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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.

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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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Wednesday - September 12, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Vines
Title: Is purple bindweed good for a screen growing on a fence?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We cleared a bunch of dead trees and tree limbs (mostly cedars and some oaks) on our semi-rural property in Driftwood and now we're left with an undesirable view onto the neighboring property. We're considering planting PURPLE BINDWEED so that it will grow over the metal wire fence and eventually create a screen. Your website indicates that it may be too aggressive for a garden setting. The area where we're considering planting it is more of a wild area than a garden setting. Everything in that area so far are only volunteer plants. We don't water that area at all. But we would water whatever we plant with a hose until it gets established. Is there a better plant for screening? The area is wild, and partly shady under/near cedars and oaks. Also, will it work on a metal fence or will it need some other kind of support?

ANSWER:

Ipomoea cordatotriloba var. cordatotriloba (Tievine) is described as an agressive grower but that sounds like what you are looking for.  Here's more information from University of Florida Extension Service and from Virginia Tech Weed ID.  You should have no problem growing it on the fence.  The University of Florida Extension Service site says that it has medium drought tolerance so you would need to keep that in mind for possible watering purposes.  It is rated as being highly deer resistant and it certainly is an attractive plant. The only drawback I can see is that it will be deciduous under winter condtions.  You might pair it with an evergreen (or semi-evergreen) native like Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) that will retain most of its leaves in Travis County winters.

 

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