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Mr. Smarty Plants - Ivy for wall cover in Dallas

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Monday - August 03, 2009

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Ivy for wall cover in Dallas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am trying to cover older apartments with Ivy to create a beautiful exterior look, but after reading several articles on how the Texas Sun kills Ivy, I would like to know what plant can I use to create that English Ivy look on the exterior walls around the building and provide some solar radiant barrier resistance as well. What do you recommend doing and can you walk me through the steps to Do-it-yourself from start to finish.

ANSWER:

Frankly, it's not the Texas sun killing the ivy that concerns us, but the use of Hedera helix (English ivy) at all. It is native to Africa, Asia and Europe. At the Lady Bird Wildflower Center we are dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. This Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted site on Hedera helix can explain the objections to it, including that it can damage the walls of the building.

There are some vines native to North Texas that can be encouraged to climb a wall, but some are deciduous and would be pretty unattractive in the winter. They are not necessarily all good for the structure on which they are climbing, either. We will, however, go to our Recommended Species section, select on North Central Texas on the map, and then search on "vines" under General Appearance. 

Vines for the Dallas area:

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) - This is probably your best bet, although it is not going to look like ivy climbing the brick. It will spread itself, seeding, growing from suckers and so forth. It is evergreen, reaching 50 ft. long, claws at end of tendrils allowing it to cling to stones or brick without support. Blooms red, yellow March to May, sun or part shade. Propagation instructions:

"Propagation Material: Seeds , Softwood Cuttings , Root Cuttings
Seed Collection: Collect the large, woody capsules from late summer through fall when they are light brown and beginning to dry. Seeds remain viable one year in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Seed requires no pretreatment.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Training to avoid crowding of stems will aid in the formation of flower shoots. Branches can be cut back in the spring to encourage flowering."

Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) - has aerial rootlets, deciduous, can be undesirably aggressive in the South, blooms red, orange June to September, sun. Can grow tall with support but can damage wood structures. 

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) - can grow 40 feet, climbing by means oif tendrils with disks that fasten onto bark, rock or brick, deciduous but might be semi-evergreen in Dallas. WARNING: Berries are highly toxic, and may be fatal if eaten. 

Without knowing what you are going to plant and where, we can't give you a step-by-step instructional; however, we Googled "planting vines" and found that there are several good websites. We chose this one from How Stuff Works: How To Plant Vines as an example. Follow the plant links above and read all the information on the webpage on each individual plant. You can also go to the bottom of that webpage and follow the link to more information from Google on the vine. 

Pictures of Vines from the Native Plant Database Image Gallery:


Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata

Campsis radicans

Campsis radicans

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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