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
1 rating

Thursday - February 10, 2011

From: Portland, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Plants to tumble over a retaining wall in OR
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Please recommend plants that I could use to plant on the ground space above a 4 foot high, 150 foot long unattractive concrete wall that would grow over and down to cover the wall. The area is very shady. Can't use climbing plants because the wall is very close to the property line. Thanks

ANSWER:

I'm not sure there is an easy answer to this question because most plants that will grow over and tumble down a retaining wall are just climbing plants without a structure to climb. 

You don't indicate whether the property line is close to the top or bottom of the wall or if you wish to have any real plant mass along the top of the wall. These factors will influence what kind of plant you choose.

If you chose a shrub with long, arching branches that will cover a significant part of your wall, you will have to deal with the fact that it will be that size and shape all the way around and you will have to prune the back side of it so that it doesn't encroach on the neighbouring property.  It will likely be lopsided and bare looking from "the back".

If you choose a vine, there will be very little plant mass to deal with at the top of the wall but all the vines can be trained to grow down your side of the wall.

Our Native Plant Database can generate lists of plants for you to choose from. If you do a Combination Search for Oregon and select the plant type (shrub and then vine) and your conditions (shade) it will generate lists of ten vines and sixty-eight shrubs to choose from. 

There area few shrubs on the list that generally have an arching form (but would likely all be too big):

Ribes laxiflorum (Trailing black currant)

Rubus parviflorus (Thimbleberry)

Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa (Red elderberry)

You will likely have better luck with one of these vines:

Clematis ligusticifolia (Western white clematis)

Lonicera ciliosa (Orange honeysuckle)

Lonicera hispidula (Pink honeysuckle)

 

From the Image Gallery


Trailing black currant
Ribes laxiflorum

Thimbleberry
Rubus parviflorus

Red elderberry
Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa

Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

Orange honeysuckle
Lonicera ciliosa

Pink honeysuckle
Lonicera hispidula

More Vines Questions

Locating yellow crossvine
April 20, 2006 - I am attempting to find a yellow crossvine. I am not having much luck. I thought I saw some growing in the Taylor area, but I cannot locate it now. In my memory, the flowers had brown dots on them.
view the full question and answer

When to prune Texas Coral Honeysuckle in Iredell, TX?
January 31, 2012 - When can I prune Texas coral honeysuckle? It needs to be pruned so that it will fill out. Also, how much do I prune it? Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine in Tennessee
June 14, 2014 - I have a beautiful vine with clusters approximately 70 feet All the way up a tree in a heavily wooded area. It seems to be evergreen or semi- evergreen. Can you help identify?
view the full question and answer

Vines for Shade in Upstate New York
April 23, 2013 - Hello! I am looking for a non-invasive vine that will grow in heavy shade near my house in upstate New York.
view the full question and answer

Plants under Oak Trees in Austin TX
December 10, 2012 - Half of my small yard is in the shade of one big live oak and one kumquat. Nothing I plant grows in this shade. The other half of my yard gets sunlight. It is planted with Jasmine grass which grows w...
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