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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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Sunday - March 27, 2011

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Evergreen vine for trellis in Fredricksburg, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, and thank you so much for this service. I am looking for a non-deciduous vine to plant on the east side of my house. I have already put in a trellis, now I need to know what to plant on it. If all wishes came true, I would love to find something with flowers and/or berries. The soil is gravelly red clay, and the east side of my house is partially shaded. The area is naturally dry, but I can water if necessary. I really need something that stays green and lush year-round. I looked through your database and found that Coral Honeysuckle is the only vine listed that is non-deciduous, but the pictures make it look sort of spindly. I need something lush that will cover well. I did not find any help in the FAQ. Maybe I could plant a combination of different vines? I don't know. Any ideas would be most welcome!

ANSWER:

Hmmm.   I thought some of the photos portrayed the Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) as rather lush. Take a look at the photos below.  If you visit Austin frequently, you can see several plants growing along the chainlink fence of the Austin Memorial Park Cemetery at 2800 Hancock Drive in northwest Austin.  They form a thick mat along the top of the fence and trail toward the ground.

Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine), although native to East Texas, is adapted to living in the Austin and Fredrickburg areas.  It is evergreen, although the leaves turn purplish in winter.  It has showy orangish flowers.

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) is evergreen, also native to East Texas but adapted to the Austin area.   It should also work in Fredricksburg. 

The flowers of all three vines—coral honeysuckle, crossvine and Carolina jessamine—attract nectar feeders such as hummingbirds and butterflies.  Combining the three vines would certainly be an option for your trellis.  All three will grow in part shade, but all three will need water to become established. 

Here are photos from our Image Gallery: 


Lonicera sempervirens


Lonicera sempervirens


Lonicera sempervirens


Bignonia capreolata


Bignonia capreolata


Gelsemium sempervirens


Gelsemium sempervirens

 

 

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