Growing plants in a south or west facing garden is relatively straight-forward. The aspects we are asked about most often are Plants for a North Facing Wall or for an East Facing Wall or Garden. An east facing wall has a special set of planting requirements, but it’s not difficult to plant it up to best effect. The challenge here is that plants must be able to tolerate the variable light and temperature conditions of an east facing site. This includes morning sun and afternoon shade during the summertime and added frosts followed by a rapid morning thaw in the winter. Not all plants can cope with these changeable conditions, so the best plants for an east facing wall are adaptable and able to switch from hot to cold conditions without sustaining damage. Here’s how you can plant up that difficult east facing wall space with some superstar plants.
Bigger Could Be Cheaper
Planning a new border is costly and young plants reduce that initial outlay. If you plan to buy young plants, you’ll need to take extra care of them or prepare to pay out twice because the changeable conditions can be too much for young plants to cope with. Keep young plants on an east facing wall healthy with plenty of water and frost protection with fleece if low temperatures are predicted. Beware of feeding them too often in spring as well because the soft leafy growth spurt brought on by feeding is susceptible to cold winds, frost, and hot sun. We specialise in large mature plants which cost more but are more likely to survive an eastern position. They also give you massive immediate impact without a wait.
Check Your Soil
Soil conditions on an east facing wall are often baked dry by the sun and frozen to ice by frosts. Before you plant anything there add lots of organic matter which holds onto moisture and gives your plants plenty of nutrients to survive the conditions.
Back of the Border Plants
You’ll need height from super-tough climbers at the back of an east facing border. Some of the best climbers for an east facing wall are honeysuckle, virginia creeper, berberis, chocolate vine, pyracantha, nicotiana, and variegated ivy. These climbers put on a fantastic leafy show with pretty flowers and provide food for pollinators. Pyracantha and berberis are also laden with berries for birds in autumn and berberis has the added bonus of fiery autumnal colours.
If you prefer showy flowering climbers a tough clematis montana rubens will flower in an east facing border. Fix a sturdy support to the fence or brickwork on an east facing wall as these climbers can get large and heavy especially after rain.
Plants For The Mid-Section
In the middle of an east facing border you need some height, width and texture. An Acanthus Mollis, best known as ‘bear’s breeches’, is a great choice as it’s tough and loves the afternoon shade. Hostas are another great mid-border filler as are hydrangeas such as the ever-popular RHS AGM white flowering Annabelle.
If you fancy something a bit different to flowering shrubs then grasses are an unusual choice and they are tough enough to withstand an east facing wall’s climate. The ornamental grass Hakonenchloa Macra Aureola has striking golden foliage and also holds the RHS AGM.
You may have noticed there are a lot of AGMs in this blog and that’s because plants for an east facing wall need to be tough and productive – this is exactly what the RHS looks for in an AGM plant.
Front Of The Border Plants
Some of the best low growers for the front of an east facing wall are types of topiary. Topiary comes in lots of different shapes that bring texture and interest to a leafy border. Spirals for example are unusual and create lots of movement. Ilex Crenata globes are a good choice as are yew spirals.
Yew is a great plant for an east facing border as it’s one of our oldest native trees. It’s tough and isn’t fussed by changes in temperature. Try low-growing yew domes that are easy to keep in shape with a twice-yearly trim and look spectacular. Add a few anemones, yarrows, and a few morning sun-loving irises for a pop of summer colour if you miss flowers. They will grow happily amid the structural topiary.
The Best Plants For An East Facing Wall
You can’t wrong with our recommendations when you’re planting up an east facing wall, but if there’s something else that takes your fancy check the label for frost resistance and see how much sun it needs.
Be sure to look out for plants that can cope with both shade and sun plus frosts. An east facing wall needs adaptable plants to thrive but choose well and your east facing border can look spectacular all year round.