Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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 - October 01, 2015

From: Temecula, CA
Region: Select Region
Topic: Vines
Title: Vine for Shady California Apartment Patio
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a smallish gazebo on my apartment patio. I'm looking for a delicate looking flowering vine to grow in shade in Southern California. Perennial would be wonderful but this is probably too much to hope for.

ANSWER:

Looking at the Native Plant Database on our www.wildflower.org website, there are several perennial vines that grow in the shade in California for you to consider for your apartment patio gazebo.

One is Clematis ligusticifolia (Western white clematis). A strong, woody or semi-woody climber to 20 ft. or more. The wide clusters of creamy-white blossoms, from leaf axils on the upper portions of the plant, occur in such profusion they impart a white color to the whole mass of growth. Clematis ligusticifolia is widely adaptable, tough and disease-resistant. Rejuvenate by cutting back to 1 ft. above ground every 3-5 years. In very dry, hot areas, provide afternoon shade and mulch to keep the roots cool. All parts are poisonous. Severe pain in mouth if eaten; skin irritation if touched or inhaled. Symptoms include burning sensation of mouth and mouth ulcers; skin redness and burning sensation. Attracts birds and hummingbirds.

Another to consider is Lonicera ciliosa (Orange honeysuckle). This honeysuckle runs freely on the ground or clambers up trees, sometimes reaching a length of 18 ft. The large, orange, trumpet-shaped flowers occur in dense, terminal clusters just above a large round leaf (two opposite leaves entirely fused). Fruits are red. Leaves are deciduous. Orange Honeysuckle attracts hummingbirds and other wildlife.

Lonicera hispidula (Pink honeysuckle) is another possibility if you can find one that exhibits a good vine form (instead of a shrub form). Native to open woods and shrublands from southwest British Columbia to southwest California, Lonicera hispidula is a member of the honeysuckle family (family Caprifoliaceae), which includes mainly shrubs, sometimes vines or herbs, commonly with showy flowers. This species is one of those peculiar twining shrubs sometimes encountered in genus Lonicera. It usually grows as a loose shrub unless its branches come in contact with something it can twine onto, like a neighboring plant or a fence; then the branches will twine up and out while the center of the plant remains a somewhat stout shrub. Some individuals, though, are more generally vine-like and will trail along the ground with little or no shrubbiness, while others will be more consistently shrubby and will hardly twine at all. Lonicera hispidula is deciduous to semi-evergreen and ranges from 3 to 20 feet high, the greatest heights reached by twining. Attractive pink, rose, or purple flowers appear in spring and summer and decorative red berries in fall.

 

From the Image Gallery


Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

Orange honeysuckle
Lonicera ciliosa

Orange honeysuckle
Lonicera ciliosa

Pink honeysuckle
Lonicera hispidula

More Vines Questions

Need a vine to cover a 8' cinder block wall in Fullerton, CA.
August 23, 2010 - Hi- I have a 8' cinder block wall that gets full sun, and need to find either a flowering shrub that would cover, or a vine that wouldn't be to hard to manage, or would not need to use a trellis....
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine that will bloom in East Texas in March
October 08, 2008 - What kind of flowering vine will bloom at the end of March in New Caney, Tex. 77357?
view the full question and answer

How Will Termite Fumigation Affect a Figvine
September 26, 2010 - Will a termite fumigation kill a 19 year old figvine that is growing on a stucco house?
view the full question and answer

How many seeds in a Balsam Gourd fruit?
January 12, 2016 - How many seeds should I expect to find inside the fruit of Ibervillea Londoners?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen vine or plant that is non-toxic for horses in Pennsylvania
June 12, 2009 - I am looking for an evergreen vine or plant that can grow in shade and is not toxic to horses. I live 30 miles west of Philadephia. Can you help me? I would like to camouflage a wire horse fence. It ...
view the full question and answer

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