Vine for Huge Block Wall - Full AZ Sun

anthemazMarch 26, 2013

I've probably read 50 posts about vines on here, but I think I'm more confused now than before I started.

Hope you can point me in the right direction.

I have a HUGE block wall that is probably 200' long by 12' high. It faces mostly Southwest. So it gets sun nearly all day and all afternoon. (We are in Anthem, AZ).

The wall is big and ugly and is in my big backyard. I need to pretty it up ASAP.

I want to cover it with a vine that meets the following criteria. I will list then in the order of my priorities in case there is nothing that meets ALL the criteria:

1. Stays up and green all year. I want it to eventually cover the entire wall and stay up all year. Needs to withstand direct heat on a hot wall all summer, and not brown/die during winter.

2. Fast grower but doesn't hold me hostage 5 years from now (i.e. Cat's Claw). This wall looks hideous now. The sooner I can get it covered the better.

3. Has good smelling and/or pretty flowers.

4. Can go on it's own without a trellis. Can crawl up the stucco on the CMU block wall.

I have attached a picture of the wall so you can have an idea.

Thank you so much!

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GeeS 9b

I'd go with Cat's Claw...

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 10:27PM
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You can problaby try Crossvine. It is like a Cat's Claw vine,but less aggresive.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 10:36PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Lady Banks roses. The only aspect I'm not completely sure of is the heat of the wall, you should check on that, otherwise, all your other points are met although it only flowers now, in spring. We have covered a 150' chain link fence and are very happy with the result. Although there is one section, about 6' where the banks rose refuses to grow and we are replacing with primrose jasmine. That might work for you as well but I don't have a full year's experience to rely on.

Here's a picture from 2010, LOTS has changed in the yard since then but the rose hedge is about the same.

Maybe a hedge, like arizona rosewood or hop bush (not the red variety because it's frost tender around 30 degrees (I think)).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 9:00AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

The state of the yard in 2010 was dismal so here's a picture from today. I tried for basically the same angle. That large white trellis was covered in jasmine Tortuosum, it took it 2 full years to cover the trellis and one hard winter, the most recent, to kill all of it above ground. I took out the trellis and added plants that are more hardy. The roses are just beginning to pop, in a week or two the hedge will be covered in buds.

This post was edited by marymcp on Wed, Mar 27, 13 at 11:43

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 10:33AM
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My dad planted 2 Pyracantha against our 7' high south-facing block wall when we lived in Scottsdale, back in the 80's. They looked nice in all seasons and did really well, and although they didn't grow super-fast, we got good coverage after a few years. The mockingbirds loved it!

I don't remember if they self-climbed or if they needed support. I vaguely remember my dad attaching a few strings or wires to the wall with eye screws, but that may have been for another project. (My dad always had "projects"!)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:16PM
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Southwest facing hedge to fill in quickly and smells good? Holy cow.... First thought is a Banks Rose, many of them from Chambleess or ARE in Texas. Or plantings of Morning glory. Jasmine can do so well but that sun exposure kills your requirements.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 11:49PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

If you're sure you want a *vine*, neither this plant (in link) or Lady Banks rose will do. If you want to consider a non-vine plant, they will. I planted duranta against an east facing 6' block wall several years ago and they top the wall every year, even when cut back because of a freeze. The problem you might (would) have with either LB's or Sweet Memory is that they are sprawling plants and will take over a lot of real estate, growing out 4' - 6' in width.

As for vines, I think cat's claw meets all your criteria. Bower vine is very hardy and evergreen, but needs trellis. Campsis radicans (Trumpet vine) climbs on its own, but is not evergreen and is an aggressive invader.

I haven't grown Virginia Creeper, but it does meet your criteria. Read more about it and a few others here:

Here is a link that might be useful: Sweet Memory

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Those block walls certainly are very common around here. Yours is a lot more attractive than most. I'm doing grape vines and passion fruit. They certainly are fast growing, very pretty, but do die back in the winter. It's hard to get a vine that will be a fast grower, doesn't need a trellis, yet stays green year round, yet won't hold you hostage.

How about doing a bunch of pencil stick cactus between your shrubs. Very low maintenance and would look good.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 2:31PM
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Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions.

After reading more on here and talking to others, I think Cats' Claw is what I'm going to go with on the back wall. I'm planning on planting it on the ledge where you can see some of the round bushes and ocatillos.

A few follow-up questions:

1.How far down do the roots grow?

2. Will they be able to go under the footing of the smaller (3-4') wall in front?

I have a pool going in there this year.

3. Are the roots strong enough to cause problems with a pool?

4. Will they even be able to travel that far?

5. Can you control where Cat Claw grows? I want it to just grow up the wall, not OUT horizontally over the rocks.

6. How far apart should I space them

7. What size should I buy? 1 gallon? 5 gallon?

Thanks again!

This post was edited by anthemaz on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 15:09

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:05PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Planting cat claw is like deciding to raise a kid. If you don't want it forever, don't even start. Personally, I'd find almost anything else - this from the woman who has pick axed out a lot of cat claw. Not sure if I posted above....brb.....oh yeah I did. Good luck with whatever you choose, just about anything is better than that long ugly wall.

This post was edited by marymcp on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 17:04

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:32PM
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I would second marymcp. My neighbor's catclaw continually tries to overtake my yard. It takes over.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 5:32PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Here's an idea: Fruit tree espalier(s). I can't post the link because it's from a site that GW blocks as spam. If you Google the phrase you'll get some ideas.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:14AM
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I'm new here but I agree about the cat's claw. My side neighbor has it too and I have had to fight it back 3 times so far! Plus the mature vine is kind of ugly. Well at least hers is -- it all gnarly and pretty bare on the bottom 2/3 with all the greenery and flowers on the top. Mostly it looks like it has climbed over the wall and is hanging into the back neighbors yard. But it does have good height, it makes her 6 foot wall at least 8 or 9 feet!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:55AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I have cat claw and while I like it for the purpose I planted it, there are a couple of observations above you might take to heart.

1) It does climb up and over, so if your neighbor on the other side of the wall has something s/he doesn't want covered with cat claw, it may not be a good idea to plant it on your side.

2) After a few years, it does tend to look bare on the bottom, leaving your wall punctuated with "gnarly" vines mentioned above.

Seems every other person with a bare wall has this question sooner or later. Here's another discussion.

Here is a link that might be useful: Q. about vines on sunny wall

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:25PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Another link with good info on hot climate vines. However, I do think you need to speak with your over-the-wall neighbor before deciding to plant any vine, especially ones that essentially take over everything in sight. While you're busy deciding, why not plant mammoth sunflowers along the wall and enjoy the view?

Here is a link that might be useful: hot climate vines

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:45PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Rats, it didn't post the photo!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:46PM
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