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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 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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Saturday - July 11, 2015

From: Aledo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees, Vines
Title: Looking for an evergreen vine to grow on trellis as a privacy screen
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hello, I'm looking for an evergreen vine to grow on a free standing trellis. It is used as a screen on our back porch, so ideally we would not like to use anything that flowers due to the insects it would attract. I understand using ivy isn't wise, but we would love something similar. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

ANSWER:

Let’s start by looking at our Native Plants Database  to see what might be available.

Scroll down to the Combination Search and make the following selections: select Texas under State, Vine under Habit, Perennial under Duration,  Check Sun under Light Requirement, and Moist under Soil Moisture. Click the Submit request Button, and you will get a list of 25 native plants that meet these criteria. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains information about the plant’s characteristics, its growth requirements, and in most cases, images. By doing this, you can determine which of the vines are evergreen. You will also notice that virtually all of these plants have flowers; this is what plants do.

Is your aversion to insects all inclusive, or only to pollinators such as bees and wasps? There are evergreen trees and shrubs which are wind pollinated that might fit your needs.

Eastern Red Cedar Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar  and Ashe Juniper Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) both can form a dense screen that could provide privacy. However, they both release pollen into the air that can serve as allergens.

When you mention ivy, Mr. Smarty Plants assumes that you mean English Ivy. This link sort of sums up his reluctance to use this solution.

If you really like the “ivy look”,  this link to Amazon.com may be of interest.

My final suggestion is that you contact the folks at the Cross Timbers Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT). They can offer suggestions for native plants to use for your project.

 

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