Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - February 22, 2012

From: Sun City, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Vines for Poolsides
Answered by: Becky Ruppel

QUESTION:

We would like some color along the pool, but do not want anything with flowers because of the pool. Are there any non-flowering vines that will grow in full sun in Arizona? We have 2 trelis' that we would like to cover. The vines would be in direct, full sunlight >6 hrs/day. Please advise. Thank you

ANSWER:

Finding a vine that will fit your requirements is quite a challenge, especially with full Arizona sun!  Unfortunately, most plants flower at some point in their lives.  However, some plants produce more or larger flowers than others, so the next best solution is probably to plant something that has small, sparsely produced flowers.  A good match for your preferences is the Vitis arizonica (Arizona Grape).  This vine will grow in full sun, is very hardy, and is native to Arizona, so should tolerate its harsh summers very well.  When it does produce flowers (young grape vines usually don’t produce any flowers in the first couple years) they are small and will probably not make a mess of your pool.  As the vine gets older it will start to produce flowers that will turn into purple fruit, so that is something to consider.  Though, birds and other wildlife are likely to consume the fruit before it makes a huge mess.

Here are a couple more options that should tolerate full sun and should be relatively clean plants:

Macroptilium sp. (Purple bushbean) is another option that would do well full sun and has small flowers. 

Passiflora foetida (Corona de cristo) could also work well for you.  It is a very hardy vine, which is happy in full sun, and the flowers are large, but normally only sparsely cover the vine.    

To find any of these plants its best to contact any local native plant nurseries and inquire if they have the species.  The Desert Botanical Gardens spring plant sale is also coming up in March and the Passion Flower, Arizona Grape, and Purple Bushbean are listed as plants they will be selling. 

 

More Vines Questions

Pet Friendly Groundcovers for CA
January 23, 2016 - I am looking for pet friendly, groundcover plants in San Jose, CA.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of a potted vine in California
October 04, 2011 - Hi, we have a tropical vine growing in a pot on our patio that my wife bought at the county fair. We've had it for a couple of years but I just noticed it now has a sort of pear like fruit on it. It ...
view the full question and answer

Plant to trail down concrete block retaining wall in Maryland
September 15, 2012 - Hello, Your website is an excellent resource. Thank you very much! My girlfriend recently bought a house that has a concrete block retaining wall in the front yard. We want to improve the app...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of large hairy vine in Salem, OH
June 19, 2009 - We have large hairy vines that grow up the side of several of the trees on the edge of the woods beside our home. The leaves color resembles that of the poisonous sumac but the leaves shape do not. ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with red flower
April 14, 2008 - I have a "vine" that flowers. When it "blooms", it begins with a reddish/yellowish/orange ball about the side of a dime. The ball bursts open and a small red bloom emerges. It looks like a carn...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.