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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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Friday - May 31, 2013

From: Rochelle, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Climbing Vine for Illinois That is Non-Toxic to Dogs
Answered by: Anne Van Nest


I am looking for a climbing vine hardy in Illinois (zone 5) that it non-toxic to dogs. Can you help?


The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database.  Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: State – Illinois, Habit – vine, and Duration – perennial. You can narrow down this search further by indicating soil moisture, light requirements, blooming time and bloom color too.
This search criteria will give you 64 vines to consider. Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list.
Once you have a dozen or so climbing vines selected, then compare it to the ASPCA list of toxic and non-toxic plant lists for dogs.

Here are some vines that do not appear on the ASPCA "toxic to dogs" list that are hardy in zone 5:

Ampelopsis arborea (peppervine),

Ampelopsis cordata (heartleaf peppervine),

Artistolochia tomentosa (woolly dutchman's pipe),

Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper),

Cocculus carolinus (Carolina snailseed),

Galactia volubilis (downy milkpea),

Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle),

Vitus riparia (riverbank grape)




From the Image Gallery

Nekemias arborea

Heartleaf peppervine
Ampelopsis cordata

Woolly dutchman's pipe
Aristolochia tomentosa

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Carolina snailseed
Cocculus carolinus

Downy milkpea
Galactia volubilis

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Riverbank grape
Vitis riparia

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