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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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Friday - June 08, 2012

From: Beaverton, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Planting, Vines
Title: Vine Choices Scarce in Beaverton Oregon
Answered by: Leslie Uppinghouse

QUESTION:

Hi, I am looking for a hearty vine that we could use to cling to and cover a cement wall that is about 8 feet tall and 30 feet long. It is on the south side of our house but never gets direct sunlight throughout the day. We live in Beaverton, OR. Zone 8a. I like the looks of a traditional vine leaf..on the larger side. Thank you!

ANSWER:

 Oregon has a wide variety of native plants to choose from that are commercially available. The exception to that rule would be when it comes to vines. If you do a search in the recommended species section of the web site. You can click on the state of Oregon and then narrow your search by choosing vine, in the general appearance box. You will see that this brings up only three species to choose from, Clematis columbiana (Rock clematis)Clematis ligusticifolia (Western white clematis), and Lonicera ciliosa (Orange honeysuckle)

Any one of these would work for your wall. All of them will need something to cling to, as your wall would not have enough texture for them to grab on to, and climb. The simplest way to do this would be to screw in eye hooks at the top of the wall and run a coarse landscapers twine down the wall. 

Neither of these vines will harm the surface of the wall. The Clematis are typically stickier to work with than the honeysuckle. The Orange honeysuckle is the showiest, in terms of bloom. 

We wish we had more variety for you to choose from and it is funny that Oregon doesn't have more native vines. For even the vines that are not commercially available are few. Maybe your state is so chock full of stuff growing on the ground and in the trees that there just isn't enough room for vines. Oregonians battle the dreaded English ivy all the time which is a non native, aggressive invasive. We can't recommend this plant, as it has escaped formal gardens and has become a real nuisance in the wooded forests and wild spaces of Oregon and many other states as well. Even if you did try and grow ivy on the wall it would likely spread all over your yard and your neighbors, so be a good state steward and stick with your natives.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Rock clematis
Clematis columbiana

Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

Orange honeysuckle
Lonicera ciliosa

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