En Español

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?


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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 03, 2013

From: Washington, DC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Vines
Title: Vine for Patio Wall in D.C.
Answered by: Anne Van Nest


I have a concrete patio wall 4 feet tall and 9 feet long in Washington, D.C. The wall runs east to west and there is a patio above it. I am looking for vines to cover it so that I would not have to look at the bare concrete. Do you have any suggestions?


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 – District of Columbia, Habit – vine, Duration – perennial, Light Requirement – full sun on the south side of the wall (or shade if on the north side of the wall). You can further narrow down the list of potential vines by indicating the soil moisture type and whether you prefer a deciduous or evergreen vine.
 This will give you a list of about 10 potential vines to consider for the sunny side of your patio wall which include:
Ampelopsis arborea (peppervine)
Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper)
Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet)
Clematis virginiana (Devil’s darning needles)
Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle)
Mikania scandens (climbing hempvine)
Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Vitis riparia (riverbank grape)


From the Image Gallery

Nekemias arborea

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

American bittersweet
Celastrus scandens

Devil's darning needles
Clematis virginiana

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Climbing hempvine
Mikania scandens

Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Riverbank grape
Vitis riparia

More Vines Questions

Yellowing leaves on Carolina jessamine from Las Vegas NV
March 21, 2014 - Carolina jessamine, has yellow leaves. 3 years old, grows on south wall, full sun. Same plant, in partial shade, has green leaves. Should I feed yellowish plant some nitrogen? If yes how much?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of a potted vine in California
October 04, 2011 - Hi, we have a tropical vine growing in a pot on our patio that my wife bought at the county fair. We've had it for a couple of years but I just noticed it now has a sort of pear like fruit on it. It ...
view the full question and answer

Question about male muscadine plants
June 01, 2012 - I have 9 muscadine plants, 3 females and 6 perfect flowered growing in my yard. A plant started growing under my porch lst year and it grew through the spaces between the boards. It grew nicely. It fl...
view the full question and answer

Identification of bush/vine with purple berries
August 09, 2014 - I was clearing fence line and came across this plant it looks like a Bush but underneath grows like a vine it has long broad leaves that reminded me of Polk salad but it grows berry clusters the berri...
view the full question and answer

Will Virginia creeper harm brick walls in Las Vegas NM
May 19, 2013 - Will Virginia creeper harm brick walls in Las Vegas, New Mexico?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center