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Mr. Smarty Plants - Flowering vine for summer sun in Southern California

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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

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