En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Non-Poisonous, Shade Tolerant Vine for Austin

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

Tuesday - February 01, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Non-Poisonous, Shade Tolerant Vine for Austin
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

Hello, I live in northwest Austin and have a very shady wood fence I would like to cover and was thinking about a vine. I have a toddler and a dog so anything poisonous is out of the question. I would like to plant something responsible and native. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Here are a couple of ideas:

Parthenocissus heptaphylla (Sevenleaf creeper)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper).

Both of these plants are shade tolerant and will give some fall color (this will be less in the shade than it would if grown in the sun). Virginia Creeper will probably be a little faster growing and will be a better climber because the vines have adhesive tips which the Sevenleaf creeper lacks. The Sevenleaf creeper can be trained to climb, but will not do so as readily as Virginia creeper.

Now, as for being poisonous, the description of Virginia creeper in the link above contains the phrase "The berries of Virginia Creeper can be harmful if ingested." North Carolina State University has a poisonous plants database with a page on Virginia creeper that contains this: "HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN!"

However, neither species shows up on these three databases that I checked:

Toxic Plants of Texas

ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List - Dogs

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants.

It is odd that one site gives such a dire warning while others are completely silent. All Mr. Smarty Plants can say is - it's not clear. If this is a big concern for you, the Sevenleaf creeper may be a better choice for you.


Parthenocissus heptaphylla

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Fast-growing shade tree for Central Texas
July 04, 2009 - What is the best fastest growing shade tree for central Texas? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Native Shade Tree for Central Texas
February 26, 2011 - My parents are buried in Round Mountain Cemetery close to Marble Falls, TX. Can you recommend a tree or shrub we can plant to shade their graves? We need something that can survive and grow in the h...
view the full question and answer

Plants to replace Polygonum cuspidatum ( Japanese knotweed)
August 10, 2013 - I live in a heavily wooed area of Chippewa Falls, WI. Our property is covered with Giant Japanese Knot Weed. We have been trying to get rid of it for years. We are finally going to try using the dr...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a shady hillside in WI
June 07, 2011 - I would like to know what kind of plants I could plant on a northern exposure hillside to stop erosion. At the bottom of the hill is a lake. Also would putting rocks from the area as natural retaining...
view the full question and answer

Ornamental grasses under desert willows from Dallas, TX
September 06, 2013 - I am planning on planting 3 desert willows in full sun, below the power lines at the back of my back yard in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas. I would like to plant some ornamental grasses in the be...
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