Vine recommendations for a house in SF Bay Area peninsula zone 9b

mark4321_gwFebruary 15, 2012


My sister asked me recently for help choosing vines to cover a lot of bare walls, a large stairway, etc. She lives in San Carlos, CA about 25 miles South of San Francisco. The climate in some ways could be compared to San Jose. My impression is that it is a bit milder. I don't see that if I look at the climatological data, however I do see it in the plants that are grown. I recently saw the most stunning Poinsettia I've ever seen outside--a huge plant still with full colors.

If anyone reading this is really familiar with the area (and I'm sure exactly where one is can make a huge difference) she's walking distance from downtown, but up in a hilly area.

Anyway, she is not looking for a vine that she has to take much care of. She's looking for one that the deer (they are a huge problem) can munch down to nothing and the plant will jump right back up. Her sun exposure varies--I haven't wached all day in all areas to be familiar. It probably varies from areas with more shade than sun to mostly sunny regions. "Invasiveness" to some degree is fine--she'd rather have the gardener prune it back frequently than have a deer or a frost kill it completely.

So vines that are tough, "invasive", deer resistant or vigorus enough that it doesn't matter would be best. If it can tolerate forgetting to water that's also good (although I suspect that might eliminate a lot of things).

She's not a big fan of yellow and dislikes red (she vetoed Passiflora manicata). I think scarlet runner beans got an OK because they are edible. In spite of the yellow/red dislike, she really liked Thunbergia mysorensis when I showed her a picture. I have no idea whether there is a chance that plant would succeed around here--so opinions on that would be appreciated. I have a little Camptosema grandiflora. My spot is likely too small and again I have no idea if it blooms here (Eric and Crystal, if reading do you know?). She seemed to like that, in spite of it's red color. They will build a structure at some point on which such a vine can grow.

If Thunbergia mysorensis is appropriate I would be looking for a source (personal probably, I can likely give something in exchange).

We agreed that Passiflora loefgrenii x caerulea seems to fit all the criteria and I've already got one. I also got an Akebia quinata. She likes purples, and also chocolate (whether or not it actually smells like that). The other Passiflora that got a tentative approval is P. caerulea 'Constance Eliot'. I still think a Tacsonia would be fun, although it should be something that is not difficult, too moisture requiring, or overly frost sensitive. Does P. 'Donna Brigham' seem appropriate? (I know there's a similar hybrid with a different name as well). I actually forgot about P. membranacea. My experience is that frost damage happens pretty easily, though. Perhaps that one deserves rethinking...

I just picked up Cobea scandens. Actually, the woman at the nursery gave me a second as a freebie. It's a plant grown to its limit in a 4 inch pot. I want to send it somewhere as soon as possible. I saw that at a nursery in Berkeley and was reminded how nice it is--wow! If you've ever wanted to grow the species, this plant is big enough to be quick to bloom, I assume. I'm offering it along with a bunch of other random plants, including things such as Dahlia imperialis. Most things would be rooted cuttings or plants. Please see the exchange page for a detailed post with pictures of everything.

Anyway, beyond those plants we were wondering if a Solandra would work well in a climate with some frost.

I know I'm forgetting a few things--we never wrote anything down. Another note to Eric and/or Crystal if they are reading (congratulations, by the way). My sister's name is very close to that of one of your hybrids. That might be fun to give her at some point.


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I hit the wrong button above and hadn't finished writing.

I see the title got clipped. It should say zone 9b.

Anyway, I think I covered everything, except to mention that I also picked up Asarina erubescens (not one of our original picks, but it just looks very easy. I have not grown Asarinas before.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 12:29AM
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Cobaea scandens. I think I made that mistake a dozen times before realizing it.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 5:08AM
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