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
1 rating

Tuesday - March 23, 2010

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Crossvine for metal barn in Fredericksburg, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have a backyard metal barn, the small storage-type structures that are common. Hail knocked some paint off the metal roof and rather than repaint it, we want to install some plastic webbing from the nursery and train a vine to cover the walls and roof. We'd like a native plant that thrives in full sun (one side of the barn gets southern exposure, the opposite side is in the shade but gets a little late afternoon sun. The roof, of course, gets full sun. We're thinking maybe crossvine is a good choice. Your opinion? Thanks!


We think Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) is an excellent choice for your purposes. It can grow up to 50 ft. long, blooms red, yellow March to May, has low water needs, and will thrive in sun or part shade, so both sides of your barn will be fine. It probably will flower best in the sun, but the plant will still  grow well on the other side. The flowers attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and it is easy to propagate.

A far worse choice would be  Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper), a cousin to crossvine. It is extremely aggressive, especially in the South, and can damage wood, stone and brick. Plus, it is deciduous, so don't let anyone talk you into that as being "just as good."

Follow the plant link Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) to our Native Plant Database page on the plant for care and propagation instructions.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata





More Vines Questions

Failure to bloom of Campsis radicans in Elkins WV
June 28, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We live in a very cool climate of West Virginia, in the mountains, and it seems impossible for our Campsis radicans vines to flower! Perhaps the growing season is too short? W...
view the full question and answer

Folsom CA Wall-cover
April 13, 2012 - I live in Folsom, CA and I have an ugly cinder block wall that I want to cover, I want something that is low maintenance and that is going to grow and spread into my grass. The only one i can really t...
view the full question and answer

How many seeds in a Balsam Gourd fruit?
January 12, 2016 - How many seeds should I expect to find inside the fruit of Ibervillea Londoners?
view the full question and answer

Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA
April 14, 2013 - Can you plant a blueberry next to a huckleberry?
view the full question and answer

Native Vines for Pacific Northwest
June 30, 2010 - Hello, I recently built a shed/pen for my large dog. I have a trellis horizontal above the fence to hide the shed from street. I live in Pacific NW. Do you have any suggestions on a nontoxic evergr...
view the full question and answer

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