Rent Shop 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

Friday - April 13, 2012

From: Folsom, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Vines
Title: Folsom CA Wall-cover
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I live in Folsom, CA and I have an ugly cinder block wall that I want to cover, I want something that is low maintenance and that is going to grow and spread into my grass. The only one i can really think of to use is ivy, but my thumb is not very green yet, I love gardening just not very knowledgeable in it :) I have tried to do some research but, really haven't found anything that has been helpful.. thank you!

ANSWER:

When Mr Smarty Plants is looking for a wall-cover, his thoughts go to a nice native vine as they are low-maintenance and very likely to grow vigorously. You might plan to plant them on top and “train” them to cascade down, or plant them below and train them to go up & over.  I checked the recommended species for Northern California, then narrowed the search to just vines and found six good possibilities.   They are:

Aristolochia californica (California dutchman's pipe)

Calystegia occidentalis (Chaparral false bindweed)

Clematis lasiantha (Pipestem clematis)

Clematis ligusticifolia (Western white clematis)

Mahonia pinnata (Wavyleaf barberry)

Vitis californica (California grape)

I personally think the clematis’ have the nicer flowers, but then having California Wild Grapes would be a nice conversation piece!   What do you think?   Of course, if you prefer a shrub or maybe a ground cover, you can find the appropriate California native species with a similar search.

Want to become more knowledgeable about natives?  There is a local chapter fo the California Native Plant Society near you!  Another good choice is to become familiar with the local California Extension Office.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chaparral false bindweed
Calystegia occidentalis

Pipestem clematis
Clematis lasiantha

Pipestem clematis
Clematis lasiantha

Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

More Privacy Screening Questions

Can Monterrey Oak be topped into a bush from Austin TX
June 16, 2013 - I received a suggestion to use Monterey oak as privacy hedge by topping the small tree and letting it bush. I can't find any pictures or info on this being done though.
view the full question and answer

Shrubs or trees for privacy screen in New Hampshire
May 30, 2009 - I am looking to put up a living privacy wall in my yard. My husband and I just bought a house in Derry, NH, and have a rather large backyard (approx. 1 acre), which seems to get continuous sun. We h...
view the full question and answer

Need evergreen privacy screen for Austin, Texas
October 11, 2010 - I need an evergreen privacy screen. I live in southern Travis County and have a 450 ft property line that has a view to about 10 -12 neighbors back yards. I need something that won't be nibbled by ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screen for Reading MA
June 27, 2012 - Best tree to grow for a privacy screen - Hello, we recently moved into a new house in Reading and have an open area on the side of our house where we can make a privacy screen from our neighbors. Wha...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrubs for screen
May 01, 2008 - I'd like your recommendation for an evergreen shrub (flowers would be a nice bonus but not as necessary as the evergreen factor) or small tree with a height hopefully under 12' and a width hopefully...
view the full question and answer

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