Newbie: non-poisonious flowering vine to cover cement block wall

grilledcheese818January 18, 2009


I'm a newbie to gardening/landscaping. I just purchased my first home in Southern California (Yorba Linda, ca).

The house has a beige cement block wall. I thought flowering ivy/vine would be an inexpensive way to cover it (I've thought about stucco... but that would be a fortune).

I have a dog so, I need something which is non poisonous.

I also need to cover about 200 feet in wall which is about 6 feet high.

Could anyone suggest an option for a vine/ivy which would stay green all year round?... the flowering would be a bonus.

Also how far to I need to space the plant?


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Central_Cali369(Sunset Z9, Fresno, CA)

You have many options to consider, don't limit yourself to ivy - leave that for those in colder climates who are limited in plants they can use. I'm sure someone close to you will chime in and give some suggestions. There are a couple i could suggest but you would need to set up a series of tellises and that could be expensive. Coral Vine, Pink Bower vine, Lavendar Trumpet Vine, Madagascar Jasine...

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 2:10PM
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Mexican blood red trumpet vine would do it. No thorns either.Drought tolerant as I have seen them cover a quarter mile of chainlink fence parallel to railroad tracks.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 4:40PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

If you would like something that will attach itself to the concrete block you are a bit limited.

Most flowering vines need support, and most grow to the top of the wall and lose all of their leaves down below, flowering only on the top.

I think this is why you see so many concrete block walls with Boston Ivy. It's deciduous, but it sticks to the wall all by itself and it doesn't get top heavy. The other vine that is commonly used on block is creeping fig, but it is more work, and it wreaks havoc on sewer lines with its invasive root system. It's beautiful.

If you have space, you might want to consider nandina instead, but then you are getting into some money again.

I would avoid regular English or Algerian ivy. They are too much work and too invasive.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 10:40PM
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200 feet! My goodness!
Please don't plant ivy--it's a major plant pest in California, and kills trees it climbs up (not that you'll have trees, but it escapes and could be transmitted to your neighbors, etc)
I can think of things to suggest, but 200 feet is going to be expensive! Star Jasmine would work, as would Pink Jasmine, but you'd probably have to plant one every 2-3 feet.
Cheaper would be planting seeds (but you'd have to replant every spring, of course) and if you would consider that, I would recommend Scarlett Runner Beans, they grow like crazy, the hummingbirds love them, plus you get tasty lima-like beans when green, and dried beans when mature.

Climbing roses could be spaced a lot farther apart, but they would also take a long time to fill in the walls.

Anything you plant will also have to be watered, of course. Will you be using drip-watering along the 200-foot-run? Or irrigating a trough?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 11:50PM
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Another vote against invasive ivy types. Jasmine vines, trumpet vine, passionflower, clematis or if you don't mind it being deciduous, grapes.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 8:58PM
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Do not plant creeping fig. It will get into your yard and anywhere it can, thru cracks in walls. It doesn't need anything like wire etc to help it. It clings like glue to a wall.
I tore out just about 15 feet of it and the one root ball after 2 years still tries to grow. I managed to get 2 root balls out but they send runners that grow together into huge roots.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 10:03PM
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This was awesome! I think I like the look of creeping fig but I don't want the hassle.

My rear neighbor has some mature trees close to back wall, so I don't want to replace them as a result of damage caused by my plantings.

As for irrigation, I have a fairly robust sprinkler system. I will water directly with a hose where needed.

From a trellis perspective, since I have to cover so much space I thought I could use fishing line/wire and eye-screws to create the desired effect of a trellis.

I could probably paint the cement brick white as well instead of the earthy brown tone.

Do the trumpet vines grow quickly?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 1:02PM
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Are bougainvilleas a good alternative?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 4:23PM
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Find a passion vine. Beautiful flowers. Some with fruit. Careful though. Some species are invasive.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 6:07PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

The best solution is Boston Ivy. Yes it is deciduous for a couple of months, no, it doesn't have showy flowers, but the leaves turn brilliant red in the fall even in Orange County, and the leafless vines decorated with clusters of purple berries (which the birds love) make a beautiful pattern on the walls in the winter. You could easily do a 200 ft wall with 10 plants.

You end up with a wall that looks like a lush green hedge. Every 3 years or so I pull everything off the wall (it comes off easily) and cut the plants down to the ground to rejuvenate it. It all grows back quickly. Plant flowering plants in front of the wall. Much easier to maintain.

Trumpet vine gets very very heavy and fishing line is not going to hold it up. The other drawback is it is a fine place for rats to nest. My neighbor has a wall covered with trumpet vine (there is a short wrought iron fence on top of the wall for the vines to grow up and hold on to) and it is full of rats every year.

Here is my ivy-covered wall:

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 2:14PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Hey Grilledcheese,
Bougainvilleas do not stay up against walls, and you would need a serious trellis (2x3 lumber) to hold them up. Give them at least six feet to grow out from the wall, and be ready for serious litter from the "flowers" and seasonal pruning. They have thorns.

I would put in the Boston Ivy with a few clematis for flowers. The clematis can scramble up the ivy.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 8:30PM
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Or trumpet vine and a cat.
I have seen Boston Ivy used a lot in the bay area on freeway arches. It's a tough plant.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 8:42PM
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