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

Tuesday - February 05, 2008

From: McKinney, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Vines
Title: Care for cultivar of native Bignonia capreolata
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I planted Dragon Lady Cross Vines at the end of the fall last year. When would be the best time to trim them. I live in the Dallas area. They look kind of beat up right now and I thought if I trimmed them that would help. Is it a good time to do that? Thanks!


"Dragon Lady" is a trade name for a cultivar, but it is North American native plant Bignonia capreolata (crossvine). This plant is often confused with Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper). Both are members of the Bignoniaceae (Trumpet-Creeper) Family. Both can be very aggressive, and, over time, outright invasive, although it seems the Campsis radicans is more guilty of this that the Bignonia capreolata, which is the plant you have. Under the circumstances, you would be well advised to keep them trimmed and keep an eye out for suckers or runners where you don't want them. This is a very good time of year to do the trimming, as most plants are pretty dormant right now, even the evergreen ones. Since this is a very aggressive grower, you can't be too aggressive in trimming. Use your pruning shears both to control and shape it. It will tolerate shade but blooms better in the sun; don't fertilize it too much, it will grow lazy and forget to bloom.

Here is an article by some gardeners with experience in the "Dragon Lady" cultivar that will perhaps give you more specific information.


Bignonia capreolata

Campsis radicans



More Vines Questions

Vine for yard with morning sun in California
May 24, 2014 - Hi, What is a good perennial vine to grow on the front of our house? We would like a fragrant flower too. It will be on a wood support beam, helping cover some pipes we have there. It will be an e...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Virginia creeper
September 02, 2008 - I have a large Virginia creeper plant approximately 15 feet in length. Is it possible to transplant the whole thing without killing it? If so how do I care for it after it has been moved? Thank yo...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming wisteria in Oklahoma
June 24, 2008 - I have a wisteria bush that doesn't bloom. It's two years old. What should I do?
view the full question and answer

Native vine for privacy fence in Tennessee
September 29, 2008 - I am looking for a vine for privacy that grows in width not up; thru a standard 4' chain link fence. Colorfull. Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of a small itchy vine in Granbury, Texas
December 24, 2010 - I am clearing an area near some trees that has never been "domesticated". There is a little itchy vine that grows pretty extensively (not very much top growth, but is all over the place). The smal...
view the full question and answer

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