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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - February 07, 2008

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


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.


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

Bignonia capreolata

Scarlet beeblossom
Gaura coccinea

Swamp leatherflower
Clematis crispa

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

Ipomoea cordatotriloba var. cordatotriloba

Atlantic pigeonwings
Clitoria mariana

Decumaria barbara

Carolina snailseed
Cocculus carolinus

More Vines Questions

Plants for a moist, wooded area in North Carolina
December 06, 2014 - I am looking to plant some native flowers in a wooded area in Surry County NC. The chosen location is fully shaded beside a creek. The water table typically sets about 2 feet below the surface of th...
view the full question and answer

Texas natives for a small garden with red flowers
October 03, 2009 - I have a garden that is 4' deep, what can I put there that is a Texas native, I would really like some color (preferably red)also it needs to be able to grow tall (8 - 10')
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine from Las Vegas NV
July 11, 2012 - I'm interested in identifying the vine shown by the leaf in this photo: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/zR3R4JSPYcCI4ESczNXWM4h8z33Cq5cyZNqSSYf9hx0?feat=directlink My mother-in-law got one o...
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine that will bloom in East Texas in March
October 08, 2008 - What kind of flowering vine will bloom at the end of March in New Caney, Tex. 77357?
view the full question and answer

Poison ivy? vine in NJ
July 30, 2012 - I have a vine growing among some vegetation in my backyard. It has a leaf with 3 "points" with ridges along its edges. The smaller leaves are reddish which is why I thought poison ivy but definite...
view the full question and answer

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