Akebia quinata Chocolate vine

Five plants for a north-facing wall

We pick five choice plants to grow in the dry, shady conditions created by a north-facing wall or fence.

North-facing walls can be some of the trickiest areas to plant – the combination of dry soil and shade make it a difficult place for many plants to grow.


However, with the right choices, you can transform a north-facing wall or fence into valuable part of the garden. Before you plant, be sure to prepare the ground carefully – read our five tips for planting in shade.

If you also need inspiration for a north-facing border, check out our recommended plants for a north-facing border.

Discover five plants for a north-facing wall, below.

With the right choices, you can transform a north-facing wall into a valuable part of the garden.


Chaenomeles x superba

These supremely tough shrubs are matched in beauty, making them ideal plants for a north-facing wall. Pretty spring blossoms are followed by fragrant fruits in autumn. Will happily grow in a wide range of different soils.



Clematis alpina

Clematis alpina is native to the mountains of central Europe and northeastern Asia, so it’s no wonder it can cope with growing up a benign north-facing wall. Lovely flowers and foliage, and pruning isn’t essential to boot.



Akebia quinata

This sumptuous climber is commonly known as the chocolate vine, alluding to the intensely-coloured, aromatic blooms. Can grow quickly once established, so be prepared to keep it in check.




Ivy copes extremely well with dry shade. To make a splash against a shady fence, try growing one with variegated leaves. Hedera colchica ‘Sulphur Heart’ (sometimes sold as ‘Paddy’s Pride’ has large leaves that are splashed with yellow – perfect for brightening a shady spot.



Virginia creeper

Turning rich crimson as soon as the frosty nights arrive, Parthenocissus henryana is a fast-growing, self-clinging climber, ideal for a north-facing boundary. Its colour will be more vibrant with a bit of sun during the day.


Improve your soil

Before you plant, make sure you improve the soil you’ll be planting in by incorporating plenty of organic matter, such as leaf mould. Here’s our full advice on how to improve your soil.