfection by planting delicate but colourful bedding plants around the base of the display.

Don't be tempted to plant out tender young seedlings, which are vulnerable to slugs and late frosts. Wait until plants are hardened off and a good 30cm high before potting up in large containers somewhere sheltered and sunny.

How to grow annual climbers from seed

You will need

  • Spanish flag, Ipomoea lobata x1
  • Canary creeper, Tropaeolum peregrinum x1
  • Bidens ferulifolia 'Golden Eye' x3
  • Lysimachia punctata 'Gaulthier Brousse'
  • 44cm square tub
  • 1.2m willow wig-wam
  • John Innes No.3 compost
  • Multi-purpose compost


Plant up pots in position as they'll be heavy to move later. Put a few bits of broken pot over the drainage hole to stop compost washing away while allowing excess water to drain.

Fill your large pot up to about two-thirds full of compost. Use a half-and-half blend of John Innes No.3 and multi-purpose compost, to ensure a balanced potting mix.

Make a hole in the centre of the compost, remove climbers from their pots and plant 15cm apart. Firm the compost around the climbers, making sure there are no air pockets around the rootballs.

Place the willow support carefully over the top of the climbers. Push the legs firmly into the compost, ensuring the structure is even by checking the support's bands are horizontal.

Plant colourful bedding around the pot's rim to complement the colours of the climbers. Small-flowered plants work best, because they won't swamp the delicate flowers of the climbers.

Encourage climbers onto the support by tying stems with soft twine to the willow, leaving some give in the twine so that the stems don't break in the wind and have space to grow.


Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith says...

Don’t worry if you haven’t got a willow wigwam or obelisk, as it’s easy to make a homespun support with bamboo canes and garden twine. The climbing plants will quickly disguise your creation, meaning it doesn’t matter if it looks a bit rough round the edges.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

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