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
2 ratings

Sunday - June 14, 2009

From: Yorktown, VA
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Vines
Title: Honeysuckle bush for San Antonio, Tx
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe


I'm looking for a gift for my brother, living in San Antonio. He loves the native honeysuckle that we both remember from our childhoods. I think I'd like to get him a honeysuckle bush rather than a vine, but my research tells me the native southern variety is invasive. True? Would the northern variety be suitable to southern Texas? Where could I purchase one to send of either variety? Thank you.


Since you are writing from Virginia and make reference to northern and southern varieties of honeysuckle, I'm guessing that the childhood memories are based there... Virginia has five native honeysuckles, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's Native Plant Database:

Diervilla lonicera(northern bush honeysuckle)

Diervilla sessilifolia (southern bush honeysuckle)

Lonicera dioica (limber honeysuckle)

Lonicera canadensis (American fly honeysuckle)

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle)

The plant you are thinking may be one of the above. it could also be Lonicera japonica(Japanese honeysuckle), a highly invasive and widespread non-native – fast-growing, difficult to remove and propagated everywhere by birds who consume the berries.

Of those Virginia natives,  Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) –also known as coral honeysuckle – is  a Texas native as well. This beautiful vine, nearly evergreen in San Antonio, is a great hummingbird attractant and flowers often and profusely. It has the additional attractive feature of NOT being invasive. While it is a vine, it is relatively easy to prune and maintain in a reasonable space.

Another native Texas honeysuckle is the-spring blooming Lonicera albiflora (western white honeysuckle) , a more shrubby honeysuckle, also non-invasive. Its fragrant flowers attract butterflies, and birds like its berries. Deer will browse this plant.

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) and Lonicera albiflora (western white honeysuckle) are both commerically available. For specific suppliers, go to the Native Plant Database and select Suppliers which has links to local and regional nurseries, landscapers and seed sources.


From the Image Gallery

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Western white honeysuckle
Lonicera albiflora

More Vines Questions

Vine for Chain Link Fence in Virginia
March 25, 2015 - I am from Great Falls, Virginia. I would like to know what the best vine is to grow on aluminum fences to cover them up quickly but also doesn't damage expensive fences in a long term?
view the full question and answer

Should a mustang grape be left near live oak in Austin?
July 17, 2009 - I recently removed a huge mass of jasmine from a clump of live oaks. Inside I found a very large (12' long) exposed root of a mustang grape. I'd like to trim it back to the original clump and reta...
view the full question and answer

What is the fast-growing vine with white flowers growing in my yard? Field bindweed perhaps.
June 09, 2009 - We moved into an existing home with some plants growing that grow very quickly, 1ft. per week, they flower a white to cream colored bloom and when the bloom falls it leaves a olive looking ball. In th...
view the full question and answer

Re-landscaping in Stephenville, TX.
November 17, 2012 - I prefer native plants. We are re-landsacaping, so I need grass, ground cover, vines and flowers to plant in our back yard. We have many trees and the whole yard is shady. A small area might be con...
view the full question and answer

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

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