En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - June 14, 2007

From: San Luis Obispo, CA
Region: California
Topic: Vines
Title: Native, non-invasive vines for wall cover in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I live on the Central Coast in California. I have a stucco garage wall, which receives full sun, and faces West. I would like to plant a climbing vine to cover the wall, and was considering a climbing fig or Boston Ivy until reading of problems with their invasive/ destructive nature. Do you have any suggestions?


Congratulations for your choice of natives over invasives! Here are several native alternatives to the invasives you named:

Lathyrus splendens (pride of California)

Lathyrus vestitus (Pacific pea)

Lonicera ciliosa (orange honeysuckle)

Lonicera hispidula (pink honeysuckle)

Marah fabaceus (California manroot)

Parthenocissus vitacea (Woodbine)

Rubus leucodermis (whitebark raspberry)

Rubus ursinus (California blackberry)

Vitis californica (California wild grape) (There is also a variety of this plant called "Roger's Red" that has showy red fall leaves.)

If you visit the Theodore Payne Foundation California Native Plant Library and choose by "Type" you can see more information about some of these and other native vines for California.

Lathyrus splendens

Lonicera ciliosa

Lonicera hispidula

Marah fabaceus





More Vines Questions

Bird-friendly plants for the Texas coast
July 13, 2012 - I'm interested in starting a native plant garden, specifically with an eye towards providing food (either from the plants or insects that are attracted to the plants) for migratory birds. However, s...
view the full question and answer

Native flowering vine for Central Texas
August 25, 2008 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I need a Texas native, flowering, climbing plant to climb up a post or trellis. Any suggestions? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Vine for trellis in Brooklyn, New York
June 11, 2014 - Hello, I am looking for a native vine to grow on a trellis in a large container. I live in Brooklyn, NY, and the area is in part shade. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plant to hang over and cover a wall
May 21, 2010 - HI! this is a stumper for me! I have a 6 foot wall bracing a hill on one side and a lawn on the other. It is currently cement and I would like to find something to cover it --evergreen would be the...
view the full question and answer

Virginia creeper in trees
April 26, 2008 - Can Virginia creeper be allowed to climb on trees--specifically Texas ash and live oak--or will it damage them if allowed to attach itself? We are thinking of using it as erosion control in a greenbe...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center