Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Thursday - March 12, 2015

From: Palmdale, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Lists, Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Non-Toxic Flowering Vine for Sunny Trellis in California
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking for a flowering trellis plant that is non-toxic to my dog, will grow in the California area that I live in, and will be in full sun.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential vines for your sunny California garden 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: CA, Habit – Vine, Duration – Perennial, Light Requirement – Sun, Soil Moisture – Moist, and Size – 3-12 feet. Once you have this list of vines, then it is time to further refine your criteria and look at their blooming habit, leaf characteristics and pet toxicity.

Unfortunately, your criteria for a flowering trellis plant, native to California that will grow in the sun only resulted in one plant – Lonicera hispidula (pink honeysuckle). This twining vine has a shrublike habit and is deciduous to semi-evergreen. It has attractive pink, rose or purple flowers in the spring and summer and decorative red berries in the fall. The flowers attract hummingbirds and the berries attract birds. The berries are mildly poisonous if eaten. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a person’s age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size.

There are several other resources that you might use to find native California plants that can be used as vines. The Las Pilitas Nursery website is one to check. Besides Lonicera hispidula, they also list some non-vines that can be creatively used as vines.

Once you have a list of potential plants, the next step is to see if they are toxic to dogs. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has an excellent website that lists plants that are toxic or non-toxic to pets. So looking at the ASPCA page for Lonicera (honeysuckle) did not show any reference of this plant being toxic to dogs (or those non-toxic either).

 

From the Image Gallery


Pink honeysuckle
Lonicera hispidula

More Plant Lists Questions

Small native trees/shrubs for Corpus Christi, TX
July 02, 2012 - Which small native trees or tall shrubs would do well in full sun in Corpus Christi for privacy along a fence line? Blooms are a bonus and evergreen is preferred.Searches on the website aren't produc...
view the full question and answer

Native flowering plants for Frisco, Texas
August 12, 2015 - Hi There, I recently moved from Ohio, Cleveland to TX, Frisco. Could you please suggest me native flowering plants in my back yard and front yard. I like different flowers.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen privacy hedge resistant to verticillium wilt
September 27, 2011 - I am looking for an evergreen, fast-growing privacy hedge (over 6') that is resistant to verticillium wilt and has low water requirements. I live in Monrovia, CA and have to replace hopseed bushes w...
view the full question and answer

Full Shade Plants for Muncy PA
April 10, 2014 - I need a suggestion for almost full shade plants for central Pennsylvania.
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screen Tree for Patio in NC
April 15, 2013 - What is a good tree to plant in front of a brick wall/fence to provide privacy and not compromise the structural integrity of the wall? The brick fence is my neighbors but I need privacy as they can s...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.