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

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

More Planting Questions

Where to find milkweeds and other butterfly favorites
March 07, 2016 - Our neighborhood in San Antonio is planning a big Arbor Day celebration. One of the events will focus on Monarch Butterflies. We will be releasing some live ones in our park and will have a booth th...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Live Oaks in Mesa AZ
March 26, 2013 - I have two Evergreen Live Oaks in central Arizona. One is flourishing and getting new spring leaves from top to bottom. Its trunk is rough, has large grooves, and the spots where I've pruned look li...
view the full question and answer

Baby mountain laurels are ready to move, in Lockhart Texas
October 19, 2011 - I want to harvest the baby mountain laurel plants which are growing under a large bush. What height would be best for the young plants survival? Please recommend a soil mixture for the pots.
view the full question and answer

Moving "lily of the valley" from MD to TX. Is that OK?
January 17, 2012 - My question pertains to lily of the valley. From your database, I learned that it is a native plant but only the following states were listed: GA , KY , NC , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV. I am moving from...
view the full question and answer

Safe grazing for donkeys and goats from Osteen FL
June 30, 2012 - I am having a very difficult time trying to find shrubs, hedges, plants, flowers, or trees etc. that are safe for donkeys and goats. We live in Zone 9 and have a small farm. I've had to pull every ...
view the full question and answer

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