En Español

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 a vine with 3 leaves and a red trunk
January 02, 2014 - What is a vine with 3 leaves that has a red trunk?
view the full question and answer

Native vine for fence on youth baseball field
March 15, 2016 - Our community in Comanche, Texas would like to plant a native vine on the back fence of a youth baseball field. We have plans to plant an area of native grasses behind the fence, between the fence an...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with white flower and \
May 02, 2008 - I have a vine intruding from my neighbors yard that has small white blooms on them (similar to morning glories) and on the stem of the flower below the bloom, a "tiny watermelon" is growing..... It ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of bush/vine with purple berries
August 09, 2014 - I was clearing fence line and came across this plant it looks like a Bush but underneath grows like a vine it has long broad leaves that reminded me of Polk salad but it grows berry clusters the berri...
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine for shade in Southern California
May 11, 2012 - Flowering climbing plant for shade in Palm Desert, CA.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center