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?

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

Friday - April 24, 2009

From: king of prussia, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Vines
Title: Bignonia capreolata with brown leaves in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

3 year old crossvine leaves brown and dead looking. Will it come back and bud out? Crossvine on fence southern exposure. Crossvine on fence in another area has leaves and are dark green/purple - same area as older crossvine in another bed flanking fence gate. Some are brown but not like 3 year old plant. Help! Thanks Cathy

ANSWER:

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) is a lovely, versatile native vine. The prolific spring blooms can be a real knock-out. Your brown leaves may or may not be a severe problem.

There are several possibilities. Your vine has clearly flourished for a couple of years, which suggests that it was planted in an appropriate site and your southern exposure should encourage blooming. Has anything changed to negatively affect the plant? Are other plants encroaching? Does it get more or less water than formerly? Do broadleaf herbicides get applied where they could affect the vine?

Crossvine can be evergreen, but in some winters it loses its leaves even down here in Texas, and you are closer to the northern climate range for the plant. To check and see if the vine itself is still alive, scrape away a bit of the bark on a main stem. The interior bark layer should be alive and green. If it is not, your vine may have died back. In that case, I would cut it back and hope that its root system is still viable. You could feed it a mild tonic, like a seaweed infusion, nothing too strong that would shock it. It could very well come back, and maybe more vigorously.

Since this plant is several years old, another possibility is that some of the vine's older growth just needs to be rejuvenated with some pruning. Cross vines are most vibrant and productive on new, younger vines, flowering on new growth. Brooklyn Botanical Garden, which is in your climate zone, has a Vine Pruning Guide which recommends late winter or early spring pruning for Bignonia capreolata. While they point out that minimal pruning is required, Crossvine is a vigorous climber that you may want to prune to control its size and direct its path. Benny Simpson, on the Texas A&M Native Shrubs Database suggests light pruning after flowering to extend the flowering season.

Here is a link to a previous  Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) query:

What is wrong with my crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)?

Hope this helps.

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

More Vines Questions

Tough, Non-toxic Vine to Cover Fence in Washington
February 16, 2014 - I have about 150 feet of 6-foot high chain link fence that I would like to cover with a vine for privacy. I really want an evergreen or semi-evergreen plant that requires very little care. I also don...
view the full question and answer

Identification of thorny vine in Michigan
May 21, 2013 - We have a species growing around our rural SW Michigan property that I'm trying to identify: I either see stalks up to 3 ft tall, or much longer vines if they find anchor. The most notable characte...
view the full question and answer

Regenerating old cross-vines in Richardson, TX
June 26, 2008 - 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 overgro...
view the full question and answer

Non-invasive, native vines for flood wall in San Jose CA
April 12, 2010 - I was hoping you could help me with some information on vine selection. I am interested in selecting three vines for a flood wall application. Non-native species are acceptable, so long as they’re no...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Matelea reticulata
June 08, 2007 - I recently saw blooming in an Austin park a small white-green flower ( 3/4 ") with a center that looked like a small pearl. Any idea what it is. I can't find it in my flower book, It was on a waist...
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