Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Sunday - June 14, 2009

From: Keller, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Vine for limited space, part-shade fence in N. Texas
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

I have a narrow strip of yard (about 3ft) between my covered patio and privacy fence. Since the fence itself lacks visual interest, I'd like to find a vine to grow on the fence to give the background to my patio area some "life." I would like something that will not destroy the fence (like Wisteria tends to do) and something that clings pretty tight since there is not much room for the vine to grow out from the fence. I'm most interested in an evergreen with flowers, but have also considered Boston Ivy since its fall color is interesting. This area receives partial shade most of the day and hot Western sun for a few hours in the late afternoon. Would love to hear your suggestions?

ANSWER:

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native to North America and particularly to the area where they have been confirmed as native species, so our answer springs from that basis.

Two suggestions come to mind which may work for you in this location. Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower), – aka Carolina Jessamine – is a pretty, well-behaved, evergreen vine, with fragrant blooms early in the season. Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) – aka Coral Honeysuckle –is a moderate-sized vine, has attractive flowers, and is non-invasive. It is semi-evergreen – some winters it keeps quite a bit of greenery and may even flower; other winters it looks nearly dormant.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) has attractive fall foliage, but isn't noted for its flower and can become hard to keep from spreading. Clematis virginiana (devil's darning needles) is another versatile vine with profuse white flowers, but deciduous. NOT a good choice for this space is Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) a popular floweriing evergreen, but quite a vigorous climber and extender.

There are some small re-seeding annuals and herbaceous perennials that could provide some interest for your fence. Clematis pitcheri (bluebill), Clematis texensis (scarlet leather flower), and Maurandella antirrhiniflora (roving sailor) are wonderful little Texas vines. They could be secondary vines along with Carolina Jessamine or Coral Honeysuckle. They are not always easy to find for purchase, but are very much worth looking for.

 


Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens

Clematis virginiana


Parthenocissus quinquefolia

 



Clematis pitcheri

Clematis texensis

Maurandella antirrhiniflora
 

More Vines Questions

Foundation plants unlikely to provide good shade for rattlesnakes in TX
August 28, 2011 - I would like to plant native grass around my new home in the country near Mason, TX. My concerns are the rattlesnakes that are common here, and if they could "hide" in the native grasses since they ...
view the full question and answer

Removing poison ivy in Cuba MO
August 27, 2011 - I bought a home with a huge bed of hybrid iris but the bed is thick with poison ivy. If I cover myself head to toe to prevent getting it is there a way to clean the tubers so they will not be poison? ...
view the full question and answer

Is Poison ivy always rooted in the ground?
November 11, 2015 - Does Poison ivy on a tree always start at the ground and climb up the tree or can it start producing its vine and leaves by itself at the top of the tree or middle?
view the full question and answer

Vine for planters in Houston, Texas
October 31, 2008 - i'm looking for a native climber/vine that would be suitable for a south facing facade that doesn't have a deep root system..to create a sort of green screen using planters sitting on the second lev...
view the full question and answer

Will Crossvine damage stucco walls?
June 17, 2015 - The Crossvine I planted about a month ago is doing well. It is growing up a stucco wall and its little tendrils are sticking to (or into?) the stucco. Is this going to grow into the stucco and damage ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.