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?


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 - July 21, 2008

From: Decatur, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native vine for shade on west side in Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have just put in a trellis to cover the west side of my house for shade. What would be the best native vine to put their for quick growth. I plan on putting a rose (Fortunia) but can't do that till winter or early spring. I don't want something that needs to be tended to often or to invasive.


Summer is not a good time to plant vines, either, but we'll make some suggestions. However, before you commit to a vine to be replaced by a rose later in the year, please be sure you understand the growth habits of these vines. Most are perennials, they can be invasive, they self-seed and grow from suckers, and may not be good neighbors to a rose. If they try to share the same space, the rose is probably going to be engulfed. If you place them side-by-side, you will need to be constantly pruning and pulling up seedlings and suckers from the vine to protect the rose. The good news is that these native vines are pretty self-sufficient, but that's also the bad news. They take care of themselves very well. Be sure and read all of the links provided, so you can make your own decision about the suitability of each. Go to our list of Native Plant Suppliers, put your town and state in the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of seed companies, nurseries and landscape consultants that are knowledgeable in the use of native plants and are located in your general area. 

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) - semi-evergreen, blooms March to May, attracts hummingbirds, less invasive than similar Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper)

Clematis pitcheri (bluebill) - dies to ground in Fall, blooms May to September

Ipomoea alba (tropical white morning-glory) - annual vine, more information and pictures

Lonicera albiflora (western white honeysuckle) - deciduous shrub with twining branches, not as invasive as Japanese honeysuckle

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata

Clematis pitcheri

Lonicera albiflora



More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for a shady hillside in WI
June 07, 2011 - I would like to know what kind of plants I could plant on a northern exposure hillside to stop erosion. At the bottom of the hill is a lake. Also would putting rocks from the area as natural retaining...
view the full question and answer

An evergreen, deer-resistant shrub for Memphis
July 24, 2013 - I need an evergreen, deep to partial shade, deer resistant shrub or tree. Does such a plant exist?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Privacy Screen for Maryland
November 19, 2012 - I am looking for an evergreen that will suffice to be planted as a privacy screen between my property and my neighbors. Looking to plant a row at the property line. The lot is shaded most of the d...
view the full question and answer

Vine for shady planter from Cedar Park TX
April 19, 2014 - We bought a home in Central Texas and inherited several raised-bed planters. One of the planters is set up to grow a vine, but it's in a part of the yard that is mostly in the shade of a tree. Is t...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, shade tolerant plants for Austin, TX
April 16, 2007 - I am looking for plants to put in my front yard--very shaded, and need to be deer resistant. I would love some things in the blue family. Also want blues in my back yard that is a combination of ful...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center