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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.

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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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Sunday - September 02, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Growing Crossvine on a Wrought Iron Fence in Austin
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I would like to plant crossvine along a wrought iron fence. Will it damage the fence or the stucco posts?

ANSWER:

I'm pretty sure your wrought iron fence is safe, but I'd keep a close eye on those stucco posts. Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine) is usually less agressive than its look-alike relative Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper), but both vines put out out rootlets that will exploit any small cracks they find. These can be quite destructive, particularly to wooden structurres like houses or fences.

If you maintain your posts to be sure cracks don't develop and keep the crossvine trimmed back away from the posts, you should be okay.

As an alternative to crossvine or trumpet creeper, Mr. Smarty Plants usually recommends Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper). This vine puts out tendrils that attach to the surface of the structure and cause little or no damnage. Of course, what you give up is the showy spring and summer flowers. You do get colorful fall foliage though.

 

From the Image Gallery


Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

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