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

Wednesday - February 06, 2013

From: Belton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Soils, Vines
Title: Vine for pergola in Belton TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I would like to know what vine would be best to cover a rather large pergola. It will be in full sun in caliche soil. :( The area has access to a water hose and I would like to have something native. Thank you,

ANSWER:

The very first vine that springs to mind is Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine). Here are its Growing Conditions:

"Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, acidic or calcareous soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay.
Conditions Comments: Some shade is tolerated, but the best flowering is achieved in full sun. Tolerates brief flooding."

From a previous Smarty Plants answer:

"Now, let's talk a bit about caliche. Those of us who grew up in West Texas thought that was what all dirt looked like, except for the sand in the sandstorms in the mid-1950's. "Caliche" is calcium carbonate, and the name comes from the Spanish word for lime. Read this Arizona Master Gardeners article on Conquering Home Yard Caliche. They recommend either putting down 8 inches of topsoil (for lawns) or digging chimneys out of the soil, replacing the caliche in the holes with topsoil and compost. In both cases, they recommend removing the caliche."

Next, the crossvine is said to grow in "calcereous soils." Guess what that means:

"Calcareous is an adjective meaning mostly or partly composed of calcium carbonate, in other words, containing lime or being chalky."

Sounds like caliche to me. And we don't think you are going to need to dig chimneys or replace with 8 inches of topsoil. The beauty of native plants is that they are already accustomed to the soil in which they are growing. However, it sure wouldn't hurt to work in some good organic mulch or compost to loosen up that soil and add some nutrients.

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Deer resistant plants from New Braunfels TX
August 31, 2012 - I have a 1/2 yard covered by a tree, shady. Bermuda grass previous owner planted has all turned brown this summer. I don't have lots of money to work with but would love to landscape that side of fr...
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants for Ojai, CA
September 20, 2008 - I would like to build a "green fence" about 10-15 feet tall. I live in Ojai, CA where we have VERY hot summers and it goes below freezing every winter. The soil does not seem to drain well..it is e...
view the full question and answer

Varieties of Ceanothus suitable for Illinois
September 07, 2012 - Ceanothus Velutinus is the smell of western Montana, my home, to me, and I have relocated to Illinois. I miss it so much that whenever I go home I bring back a jar of ceanothis leaves and keep th...
view the full question and answer

Chlorosis in sycamore in Kyle TX
August 04, 2011 - I'm trying to assist an elderly neighbor of mine with a plant issue. We have designated street trees in this community, our street being a Sycamore. The previous foreman out here called it a Mexica...
view the full question and answer

Suitability of Carolina Cherry Laurel for Bulverde TX
October 24, 2012 - The local Home Depot is selling Carolina Cherry Laurel Trees. They look beautiful. Is this a good tree for Bulverde TX..20 miles north of San Antonio? Can it survive? Will it be a high maintenance...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center