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
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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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

Identity of vine in New York
September 30, 2013 - Hey there. I've recently found a "Wild Cucumber" vine in my backyard, which has been taking over our electric fence. Now I've stumbled across another very similar vine. They fruits are clustere...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a grapevine in San Antonio
May 20, 2009 - I planted a small grapevine that is growing well. I want to move it, (only tiny green grapes now, should be merlot) and wondering if I can do it now, mid May, or do I have to wait until fall? Not real...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification--vine with spiny pods in California
July 05, 2010 - I came across a vine while hiking in Orange County, CA. It didn't have flowers on it but has 3 or 4 inch spiny pods. What is it? The vine itself looks similar to a Morning Glory vine.
view the full question and answer

Vine Choices Scarce in Beaverton Oregon
June 08, 2012 - Hi, I am looking for a hearty vine that we could use to cling to and cover a cement wall that is about 8 feet tall and 30 feet long. It is on the south side of our house but never gets direct sunli...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of vine in Ohio
September 21, 2010 - I have a vine in my forest that grows up trees, that could eventually pull them over. It has roundleaves and prickers on the stem. What is this vine so I can research it?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center