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
1 rating

Saturday - March 02, 2013

From: Birmingham, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Front Door Vine in Alabama
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I live in Birmingham, AL in a large-scale, white brick, French-style home. I would like to have a vine over my front door. I don't want an invasive vine (seed pods that create new vines or attaches to brick and damages it). I want it to climb a provided trellis and be an evergreen vine. I would like blooms but prefer the blooms to not attract too many bees, etc. as it will be around my front door. I would consider a climbing rose as well. I am having trouble finding the right fit and would appreciate your advice. This area gets morning sun until about 1 p.m. when the sun is behind my house. I think the soil is sandy loam, but I could also plant it in a pot. If the vine is planted in the ground the base will be shaded at most times due to a flare in the front steps and other plantings but the vine itself will get lots of sun.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: State – Alabama, Habit – vine, Duration – perennial, Leaf Retention – evergreen, Light Requirement – sun and part shade, Soil Moisture – moist. You can narrow down this search further by indicating blooming time and bloom color too.

This search criteria will give you five vines to consider. Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list.

Here are the five vines that came up for your customized search...

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) is a vigorous clinging vine that climbs using tendrils.  Semi-evergreen leaves. Orange-red blooms attract hummingbirds.

Gelsemium rankinii (swamp jessamine) is very similar to Carolina Jessamine but tolerates wet conditions better.

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) is a twining not a clinging vine and needs a support to grow up.

Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle) is semi-evergreen and also attracts hummingbirds. Twining and needs a structure to grow up.

Smilax smallii (lanceleaf greenbrier) is thornless and is a twining plant.

The crossvine will take the driest soil conditions. All of these vines do flower and will attract some bees at certain times of the year. To learn more about invasive species in Alabama, take a look at The Nature Conservancy website for your area.

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Lanceleaf greenbrier
Smilax smallii

More Vines Questions

Control methods for Tribulus terrestris, Goatheads or Puncturevine
September 21, 2006 - We have some land that has so many goatheads we can't do anything with it. We would like to know what if anything will remove them from our place. There has to be something out there that will kill ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine growing near river in New Hampshire
August 31, 2009 - I found a small vine growing near a river in NH. It has five point leaflets similar to sumac but much smaller. The flowers were pink with a deep purple/burgundy on the inside. The flowers are in clus...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing vine for cinder block wall in Albuquerque
July 26, 2010 - I live in Albuquerque, N.M. and have a cement/cinder block wall and was wondering if there is a vine I can plant which will be easy to grow, grow fast and cover my wall without any type of help like a...
view the full question and answer

Vine non-toxic to alpacas and dogs from Fowler CA
June 29, 2012 - We have alpacas and would like to plant a flowering vine on a backyard fence that adjoins the pasture. We live in Central California so we have many hot days during the summer and would like a plan...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of a small itchy vine in Granbury, Texas
December 24, 2010 - I am clearing an area near some trees that has never been "domesticated". There is a little itchy vine that grows pretty extensively (not very much top growth, but is all over the place). The smal...
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