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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.

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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.

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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!

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Thursday - March 20, 2014

From: Houston, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Privacy Screening, Vines
Title: Native vine for privacy on metal mesh fence from Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there a native vine that does not get top heavy in order to provide privacy from the bottom to the top on an expanded metal mesh fence? It's okay if it dies back, but prefer for it to be evergreen. Thank you in advance ~

ANSWER:

We are not altogether sure what you mean by "expanded metal mesh" fence so we found this article from Niles Fence .  To us, that looks pretty sturdy but also looks like something you would probably want to cover up with a vine. Happily, there are three vines native to Harris County  that are evergreen, bloom bountifully and are quite hardy. So much so, we believe you will want to trim them back some before they get top-heavy. These are all vines that will grow long and tall but do not resent pruning when necessary. In fact, they will probably bloom better with some judicious cutting back, particularly in cooler weather when they are not blooming and the bush gets a little scraggly looking (forgive us for using technical terms).

Follow each of these plant links to our webpage on that plant for culture and propagation instructions. Almost any vine in ideal conditions can be prone to be invasive but none of the three is terribly aggressive.

Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine)

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine)

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle)

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

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Smarty Plants on pruning Clematis
August 26, 2005 - I would like to know about pruning clematis. The one I have is getting very large. Should I cut it back, and if so, in the Spring or Fall? I live in Michigan. Thank you.
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Native vine to replace non-native Ficus pumila creeping fig
April 01, 2012 - What is a good evergreen alternative to ficus pumila to cover a rough-textured concrete wall in Houston TX?
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Is Matelea reticulata invasive? Will it take over a crossvine?
June 11, 2014 - I have 50 feet of fencing with a healthy crop of cross vine on it. Pearl milkweed (I believe it is Matelea reticulata) is growing into portions of the cross vine. Is the milkweed too invasive for th...
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