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

Identification of vine with feathery leaves and deep pink flowers
July 28, 2014 - I have growing up my porch what appears to be a vine with feathery leaves and small deep pink flowers. There is no water sources near by. Can you tell me what it is?
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with white flower and \
May 02, 2008 - I have a vine intruding from my neighbors yard that has small white blooms on them (similar to morning glories) and on the stem of the flower below the bloom, a "tiny watermelon" is growing..... It ...
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 for trellis in California
August 15, 2008 - What type of climbing flower/plant would grow best on a trellis in an alcove that receives morning sun from a south eastern direction? I live in San Luis Obispo, CA. I have had good luck with jasmine ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Matelea reticulata
June 08, 2007 - I recently saw blooming in an Austin park a small white-green flower ( 3/4 ") with a center that looked like a small pearl. Any idea what it is. I can't find it in my flower book, It was on a waist...
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