En Español

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?


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 - September 05, 2012

From: Liberty Hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Coral Honeysuckle suitability for Central Texas Fence
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson


I recently purchased a house in Liberty Hill. My backyard is enclosed by an iron fence (painted). I am interested in creating a habitat for birds, so I'm thinking of planting coral honeysuckle vine on the fence. I've been told that birds like vines. But, I don't want a vine that could possibly damage the fence. Is the coral honeysuckle a good choice?


Mr Smarty Plants thinks you have made an excellent choice.   He’s answered two other questions lately from Central Texas about suitable vines.  Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) is generally a recommended vine because it climbs by twining.  It is also recommended as a wonderful habitat for hummers and other birds and butterflies!

 This earler question was about vine choices that would not harm a hardy plank wall.   Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) was preferable in this case although just one of several possibilities.  On the other hand, this question/answer pair considered growing Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)  on a wrought-iron fence.  Virginia creeper climbs by means of tendrils with disks that fasten onto your iron fence. Another good choice, that  climbs similarly, is Passiflora incarnata (Purple passionflower).  These are considered to be relatively gentle to a fence and good habitat.


From the Image Gallery

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

More Vines Questions

Native plants for hanging baskets in Abilene
June 10, 2008 - I live in the DRY West Texas heat in Abilene. I'd like to put some hanging plants along my back fence. Preferably something that would attract butterflies. We have a pool in our back yard and almost ...
view the full question and answer

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

Identification of Matelea reticulata
June 08, 2007 - I recently saw blooming in an Austin park a small white-green flower ( 3/4 ") with a center that looked like a small pearl. Any idea what it is. I can't find it in my flower book, It was on a waist...
view the full question and answer

Plants for area near saltwater pool near Dallas
May 25, 2009 - Could you recommend perennial plants that would do well next to my saltwater pool just north of Dallas (Corinth) Texas?
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine with purple flowers
July 06, 2011 - I'm trying to identify a vine-like plant growing in my yard to determine if it is a weed or should be kept around. It has small purple flowers with a small yellow center, looking like a mini honeysuc...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center