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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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Sunday - April 26, 2015

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Vines for a backyard pergola not toxic to dogs and cats
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have just built a pergola in out backyard and are wanting a vine to grow up and around the posts. We have 3 dogs and also have a cat that loves to go outside. We are really looking for something that is non-toxic for them. We want something that is going to be able to handle the heat and also come back every year. We are also wanting other plants that are dog friendly that come back every year.

ANSWER:

Check the ASPCA lists of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List—Cats and Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List—Dogs.  For both lists, the first half of the list is for the toxic plants and the last half is for the non-toxic plants.  Of course, not every plant can be accounted for in these lists, but these are the more common plants that the dog or cat might come in contact with.

 

THE FOLLOWING ARE RECOMMENDED NATIVE VINES FOR THE AUSTIN AREA:

Not listed as poisonous on the ASPCA Lists or other Toxic Plant Databases

Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine) is semi-evergreen.

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) also is evergreen or semi-evergreen.

 Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Matelea reticulata (Green milkweed vine)

Merremia dissecta (Alamo vine)

Passiflora affinis (Bracted passionflower)

Passiflora incarnata (Purple passionflower)

Vitis mustangensis (Mustang grape)

 

THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT RECOMMENDED:

On the ASPCA Lists but not the other Toxic Plant databases

Clematis spp., with the following three species that grow in the Austin area:

Clematis drummondii (Old-man's-beard)

Clematis pitcheri (Purple clematis)

 

Not on the ASPCA Lists but on other Toxic Plant databases

 Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) not listed on the ASPCA list but is listed on Cornell University's Department of Animal Science - Plants Poisonous to Livestock and also on Plants Poisonous to Livestock and Pets in North Carolina.

 On the ASPCA Lists and other Toxic Plant databases

Wisteria species, with the following native species that grows in the Austin area:

Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) is also listed on Cornell University's Department of Animal Science - Plants Poisonous to Livestock and also in the Penn Veterinary Medicine Poisonous Plants.

 

To find perennial native plants that are not toxic to dogs, you can do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database choosing "Texas" from the Select State or Province slot and "Perennial" from Duration (lifespan) and you can also select other criteria from the list.  You can also go to the "Plants for Central Texas" list on our Special Collections page for shorter lists of plants that you can then use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to filter the plants on those lists.   Once you've picked out plants that you find interesting, then compare them to the ASPCA lists and the other Toxic Plant Databases listed above.  Use the scientific name to make comparisons since there can be multiple commonn names for plants.

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia



Alamo vine
Merremia dissecta

Bracted passionflower
Passiflora affinis

Maypop
Passiflora incarnata


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