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 - October 17, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Vines for a cliff in backyard
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a large (25 ft) cliff in my backyard. Its too large to use a retaining wall and occasionally some of the caliche slides down. I'm planning on planting vines at the top and letting them drape over the edge and cascade downward. Hopefully the greenery will help with erosion. I'm thinking of Carolina jessamine and coral honeysuckle. Both evergreen and aggressive growers. What do you think and do you have other ideas?

ANSWER:

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) and Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) are good choices, although they are going to do their bests to try and climb up something.  You might have to continually encourage them to trail down the cliff.  Here are some suggestions for vines that are a bit better at trailing.  They are all deciduous, however:

 Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) will happily trail down the cliff.

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper) will also be happy trailing down the cliff.  It can be an agressive plant and you may need to keep it in check.

Merremia dissecta (Noyau vine) climbs by twining but will also trail down retaining walls.  Here is more information and photos.


Gelsemium sempervirens


Gelsemium sempervirens


Lonicera sempervirens


Lonicera sempervirens


Parthenocissus quinquefolia


Parthenocissus quinquefolia


Campsis radicans


Campsis radicans

 

 

 

More Vines Questions

Non-native, invasive Asiatic Jasmine from Austin
October 25, 2012 - Is Trachelospermum asiaticum considered a native texas plant? Is there an example growing at the Center that can be viewed?
view the full question and answer

Eradicating trumpet vine runners in Austin
April 29, 2012 - How do I eradicate trumpet vine runners from my lawn? Will it kill my pecan tree?
view the full question and answer

Slow flowering wisteria
May 09, 2007 - We have a young wisteria growing on the side of the house. It began to flower this year for the first time. Whereas my neighbors' wisterias all bloomed in February, ours has only begun to bloom in mi...
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars eating passion vines from Austin
May 17, 2012 - My question concerns Yellow passion flower, purple passion vine & butterflies. I have had my passion vines for 3-4 years, each spring they start growing beautifully, then in 1-2 days are almost compl...
view the full question and answer

Identification of bush/vine with purple berries
August 09, 2014 - I was clearing fence line and came across this plant it looks like a Bush but underneath grows like a vine it has long broad leaves that reminded me of Polk salad but it grows berry clusters the berri...
view the full question and answer

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