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
1 rating

Thursday - June 26, 2008

From: Richardson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Regenerating old cross-vines in Richardson, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have been asked to landscape a memorial garden at church. The garden is small and has a 10x 15-foot brick wall around the back in a c-shape in full sun. Planted on the wall are several very overgrown crossvine plants. Before going to the effort of taking out these old vines, I'd like to see if I could get them to bloom. Could you cut them back 4-5 feet now (June) and would they bloom on new wood?


Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) is a Texas native, and an excellent choice for the location you have described. It is evergreen, or nearly so, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and is not nearly as aggressive as some of its related species, like Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper). Crossvine can nearly always be benefited by trimming or pruning, the question being what is the best time of year to do so? It is a very early bloomer, beginning sometimes in February and blooming until May. Pruning now will certainly encourage more blooming next Spring, but you can't expect any more than an occasional bloom from now until then. When you prune it depends more on the urgency of executing your landscaping. We would personally prefer not to prune in the summer, not so much because of the stress on the plant but on the gardener. However, if the vine is already in the way of other plants, we would say whack away. It is a very sturdy survivor, so you could trim it down at least 4-5 feet, give it some water and maybe a little fertilizer with phosphorus, and see what happens. Take this opportunity to thin it out, also, cutting crowded vines down to the root collar and opening the plant up to better air circulation. To keep it from growing where you do not want it to, continue to pluck out or trim off new sprouts from the ground and trim to keep in bounds. This will permit it to be a nice neat background to the other landscaping now, and a burst of color in the Spring.

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata




More Vines Questions

Plants for a Steep, Sunny Slope in Iowa
April 28, 2013 - I am looking for plants native to Iowa for a steep, sunny slope or groundcover.
view the full question and answer

Edibility of peppervine berries from Madison MS
February 09, 2012 - I am following up on a question I've posed to many well experienced foragers and naturalists regarding the pepper vine plant or Ampelopsis arbor. There are many conflicting stories regarding the edib...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for roadside in Gallatin TN
February 19, 2012 - What native plant would you suggest that we try to establish on 100 feet of road frontage which gets full afternoon sun? The soil is mostly clay, and it's on a rather sleep hill about 10 feet high. ...
view the full question and answer

Vines for an arbor
November 02, 2012 - We're building an arbor in a 9 1/2 x 12-ft area on the south side of an urban lot. It's bordered by two-story buildings on the south and west and has a tall,sparsely leaved pecan tree on its northea...
view the full question and answer

Are grape vines killing oaks in San Antonio
December 20, 2009 - I have some large live oaks growing in sand on some property I have south of San Antonio that are slowly dying one limb at a time. Some large mustang grape vines are growing in and around them and I ...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center