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?

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

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

Tuesday - November 26, 2013

From: Temple City, CA
Region: California
Topic: Vines
Title: Flowering vine for summer sun in Southern California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi and thanks for this great site. 1)Southern CA -- South facing wall(lattice on top)total height 7ft with mature Boston Ivy-- Viburnum tinus and Euonymus at base. THE PROBLEM: East 25% (25ft) has become bare, miniscule foliage--blasted by summer sun all day. Has done well for 5 years, but last 2 summers were too much. Need something that can tolerate the heated wall. Flowering vine would be nice, to also plant on the west end for uniformity. Must coexist with Boston ivy. NOTE: other 75% of wall is partial sun to partial shade from large tree. Thanks very much!!!

ANSWER:

Las Pilitas Nursery, with locations in Escondido and Santa Margarita, who specialize in California native plants, has a page of "Native plants that can be used as a vine" that has a lot of information about growing conditions for various vines.  You will notice that most of the vines on the list require some shade to do well.  There is one, Vitis girdiana (Desert wild grape) that Las Pilitas recognizes as 'heat tolerant'.  Its flowers aren't showy but they are fragrant and result in delicious small grapes for you and the birds in your neighborhood to eat.  Vitis californica (California grape) would also be a choice.  It is happy with full sun and heat—see the Sonoma County Master Gardeners'  page.

Instead of a vine, you might consider a narrow shrub to grow in front of the wall.  Cercocarpus montanus (Alderleaf mountain mahogany) is one alternative.   The variety that grows in Los Angeles County is Cercocarpus montanus var. blancheae (listed under its synonym, Cercocarpus alnifolius by Las Pilitas).  It tolerates both heat and cold.

Frangula californica (California buckthorn or California coffeeberry) is another alternative.  Las Pilitas lists it under its synonym, Rhamnus californica.

 

From the Image Gallery


Desert wild grape
Vitis girdiana

Alderleaf mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus montanus

Alderleaf mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus montanus

More Vines Questions

Mystery berries on vine in Montgomery County, TX
August 09, 2013 - While out in the woods today on Caney Creek near Grangerland, Texas, I found what I thought to be some grapes on a vine hanging down from a tree. I brought the vine down, but when I got it home to pr...
view the full question and answer

Plants that smell like chocolate from Coral Gables FL
July 12, 2012 - I am looking for plants that smell like chocolate. I live in south Florida. We are currently growing and testing Berlandiera lyrata. Do you know of other plants whose flowers smell like chocolate?
view the full question and answer

E-mailing a picture for Plant ID from Dexter KY
June 25, 2012 - Could I email a picture of a vine that is taking over my porch? Can't seem to find it anywhere. It is dark green and relatively shiny with 10 leaves on each stem.
view the full question and answer

Vines for a cliff in backyard
October 17, 2010 - I have a large (25 ft) cliff in my backyard. Its too large to use a retaining wall and occasionally some of the caliche slides down. I'm planning on planting vines at the top and letting them drape...
view the full question and answer

Ripe fruit of Melothria pendula (Guadaloupe cucumber)
July 22, 2014 - I see the pictures of the guadualupe cucumber plant. The fruit is still green. When it matures does it look like a small tomato? I have noticed the vine when the fruit is ripe. This is in McLennan C...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center