Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
4 ratings

Saturday - March 02, 2013

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Vine to cover concrete retaining wall in Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an unsightly concrete retaining wall and culvert covers that require fast coverage from a vine of some sort. The plant must be deer resistant and drought tolerant. The retaining wall and culvert covers are located at the bottom of my very long driveway. I planned to plant creeping fig, but a friend suggested my neighbors wouldn't like it if it ever had the occasion to creep into the neighbors' yard. It is unlikely, but I suppose possible. I desperately need something to grow across and down a concrete wall fiasco -- quickly. We created planting beds on either side of the culvert covers and retaining wall, and we plan to fill them with crape myrtles, yucca and a creeping vine. Which creeping vine should I use to ensure it grows down and across while surviving deer and drought? Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thank you for your kind assistance.

ANSWER:

First, let me refer you to a similar previous Mr. Smarty Plants question for a vine to cover a retaining wall. And from the article mentioned in that answer, here were our suggestions for dealing rapidly with an ugly concrete wall:

"And the wall? Have you ever considered a gallon of masonry paint? Pick a nice soft background color, maybe green. Get a couple of rollers with special pads designed for painting on cement, and a few hours should make it look a whole lot better. Still not satisfied? Put a few green, maybe even blooming, shrubs in front of it to distract attention. Don't want to spend money on shrubs you're going to leave behind? Put them in large pots-that will give them even more height, more interest in front of the wall, and you can put them on the truck when you move."

Now for a previous answer on this subject from Round Rock, right next door to you. This answer also deals with creeping fig, hopefully in strong enough terms you won't even consider it. This last previous answer we referred you to has a list of vines that are heat and drought resistant because they are native to your area. It also refers to vines covering a stucco wall, but a concrete wall would be about the same situation. Deer resistance is always the hardest trait to find in any kind of plant. Of the list we gave in that article, these are the vines that are "moderately" (which means if they are hungry enough, the deer will eat them) deer resistant:

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper)

Clematis pitcheri (Purple clematis)

Passiflora incarnata (Purple passionflower)

Also, in that article we mentioned two plants that are not vines but are highly deer resistant and might work as cover for the concrete wall.

Hesperaloe parviflora (Red yucca)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo)

Follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant, which will tell you the prospective size of the plant, growing conditions and whether it is evergreen or deciduous. Most particularly, pay attention to light requirements. In other words, is the growing space in sun (6 or more hours of sun a day), part shade (2 to 6 hours), or shade less than 2 hours a day).

 

From the Image Gallery


Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Purple leatherflower
Clematis pitcheri

Scarlet clematis
Clematis texensis

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens



Red yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

More Vines Questions

Plant identification--vine with spiny pods in California
July 05, 2010 - I came across a vine while hiking in Orange County, CA. It didn't have flowers on it but has 3 or 4 inch spiny pods. What is it? The vine itself looks similar to a Morning Glory vine.
view the full question and answer

American Bittersweet in east Texas
September 24, 2007 - Does American Bittersweet vine grow in east Texas? It grows wild in Indiana and want to find it in our new location, Longview, Texas
view the full question and answer

Burned leaves on trumpet vine, Campsis radicans
August 10, 2009 - I have a trumpet vine, it is about 10 years old and I have never had any problems with it. This year I have noticed that the leaves on some of the branches are shriveling up, like it was burned with ...
view the full question and answer

Plant with dark black/purple berries in a cluster
November 06, 2012 - Today at our local dog park we noticed a bush/vine that's been growing up the fence is producing berries. It didn't flower at all. The berries look to have started out green and now are changing t...
view the full question and answer

Information about mustang grapes
March 14, 2016 - We live in the Driftwood area. There is a native vine that looks like Mustang grape but never produces. A friend who is native to this area called it rat vine. I miss my Mustang grape jelly. Is t...
view the full question and answer

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