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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - April 13, 2012

From: Folsom, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Vines
Title: Folsom CA Wall-cover
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I live in Folsom, CA and I have an ugly cinder block wall that I want to cover, I want something that is low maintenance and that is going to grow and spread into my grass. The only one i can really think of to use is ivy, but my thumb is not very green yet, I love gardening just not very knowledgeable in it :) I have tried to do some research but, really haven't found anything that has been helpful.. thank you!

ANSWER:

When Mr Smarty Plants is looking for a wall-cover, his thoughts go to a nice native vine as they are low-maintenance and very likely to grow vigorously. You might plan to plant them on top and “train” them to cascade down, or plant them below and train them to go up & over.  I checked the recommended species for Northern California, then narrowed the search to just vines and found six good possibilities.   They are:

Aristolochia californica (California dutchman's pipe)

Calystegia occidentalis (Chaparral false bindweed)

Clematis lasiantha (Pipestem clematis)

Clematis ligusticifolia (Western white clematis)

Mahonia pinnata (Wavyleaf barberry)

Vitis californica (California grape)

I personally think the clematis’ have the nicer flowers, but then having California Wild Grapes would be a nice conversation piece!   What do you think?   Of course, if you prefer a shrub or maybe a ground cover, you can find the appropriate California native species with a similar search.

Want to become more knowledgeable about natives?  There is a local chapter fo the California Native Plant Society near you!  Another good choice is to become familiar with the local California Extension Office.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chaparral false bindweed
Calystegia occidentalis

Pipestem clematis
Clematis lasiantha

Pipestem clematis
Clematis lasiantha

Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

More Vines Questions

Vine for full sun in Las Vegas NV
July 05, 2013 - Looking for vine to thrive in full sun in Las Vegas, NV. I tried Cape Honeysuckle and Star Jasmine and both died within 5 days. The leaves were burnt. What's your suggestion? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Non-poisonous, fragrant flowering plant and vine for Arkansas
June 17, 2009 - I would like to find a non poisonous flowering plant that smells good, that has small to moderate plant growth, that will do well in sandy soil area, shade to full sun either way. Also would like to f...
view the full question and answer

Vine for Patio Wall in D.C.
June 03, 2013 - I have a concrete patio wall 4 feet tall and 9 feet long in Washington, D.C. The wall runs east to west and there is a patio above it. I am looking for vines to cover it so that I would not have to lo...
view the full question and answer

Honeysuckle bush for San Antonio, Tx
June 14, 2009 - I'm looking for a gift for my brother, living in San Antonio. He loves the native honeysuckle that we both remember from our childhoods. I think I'd like to get him a honeysuckle bush rather than ...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant vine for Austin, Texas
May 17, 2014 - What kind of drought-tolerant vine can I plant outside my screened in porch in Austin, Texas, that will stay on a trellis and not grow into the screen?
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