En EspaŅol

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
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

Wednesday - October 28, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Native vine to cover brick column in Houston
Answered by: Nina Hawkins


I have a brick column (~20ft tall) in the entry way to my house in Houston, TX. I am looking for a beautiful native vine that'll cover the column and soften the look of the house. I don't want to use a trellis, so I'd prefer something that'll "grip" brick and mortar and hopefully won't do too much damage say in the next 5 yrs.


If your porch column has full sun to part shade, Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) would be a good choice because it is evergreen, has beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers in Spring and climbs by tendrils equipped with little claws that allow it to climb stone, brick and fences without support.  This woody vine will flower best if you prune it every few years or so, but probably won't need much attention for the first 5 years.  Since it climbs by tendrils and not by rootlets, it won't damage structures as non-native English ivy would.  This previous question provides instructions for reviving overgrown Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) to encourage blooming.  To research other native options for your porch column or other areas in your garden you can search the Native Plant Information Network for species recommended for your region and the specific growing conditions of your garden.

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata



More Vines Questions

Vines for Poolsides
February 22, 2012 - We would like some color along the pool, but do not want anything with flowers because of the pool. Are there any non-flowering vines that will grow in full sun in Arizona? We have 2 trelis' that we ...
view the full question and answer

Fungus Spots on Native Bush Honeysuckle
December 03, 2010 - My native bush honeysuckle plants that I have along my back fence have leaves that are turning yellow with spots. It appears to be a type of fungus, but not powdery mildew. Any suggestions as to what ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning time for Lonicera sempervirens from Pflugerville TX
August 08, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, When does the Wildflower Center prune its Lonicera sempervirens?
view the full question and answer

Trumpet vines on wall in Longmont CO
May 18, 2010 - I purchased three trumpet vines to plant on the NW wall of my house back in 2002. Although the leaves are a beautiful healthy dark green, none of them have ever bloomed despite regular fertilizing pe...
view the full question and answer

Need an evergreen flowering vine to cover a fence in Houston, TX.
May 28, 2012 - Looking for an evergreen flowering vine to cover my fence. caveat? one part of the fence is within 5 feet from the air conditioning unit which blows a lot of hot air, the area takes a day or two to dr...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center