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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - March 29, 2013

From: Norfolk, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs, Vines
Title: Plants to cover 1000 square foot wall in Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

In Norfolk, VA, I want to cover a large (1000 sq ft) cement wall with a variety of maintenance free plant life. Any recommendations?

ANSWER:

It would be helpful to know how tall the wall is and if you want vines to trail down it or climb up it—or, perhaps, you want plants to grow in front of it.   I will suggest a few of each.  You should check the GROWING CONDITIONS section on each species page to be sure they match your site for water and sunlight conditions.

VINES:

Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine) is evergreen and has orange-red flowers in the spring.

Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet) is deciduous with yellow fall foliage and with scarlet fruit.

Clematis crispa (Swamp leatherflower) is deciduous and trails 6 to 10 feet with pinkish to purplish flowers.

Clematis virginiana (Devil's darning needles) is a 12 to 14 foot climbing deciduous vine that has profuse clusters of flowers.

Decumaria barbara (Decumaria) is a deciduous woody vine that grows to 30 feet with fragrant white flowers.

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) is an evergreen 10 to 20 feet long with yellow flowers.

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) is an evergreen 3 to 20 feet long vine with red blossoms.

Passiflora incarnata (Purple passionflower) is an herbaceous vine up to 25 feet with large purple flowers.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) grows 3 to 40 feet long and will easily climb up a wall.  It is deciduous with colorful fall foliage.

Vitis riparia (Riverbank grape) deciduous woody vine to 35 feet that is fast-growing and long-lived.  The berries are edible and make good jelly and wines.

SHRUBS

Castanea pumila (Chinkapin) is a deciduous shrub that grows to 30 feet with edible fruit and colorful fall foliage.

Euonymus americanus (American strawberry-bush) is a deciduous shrub of 6 to 12 feet with bright red fruits holding orange seeds.

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel) is an evergreen shrub growing 12 to 20 feet with showing pink flowers.

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is a 6 to 12 foot evergreen shrub with bluish berries.

Rhododendron catawbiense (Catawba rosebay) is an evergreen 6 to 20 foot shrub with large showy lilac-colored flowers.

Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw) is a 12 to 15 foot deciduous shrub with white flowers, blue berries and colorful fall foliage.

You can see more possibilities for plants to cover your wall in the Virginia Recommended list of plants native to Virginia and commercially available for landscaping.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to select plants from the list that meet your criteria.

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

American bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

Swamp leatherflower
Clematis crispa

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Decumaria
Decumaria barbara

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

Riverbank grape
Vitis riparia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Allegheny chinquapin
Castanea pumila

American strawberry bush
Euonymus americanus

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