Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 28, 2008

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Native vines to cover limestone walls in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are moving into a house in Austin that has three tiered 5'- 6' retaining walls in the back yard. They are huge and somewhat of an eye sore. We have some cool landscaping ideas to make the most of what we have, but we want to cover the limestone walls with vines. I want to cover these walls with vines as fast as possible. My question is: What is the heartiest, fastest growing and most dense vine that will grow well in Austin? It could be watered daily or not at all. Could you please give me a few options and winter maintenance. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Depending on which you select, they will need to be planted on the top of the wall to drape down or the bottom of the wall to climb up. Follow the plant links and read the description of each to decide what works for you.

Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) - deciduous, red, orange blooms June to September

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) - evergreen, red blooms March to June

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) - deciduous, white, green blooms May and June

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) - semi-evergreen, red, yellow blooms from March to May

The Virginia creeper has no colorful blooms, and its tendrils have adhesive tips, permitting it to climb up walls without support.

The other three all have colorful blooms and are attractive to hummingbirds. Both the trumpet creeper and the crossvine can climb walls without support, using either aerial rootlets or winding tendrils, so they could both be planted at the base of a wall. The trumpet honeysuckle should be treated as a ground cover, planted at the top of a wall and trained to trail down. All four of these vines can be invasive, and many people regard the Virginia creeper as a weed. We would recommend the Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) as probably your best bet on all your requirements. Whichever you choose, you will have to keep an eye on it and don't let it get out of bounds. Your neighbors might not thank you for it.


Campsis radicans

Lonicera sempervirens

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Bignonia capreolata

 

 

 

 

More Vines Questions

Identification of possible Hairy Cluster Vine or Clematis
May 28, 2007 - I found a small twining vine with purple to lavender, tubular flowers hanging on one side of the stem. The leaves are very narrow and alternate about 3/4"-1" long. I found them on the side of the ...
view the full question and answer

Information about mustang grapes
March 14, 2016 - We live in the Driftwood area. There is a native vine that looks like Mustang grape but never produces. A friend who is native to this area called it rat vine. I miss my Mustang grape jelly. Is t...
view the full question and answer

Looking for seed for Clematis drummondii in Granbury, TX.
November 29, 2010 - I am trying to landscape with native Texas plants. I want a Clematis drummondii and have no idea where to get one. I read it grows readily from seeds, but I cannot locate any. Can you help. Also, ...
view the full question and answer

Can a mustang grape and an oak coexist in Austin
November 04, 2009 - I have a healthy mustang grape vine growing on an oak in my yard. While the vine provides plenty of good food and a pleasant environment for many birds throughout the year, I feel it is overtaking the...
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing non-native Wisteria from Austin
June 25, 2012 - How do I distinguish a native wisteria from a non-native wisteria?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.