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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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Wednesday - November 23, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shade Tolerant, Vines
Title: Evergreen Vine for San Antonio Trellis
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I have a new trellis at the end of my patio on which I want to grow an evergreen vine. The area is fairly shady. I had settled on Carolina Jasmine, but read that it is very toxic which is worrisome since I have toddler grandchildren. I searched your plant list, but am still uncertain as to the best choice for this spot. Your input will be appreciated.

ANSWER:

Yes, the database shows Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) to be of possible concern around toddlers.  How I would choose is to base my search around the recommended species for Central Texas.   When I narrow the search to General Apearance:VINES – there are 11 candidates which are native to Central Texas and will thrive in our climate.

Of these – one, Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) is evergreen and looks to be a great choice for arbors.  If you will consider deciduous vines, then almost all of the eleven vines on the list can be considered.  Of those, Clematis texensis (Scarlet clematis) and Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper) are showy and I’ve seen great examples of them as arbor vines.  If “fairly shady” is determining, then you may consider Parthenocissus heptaphylla (Sevenleaf creeper) as the one listed as shade tolerant. A very similar native, Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) is aggressive and quite common, but carries the same sort of concerns as you have for Carolina Jessamine.

 

From the Image Gallery


Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Scarlet clematis
Clematis texensis

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

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