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Mr. Smarty Plants - Fast-growing, non-poisonous evergreen vine for California

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Thursday - March 14, 2013

From: Fairfield, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Vines
Title: Fast-growing, non-poisonous evergreen vine for California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I am in the north bay area of California, north of San Francisco, need a quick growing vine to cover a very long section of chain link fence that is not poisonous (back yard backs up to school playground) - is evergreen - tolerates frost in winter - low water - full hot summer sun. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

Here are several plants that could work in your area. Unfortunately, there are very few native evergreen vines for California. Please read the GROWING CONDITIONS on the species page in our Native Plant Database and those on the supplemental pages I've added to be sure the suggested plants match your site.

VINES

Gambelia speciosa (Showy greenbright) is called an evergreen vine (under its synonym, Galvezia speciosa) by Bay Native Plants in San Francisco, one of our National Suppliers Directory associates.  Here is more information from Theodore Payne Foundation.

Lonicera subspicata var. denudata (Chaparral honeysuckle) is evergreen and fast growing and cold hardy to 25°.  Here are more photos from Natural History of Orange County.

Mahonia pinnata (Wavyleaf barberry) is described by our Native Plant Database as both a shrub and/or a vine and is evergreen.  You can see photos at Online-Utility.org.  It is frost hardy according to Plants for a Future. It grows best in partial or full shade according to Oregon State University Dept. of Horticulture.

Lonicera hispidula (Pink honeysuckle) is described as deciduous to semi-evergreen and is also available at Bay Natives.

 

EVERGREEN SHRUBS

You might consider planting evergreen shrubs along your fence.  If you choose ones that can be trained as an espalier plant, you can make it act sort of like a vine.  Or, you can just have a row of evergreen shrubs to insure your privacy.  Here are a few suggestions:

Arctostaphylos densiflora (Vine hill manzanita) is evergreen.  Here is more information and photographs from Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita.  Theodore Payne Foundation reports that it is slow-growing, however.

Arctostaphylos glandulosa (Eastwood's manzanita) is evergreen.  Here is more information from Theodore Payne Foundation.

Ceanothus velutinus (Snowbrush) is evergreen.  Here is more information from Sevenoaks Native Nursery in Oregon.

Dendromecon rigida (Tree poppy) is evergreen.  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and Theodore Payne Foundation.

Rubus leucodermis (Whitebark raspberry) is semi-deciduous and would provide edible fruit.  Here is more information from Theodore Payne Foundation and University of Washington.

None of the plants listed above appear on any of the toxic plant databases that I have checked.

You might consider a visit to the Forrest Deaner Native Plant Botanic Garden at Benicia State Recreation Area in Solano County to see what plants are doing well there that you might consider using.

Below are a few photos from our Image Gallery of some of the recommended plants.

 

From the Image Gallery


Showy greenbright
Gambelia speciosa

Pink honeysuckle
Lonicera hispidula

Eastwood's manzanita
Arctostaphylos glandulosa

Snowbrush
Ceanothus velutinus

Tree poppy
Dendromecon rigida

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