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?

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

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

Friday - May 21, 2010

From: Charlottesville, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs, Vines
Title: Plant to hang over and cover a wall
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

HI! this is a stumper for me! I have a 6 foot wall bracing a hill on one side and a lawn on the other. It is currently cement and I would like to find something to cover it --evergreen would be the best--and I would also like to find something to plant above that might spill over without causing root damage to the wall. I had thought of wisteria, but have been told that the roots would eventually ruin the wall. Wouldn't mind a flower, but don't want to go to orange/red/yellow colors. The house is a strong red brick. Thanks for your help, Deborah Adair.

ANSWER:

Instead of planting at the top and letting the vine spill over, you would probably be better off to plant the vine at the bottom of the wall to climb it.  The roots are less likely to harm the wall if they are growing down at the bottom of the wall rather than down beside the wall at the top.  Two of the evergreen vines that are attractive do have red flowers.  These are Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) and Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle). Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower), another evergreen vine, has yellow blossoms.  Smilax smallii (lanceleaf greenbrier) is another evergreen with inconspicuous yellow or green flowers.  There are several non-evergreen vines with that would be attractive, e.g., Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper), Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower), and Clematis virginiana (devil's darning needles). You can see more possibilities for native vines for Virginia by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plants Database and choosing 'Virginia' in the Select State or Province box and 'Vine" in the Habit (general appearance) area.

Have you considered planting something in front of the wall to hide it? Here are both evergreen and decidious shrubs native to your area:

Evergreen

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Deciduous

Clethra alnifolia (coastal sweetpepperbush)

Lonicera dioica (limber honeysuckle)

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark)

Photinia pyrifolia (red chokeberry)

Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood)

To find more possibilities for shrubs, do the COMBINATION SEARCH as desribed above substituting 'Shrub' for 'Vine' in your search.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery of some of the plants above:


Lonicera sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Smilax smallii

Clematis virginiana

Parthenocissus heptaphylla

Ilex glabra

Morella cerifera

Clethra alnifolia

Lonicera dioica

Physocarpus opulifolius

Photinia pyrifolia

Viburnum dentatum

 

 

 

 

More Vines Questions

Protection from native invasive trumpet vines
April 17, 2008 - Mr. SP: I have invaders! Trumpet vines from a neighbor's yard, two doors away have taken over and are eating my garage and trying to steal all the sun from my clematis vines. How do I get rid of...
view the full question and answer

Identity of vines in Florida
October 30, 2012 - Hello, I have 2 different types of vines growing in my shrubs. They are very pretty and I like them I just want to know if they are poisonous or if they will take over my shrubs. I have not been able ...
view the full question and answer

Native vines to cover limestone walls in Austin
April 28, 2008 - We are moving into a house in Austin that has three tiered 5'- 6' retaining walls in the back yard. They are huge and somewhat of an eye sore. We have some cool landscaping ideas to make the most ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification request for a vine
September 19, 2007 - I would like to identify a wild vine that I have just discovered in our bush. It has leaves similar in shape to a maple leaf,approx.4"wide, has white flower spikes, and some kind of a fruit or pod t...
view the full question and answer

Is there a vine in Indiana with poisonous thorns?
December 27, 2011 - I was cut at the left big toe by a brownish/red thorny vine while tracking thru dry grass near the bridge exiting 278. I'm from Indianapolis, in 46208. Was wondering if I was exposed to a poisonous v...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center