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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - October 17, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Vines for a cliff in backyard
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a large (25 ft) cliff in my backyard. Its too large to use a retaining wall and occasionally some of the caliche slides down. I'm planning on planting vines at the top and letting them drape over the edge and cascade downward. Hopefully the greenery will help with erosion. I'm thinking of Carolina jessamine and coral honeysuckle. Both evergreen and aggressive growers. What do you think and do you have other ideas?

ANSWER:

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) and Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) are good choices, although they are going to do their bests to try and climb up something.  You might have to continually encourage them to trail down the cliff.  Here are some suggestions for vines that are a bit better at trailing.  They are all deciduous, however:

 Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) will happily trail down the cliff.

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper) will also be happy trailing down the cliff.  It can be an agressive plant and you may need to keep it in check.

Merremia dissecta (Noyau vine) climbs by twining but will also trail down retaining walls.  Here is more information and photos.


Gelsemium sempervirens


Gelsemium sempervirens


Lonicera sempervirens


Lonicera sempervirens


Parthenocissus quinquefolia


Parthenocissus quinquefolia


Campsis radicans


Campsis radicans

 

 

 

More Vines Questions

Native vine for California deck
November 24, 2009 - Can you recommend a native California vine to grow on our deck to cover a trellis under a deck? There is a canopy of live coast oak above the deck so there is bright, filtered light. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Should a mustang grape be left near live oak in Austin?
July 17, 2009 - I recently removed a huge mass of jasmine from a clump of live oaks. Inside I found a very large (12' long) exposed root of a mustang grape. I'd like to trim it back to the original clump and reta...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of large hairy vine in Salem, OH
June 19, 2009 - We have large hairy vines that grow up the side of several of the trees on the edge of the woods beside our home. The leaves color resembles that of the poisonous sumac but the leaves shape do not. ...
view the full question and answer

Vine to cover concrete retaining wall in Georgetown TX
March 02, 2013 - I have an unsightly concrete retaining wall and culvert covers that require fast coverage from a vine of some sort. The plant must be deer resistant and drought tolerant. The retaining wall and culv...
view the full question and answer

Spots on leaves of sevenleaf creeper in Austin
November 14, 2009 - Have 3 seven leaf creepers that are planted in mostly shade. In Sept & Oct 2009 all 3 plants had dried up leaves which fell off; however, all three plants grew new leaves when we got rain and are com...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center