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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - December 12, 2013

From: Silverado, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Vines for fence, safe for horses in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in a fire prone part of Orange County, CA named Silverado and own horses. Am interested in fast growing vines to cover a fenced area which are horse safe. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Both The Theodore Payne Foundation (located in Sun Valley) and Las Pilitas Nursery (located in Santa Margarita and Escondido) have lists of commercially available California native plants that can be used as a vine.  You can also get a list of California native vines from our Native Plant Database by using the COMBINATION SEARCH feature and choosing "California" from the Select State or Province box and "Vine" from Habit (general appearance).  This will give you a list of 50 native California vines.   However, they are not all commericially available.   Some are not suitable for a fence and a few are toxic to horses.  You can look through the list, however, and see if there are some that appeal to you.   You would then need to check them against toxic plant databases such as:

For your searches in the toxic plant databases, I recommend using the more precise botanical name rather than the variable common name.  Here are some recommendations of vines or vine-like shrubs that are native to Orange County and are not found on any of the above toxic plant databases:

Calystegia macrostegia (Island false bindweed)  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and here is information from The Theodore Payne Foundation about a cultivar, Calystegia marcrostegia 'Anacapa Pink'.  They also have more subspecies of this morning glory.

Vitis girdiana (Desert wild grape)  Here is more information from  Las Pilitas Nursery.   The Theodore Payne Foundation says that the fruits are toxic to dogs. 

Vitis californica (California grape) Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.   Theodore Payne Foundation says that the fruits are toxic to dogs.

Lonicera subspicata (Chaparral honeysuckle) is an evergreen vine-like shrub that can be trained to climb on a fence.  Here are a couple of varieties from The Theodore Payne Foundation website:

Lonicera hispidula (Pink honeysuckle) Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and information from Theodore Payne Foundation about a variety, Lonicera hispidula var. vacillans.

Keckiella cordifolia (Heartleaf keckiella)   Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and from The Theodore Payne Foundation.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Island false bindweed
Calystegia macrostegia

Desert wild grape
Vitis girdiana

Pink honeysuckle
Lonicera hispidula

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