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?

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
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

Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Pasadena, CA
Region: California
Topic: Vines
Title: Evergreen vine for wall in Pasadena CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I am looking for an evergreen vine to cover my block wall. I saw star jasmine kept really flowing and wild and loved it but I don't like the way it will look when It blooms. I want a vine that looks a little wild and unkempt and not flat on the wall. I don't mind bigger blooms on the vine either. We will use nails and wire or whatever it takes for the vine to grow to get the look we want and will add a trellis at the top to heighten the vine when needed. Thank you for your help!!

ANSWER:

We have a dilemma here; we have found a vine that fits your requirements very well and is native to North America. Bignonia capreolata (crossvine), however, grows natively no farther west than Texas and Oklahoma. Even Las Pilitas Nursery, our standby for plants native to California, does not list it. But, it would appear it could grow very well in Southern California. This Dave's Garden forum page on Crossvine indicates that it is known to grow in 5 California cities; 4 of those cities in Central California and the other in Orange County, next door to Los Angeles County. All of these areas are in USDA Zones 9a to 9b, pretty warm, while they grow very well here in Austin, in Zone 8b. 

Unfortunately, as often happens, the word "evergreen" in the specifications severely limits the number of native plants available. Very few vines are evergreen, and the sight of a deciduous vine in December is depressing, to say the least. We went to our Recommended Species section, searching for vines native to Southern California, and got the dreaded message: "Your search did not return any results." So, we went to the larger, more comprehensive Native Plant Database to search on California and vines, where we got 49 results. Of these, exactly 3 were decent-looking garden vines native to the Los Angeles County area, and not a single one was evergreen. 

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are committed to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Plants native to an area will be acclimated by millennia of experience to the rainfall, temperatures and soils in that area, requiring little or no fertilizer and less water and mainenance. We also discourage planting non-natives because of the possibility of their becoming invasive in an area where they are without competition of predators. Or, of course, they could be unable to adjust, struggle for a few years, and then die. In California, in particular, we would caution watching very closely for invasiveness in any plant. Although the Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) is not considered particularly invasive, it does sucker and in an area with such a mild climate might begin to grow out of the area where you want it, and out of control.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Bignonia capreolata

Clematis lasiantha

Lonicera hispidula

Vitis girdiana

 

 

 

More Vines Questions

Plant identification--vine with spiny pods in California
July 05, 2010 - I came across a vine while hiking in Orange County, CA. It didn't have flowers on it but has 3 or 4 inch spiny pods. What is it? The vine itself looks similar to a Morning Glory vine.
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing non-native Wisteria from Austin
June 25, 2012 - How do I distinguish a native wisteria from a non-native wisteria?
view the full question and answer

Eliminating non-native Asian Jasmine in Austin
December 02, 2010 - I have a large bed in front of the house full of jasmine that was planted by the builder 25 years ago. What suggestions do you have to eliminate it and prepare the bed to plant native flowers and pl...
view the full question and answer

Vine to cover fence from Haverhill MA
April 17, 2014 - Hello, I'm looking for a fast growing vine to cover a chain link fence. The area is sunny half of the day. I have 2 small children so I don't want something that attracts bees or could be dangerous ...
view the full question and answer

Florida hanging vine with occasional red tongue-like leaves
December 01, 2011 - I live in south Florida and I used to grow a hanging vine that had green slender leaves and an occasional red leaf that looked like a tongue that protruded horizontally from the plant. do you know wha...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center