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?


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

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

Red blister-like bumps on grapevine
April 17, 2008 - I have just discovered red blister like bumps on a grapevine. It is on the leaves as well as the stems. What could this be? Will it harm only the grapevine or other plants as well? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plants to trail down wall in South Carolina
February 07, 2008 - Good day, I am putting in a stacked mortarless concrete block retaining wall which will rise to the forest floor along a cut bank - about 4 feet high. Each course steps back about one inch from th...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of vine in Virginia
September 01, 2011 - Have vine that has small 3 pointed leaves somewhat like a grape but only an inch or 2 long. Adult fruit is black or purple egg shaped and only 3/4 of an inch long. Fruit is single in the middle of th...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with large leaves and blue-black berries
January 15, 2013 - I visited a creek with a limestone seep spring that supplies it. Around the creek is growing some kind plant that has leaves that are very similar to a briar, or snailseed. However, the leaves of the ...
view the full question and answer

Inducing flowering on vines
August 27, 2008 - My daughter presented me with a lovely Passiflora coccinea a few months ago. It is growing marvelously in full sun at the base of a pine tree. I'm wondering, though, if I were to limit the amount o...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center