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?


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
4 ratings

Wednesday - November 17, 2010

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Other
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Vines and shrubs for Las Vegas, Nevada
Answered by: Janice Kvale


We live in Las Vegas and would like to put some vines up on the walls of our backyard. One wall is full sun, one is partial sun partial shade, and two are all shade. We want something that is non-invasive and will not be harmful to our dog. What can you recommend?


You are wise to be looking for native plants for your location as they are more likely to survive the climate and require less maintenance. That said, there are a limited number of vines for your location and not all meet your specifications. Note that a shady location gets less that 2 hours of sunlight, part-shade is 2-6 hours, and full sun is more than 6 hours. You may want to put some shrubs into your landscape plans to provide visual diversity and possibly some shade for the pup. Shrubs can be shaped to fit along a wall. We have included shrubs that accept all three light conditions of your site. You may want to do an independent search on our site by going to Combination Search or Recommended Species in the Native Plant Database section of our website. and entering the specifics requested. Locate a source for your choice(s) at our supplier list or this Nativeplant list. Be aware that some suppliers will carry limited native plants along with exotic species that may not survive as well or are too aggressive. Our suggestions follow:

Maurandella antirrhiniflora (Climbing snapdragon) graces its location with delicate purple blossoms. It thrives in part-shade.

Funastrum cynanchoides (Fringed twinevine) is a blossoming ornamental also preferring part-shade. View image here.

Vitis arizonica (Canyon grape) is another part-shade vine. You can make jelly from the grapes. View image here.

Parthenocissus vitacea (Hiedra creeper) is a hardy vine that will grow in any light or reasonable soil condition. A prolific climber using tendrils, it will need support on a smooth wall. It produces a berry containing oxalic acid, considered mildly poisonous. That may make it a deal-breaker for your site. View image here.

Rubus leucodermis (Whitebark raspberry) may be another less-than-ideal vine though it too will accept any light condition. Like domestic raspberries, it can spread aggressively, has thorns, and is a biennial. View image here.

Ceanothus velutinus (Snowbrush) is a shrub ranging between 3-5 feet high with showy, aromatic white blooms.

Shepherdia canadensis (Russet buffaloberry) is an adaptable shrub potentially growing to 6-8 feet and producing a non-toxic red berry.

Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon serviceberry), one of our favorites, produces an edible berry that resembles a large blueberry. The shrub has three size classes between 3-18 feet. Check with a supplier to get the size you might prefer.

Maurandella antirrhiniflora

Maurandella antirrhiniflora

Ceanothus velutinus

Ceanothus velutinus

Shepherdia canadensis

Amelanchier alnifolia

Amelanchier alnifolia

More Shrubs Questions

How to keep persimmons from staining patio
August 10, 2008 - We have approximately 4 female persimmons bearing fruit around our back patio. Birds are carrying the berries to our patio and eating them which leaves a dark stain on our patio. I'm having to go o...
view the full question and answer

Managing a wet area in Austin
November 18, 2013 - I suspect that my backyard lies at the very top of a creek watershed. However, all of the water flowing through it gets blocked by a solid stone wall. Whenever we get a significant rain event, part ...
view the full question and answer

Source for Oregon boxwood from Salt Lake City, UT
July 24, 2013 - I am seeking plugs / cuttings for paxistima myrsinites (mountain lover) in a large quantity and cannot seem to source them. If you have any sources I could contact; I need 2225 of them please forward...
view the full question and answer

Plants for underneath oak tree
October 10, 2012 - I have a North facing wall of my house that gets half sunlight half shade depending on the season. I would like to layout some native South Texas plants and complete fill in area to prevent the live o...
view the full question and answer

Yucca blades damaged by weedeater in Hellertown PA
July 05, 2011 - Can I cut off the blades of a Yucca plant that have been eaten on the edges with a weed wacker and are very unsightly looking? Can they be cut back to the flower shaft?
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center