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

Saturday - September 15, 2012

From: Bethesda, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Lists, Vines
Title: Plant to trail down concrete block retaining wall in Maryland
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 appearance of this wall but we don't want to invest in a masonry facade. I can tell the retaining wall was not professionally installed and I have questions about it's durability. The wall holds back a substantial amount of soil. At the top of the wall are excellent Azaleas and a patch of grass. At the bottom is the poured concrete driveway. When I saw your site I realized that a plant native to Maryland that would droop over the side of the wall and grow down towards the driveway would be the ideal low cost visual improvement. We don't want a climber for this location because we are afraid a climber would climb up the Azaleas. Do you have any recommendations for a plant we could place at the top of the wall that would grow over the side of the wall and droop down the side? Thank you very much for your help!!

ANSWER:

First of all, thank you very much for the compliment!

Here are several vines/trailing plants that should work for your wall.  For the ones that are designated as vines you will need to be vigilant in keeping them from climbing up the azaleas.   You may want to construct a string trellis to "train" them to trail down the wall.

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) is an evergreen vine, but will trail across the ground.  Here is more information from Floridata.

Phlox subulata (Creeping phlox) will trail over the wall for a short distance.   It is a great groundcover.  Here is more information from Views from the Garden.

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper).   Be sure to read the warnings about its invasiveness.  If you train it to trail over the wall, it should be an excellent cover.   Check its tendency to climb up the azalea plants.  It can be trained to trail down the wall.  Here is more information from Linders.

 Clematis virginiana (Devil's darning needles).  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper).  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

 

From the Image Gallery


Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Creeping phlox
Phlox subulata

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

More Vines Questions

Foundation plants unlikely to provide good shade for rattlesnakes in TX
August 28, 2011 - I would like to plant native grass around my new home in the country near Mason, TX. My concerns are the rattlesnakes that are common here, and if they could "hide" in the native grasses since they ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine from Las Vegas NV
July 11, 2012 - I'm interested in identifying the vine shown by the leaf in this photo: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/zR3R4JSPYcCI4ESczNXWM4h8z33Cq5cyZNqSSYf9hx0?feat=directlink My mother-in-law got one o...
view the full question and answer

Plant with dark black/purple berries in a cluster
November 06, 2012 - Today at our local dog park we noticed a bush/vine that's been growing up the fence is producing berries. It didn't flower at all. The berries look to have started out green and now are changing t...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine in El Paso, Texas
November 23, 2012 - I live in Del Rio Texas - Zone 8/9 and I have a vine which can't be identified. It looks like a morning glory white flower with crimson throat, but the leaf pattern is like a 5-7 fingered hand with d...
view the full question and answer

Pipevine (Aristolochia sp.) found in Denton County Texas
August 24, 2009 - I am almost positive that I have numerous pipevine swallowtail in my garden in Denton County, TX. I read that the host plant for the larva is almost exclusively pipevine. Would any kind of pipevine be...
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