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

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

More Privacy Screening Questions

Privacy hedge for Burleson, TX.
April 09, 2013 - I moved out to the country away from the hustle and bustle only to find that I have less privacy out there because of open land. I hear children screaming and dogs barking from 1/4 mile away. I want t...
view the full question and answer

Plants for privacy in Round Lake IL
April 14, 2010 - I recently purchased a house in northern Illinois that overlooks a busy walking path. The yard is 80 feet wide and currently has a 4 foot chain link fence, but I would like to add something for priva...
view the full question and answer

Need Fast-Growing Screening Shrub for Arlington, TX
March 16, 2011 - What fast growing shrub/tree could be planted along side a fence to provide additional privacy? We have a pool in our backyard and the view behind our house is less than enjoyable. We would like to ...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant evergreens for privacy shield in Louisville KY
March 10, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Our property is adjacent to the highway for ~ 200ft. I'm looking for partial-to-full shade tolerant evergreens that will grow to be relatively tall. Our soil is clay and g...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for New York apartment balcony.
August 17, 2009 - Hello, I live in an apartment in New York City with an outdoor large balcony. I would like to buy evergreens to make the space more private. Do you have any suggestions on what type of plant woul...
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