Plant Identification of Tropical Climbers

Written by alicia howe
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Plant Identification of Tropical Climbers
Morning Glory is one of many types of tropical climbers. (morning glory image by JLycke from Fotolia.com)

Being able to identify one type of foliage from another is a useful skill when it comes to successfully growing gardens, operating a greenhouse or flower shop or guiding others along a path full of foliage. However, there are more types of tropical plants than any other type of plant, making the identification process difficult. Differentiating climbing plants from other types of tropical plants is a helpful place to start.

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Climber Overview

Climbing plants are popular in areas with little space or privacy. The climbers use less space by growing upward instead of out, and climbing plants are ideal for covering fences, arbors, trellises, sheds and walls. Almost all climbing plants display attractive flowers, and tropical climbers display the most unique array of flowers and hues compared to other groups of climbers.

Identification

Tropical climbers grow in areas with significantly warm climates or in heated greenhouses. Each type of tropical climber plant or vine displays flowers with its own unique hues, allowing you to identify it. Each type of climber also grows to a certain height, which is an easy way to identify a fully grown plant. According to Cambridge University, if tropical climbers begin to grow with no support available, they will look like a shrub. If support becomes available, they will continue as a climber.

Resources

Numerous resources are available that provide identification tips, along with advice on how to grow the different types of tropical climbers. JungleGardens.co.uk, for example, provides pictures of a variety of tropical climbers, and they also let you know the difficulty level of growing each type, whether it will grow in a greenhouse, and how much sun and water it needs. Encyclopedias are other helpful resources that provide pictures and information on climbers, as well as botanists at museums and flower shops.

Physical Appearance

Oftentimes the name of the tropical climber somewhat relates to the appearance of the plant, making it easier to identify types. For example, a golden trumpet vine most often displays large, bright yellow flowers. Herald's trumpet vine displays large white flowers, but both trumpet vines display oversized flowers that are shaped like trumpets. A bleeding heart vine displays white flowers with red centres, and sandpaper vines contain textured leaves that feel like sandpaper.

Living Requirements

Knowing where each type of tropical climber grows will also help you identify it. For example, if you find a tropical climber growing in full sunlight, it is most likely a climber that needs lots of sun, such as bastard jasmine or a perennial morning glory. If the plant is found in a greenhouse, it is a climber that can specifically survive in greenhouse conditions, such as chalice vine or clock vine. Knowing the specific requirements of each plant will help you identify it and help you choose the right plant for your location.

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