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Mr. Smarty Plants - Plants to trail down wall in South Carolina

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Thursday - February 07, 2008

From: Seneca, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Plants to trail down wall in South Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Good day, I am putting in a stacked mortarless concrete block retaining wall which will rise to the forest floor along a cut bank - about 4 feet high. Each course steps back about one inch from the face of the one below. What native or relatively native plants can I plant in the top block cavities which will cover the top and / or cascade down the side of the wall? At this point I do not wish to cover the entire wall face. The area is adjacent to a "natural area" (wetland) along a small brook "estuary" into a reservoir. The face of the wall looks northwest. It gets late afternoon sun. Otherwise, partially shaded, by beech and oak, among others. The base of the wall is at least 6 feet above and 20 feet from the reservoir at full pond - 40 feet from the brook at low water, as now. I can set the grade to extend the forest floor up to the level of the block top such that surface run-off will reach the wall [notwithstanding the gravel drain field on the back side of the wall (standard construction practice)] and run down the wall face. There will be no irrigation and no watering after establishment. Thank you.

ANSWER:

It sounds like the best bet for your wall is some sort of vine. Most vines will trail as well as climb and you could plant these in the top of the wall to trail down it. I suppose another possibility is to plant them at the base of the wall to climb up. The following are all native plants that grow in South Carolina.

These first three are evergreen.

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle)

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine)

Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower)

The following are not evergreen.

Clematis crispa (swamp leather flower)

Clematis virginiana (devil's darning needles)

Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower)

Ipomoea cordatotriloba var. cordatotriloba (tievine)

Clitoria mariana (Atlantic pigeonwings)

Decumaria barbara (woodvamp)

Cocculus carolinus (Carolina coralbead)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

You can also see on our web site a list of other South Carolina Recommended native plants that are commercially available and suitable for landscapes.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Scarlet beeblossom
Gaura coccinea

Swamp leatherflower
Clematis crispa

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

Tievine
Ipomoea cordatotriloba var. cordatotriloba

Atlantic pigeonwings
Clitoria mariana

Decumaria
Decumaria barbara

Carolina snailseed
Cocculus carolinus

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