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?

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
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

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

Ripe fruit of Melothria pendula (Guadaloupe cucumber)
July 22, 2014 - I see the pictures of the guadualupe cucumber plant. The fruit is still green. When it matures does it look like a small tomato? I have noticed the vine when the fruit is ripe. This is in McLennan C...
view the full question and answer

Plants to cover rock wall in Pennsylvania
July 10, 2008 - Please recommend plants that I could use to plant on the (full sun) slightly sloped ground space above a 3 foot high, 20 foot long unattractive stone wall that would grow over and down to cover the wa...
view the full question and answer

Is Passiflora 'Purple Haze' a host to Gulf Frittilary butterflies?
September 14, 2011 - Is the passion flower purple haze (pasionaria purple haze) a host plant to gulf frittilary butterflies as is the passiflora incarnata passion flower?
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for erosion from Austin
May 03, 2014 - I live in Austin and my house backs up to Shoal Creek. I am looking for a native creeping vine or something that will grow on the shaded bank to help prevent erosion. It should be able to tolerate the...
view the full question and answer

Blossoms but no fruit for gooseberries in Enoch UT
January 16, 2010 - My gooseberries always get loads of blossoms, but I never get fruit. I think they need more sun, and thus, want to transplant them to a sunnier location. What (and when) is the best way to do this?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center