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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - March 08, 2011

From: St. Louis, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Vines
Title: A vine to atract hummingbirds in MO
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I am looking for a non invasive vine to plant on a trellis near buildings/brick patio to attract hummingbirds (and other birds and butterflies).

ANSWER:

The beauty of selecting a plant that is native to your area is that it is adapted to your conditions so that it will thrive without a lot of coddling and that it evolved in your ecosystem along with the insects and animals so it will most likely have something to offer them and have flowers or fruit when they need it. Some native plants are more vigorous than others but generally none are invasive and displace other plants that have an important role in the ecosystem.

If you visit our Native Plant Database and do a Combination Search selecting Missouri and Vines it will generate a list of 71 vines native to your area.  Many of them will attract birds, hummingbirds and butterflies. Each plant on the list is linked to a plant information page where you will find details such as cultural needs and wildlife benefits.

Hummingbords are really attracted to vines with red trumpet shaped flowers like:

Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine)

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper)

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) also attracts bees and butterflies and its fruit is eaten by quail, Purple Finch, Goldfinch, Hermit Thrush and American Robin.

Butterflies are attracted to:

Passiflora incarnata (Purple passionflower)

but as a larval host, which means that their caterpillars will eat the leaves.

And migrating birds are attracted to any vine that produces a fruit like:

Cocculus carolinus (Carolina snailseed)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

So you have plenty to choose from, depending on your light and soil conditions.

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens



Carolina snailseed
Cocculus carolinus

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

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