Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
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

Identify red-flowering vine in E. Texas
April 03, 2009 - Beside a well on an old homestead in Deep East Texas, there is a delicate vine. The leaves are heart shaped with points all the way around. The flower is a bright red trumpet shaped. I saw an angel ...
view the full question and answer

Eradicating trumpet vine runners in Austin
April 29, 2012 - How do I eradicate trumpet vine runners from my lawn? Will it kill my pecan tree?
view the full question and answer

Is Matelea reticulata invasive? Will it take over a crossvine?
June 11, 2014 - I have 50 feet of fencing with a healthy crop of cross vine on it. Pearl milkweed (I believe it is Matelea reticulata) is growing into portions of the cross vine. Is the milkweed too invasive for th...
view the full question and answer

Fence Vines for Austin, TX
August 31, 2013 - Hi, What are the best high density vine plants for coverage on chain link fence in Austin, TX? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine for summer sun in Southern California
November 26, 2013 - Hi and thanks for this great site. 1)Southern CA -- South facing wall(lattice on top)total height 7ft with mature Boston Ivy-- Viburnum tinus and Euonymus at base. THE PROBLEM: East 25% (25ft) has b...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.