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Mr. Smarty Plants - Native vines to cover limestone walls in Austin

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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

 

 

 

 

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