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

Sunday - September 16, 2007

From: Uncasville, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Pruning, Vines
Title: Control of out-of-bounds Virginia creeper
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Our Virginia creeper (Woodbine) has outgrown its planned location this past summer. What is the best way to prune ivy stems for next years controlled growth?

ANSWER:

We're not sure that "controlled growth" is an appropriate or even achievable goal for the culture of Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper). Here in Texas, it is pulled up and vilified by a lot of people finding it in their gardens. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we enthusiastically support the use and propagation of native plants in the landscape, but maybe we're not equally supportive of every native plant. This University of Connecticut horticulture website can tell you a little bit more about it on your home turf. Two things you should note about using it in your landscape are, first, the berries are highly toxic and may be fatal if eaten. The birds like them, and don't seem to die, but people shouldn't try it. The second thing is, even in Connecticut, Virginia creeper is considered invasive. With its sucker-like stem ends allowing it to climb up trees, shrubs and structures (and people, if you don't move around fast enough) it is very hard to keep in a designated space. Constant vigilance is the best bet, and don't let it get started up any plant or structure you don't want it in. Those suckers really hang on, and can leave marks on walls or fences if you do manage to pull the vine off.


Parthenocissus quinquefolia

 

 

More Vines Questions

Identification of prickly vine in north Texas
July 07, 2008 - While trimming the shrubs around my suburban house I noticed (and my legs were torn up by!) a vine-like plant with small green serrated leaves and millions of small, very sharp thorns. I search Invasi...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to cover a fence and retaining wall combination
January 27, 2010 - Recently we replaced our fence and I need help with plants to mask an 18 foot section of fence/retaining wall. The fence guy set the fence back about 10 inches from the top of the retaining wall which...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of trumpet vine
September 07, 2008 - We have a trumpet vine growing in our yard and a friend wants to grow one in her yard. Can we dry the seed pod out and use it to start a plant for next spring?
view the full question and answer

Controlling pumpkin vine in British Columbia
July 15, 2008 - I have never grown pumpkins before but decided to try one plant this year. It seems to be taking over my small garden space. Can I prune it back? I only want one or two pumpkins for my grandchildre...
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine with yellow flowers in Nevada
August 10, 2014 - A flowering vine started growing in our Henderson back yard about 2 months ago. It has variegated green leaves & yellow flowers. We decided not to pull it out & now it's spreading. I've looked on v...
view the full question and answer

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