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I'm planning on covering the stucco (which has a texture like this) on the back facing walls (faces west) of my house with a creeper. I'd rather the plant not grow any roots on the walls and adhere to the substrate by disks or any other similar mechanism. An obvious choice for this is the Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), which is native to eastern and central USA. However, I'm not sure if the plant grows well in southern California (hardiness zone 10) and I'm looking for alternatives to choose from.

Some traits that I'd like are:

  1. Flowers year-round (or as much of the year as possible). Winters are mild (8–13 ºC or 46–55 ºF) and there is no frost. Fragrant flowers are preferable, but is not a must.
  2. As mentioned earlier, the creepers must not produce root structures on the substrate or in any way damage it. Getting rid of it (if I need to, in the future) should be as simple as clipping the stems at the bottom to cut off all supply and pulling it down.
  3. Should stay flat against the wall instead of growing outwards like a hanging bush.
  4. Should be easy to maintain and not ooze sap or any other icky stuff.
  5. Should grow reasonably fast. The wall is roughly (off the top of my head) 35'x10' (a lot less if you discount for the windows & patio door), and I'd like it covered within 12–18 months (24 months at most).

The general look that I'm aiming for is:

enter image description here

What are some possible choices that I can look into? Will my initial suggestion of Virigina creeper be a good fit for my climate?

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Coincidentally, this is question #1000!! We've come a long way! Congrats to all! :) –  Lorem Ipsum Feb 21 '12 at 12:26
    
If you don't want a plant that adheres then any climber will need something to grow on: plastic mesh, steel cable, wooden trellis. What did you have in mind? –  kevinsky Feb 21 '12 at 13:06
    
@kevinsky I didn't say I didn't want a plant that adheres... just one that didn't adhere by growing roots that penetrate. Virginia creeper and boston ivy, for instance, adhere with disks and you only need to kill the plant at the root and it'll lose its grip with no damage to the surface. –  Lorem Ipsum Feb 21 '12 at 13:22
    
@yoda, if your wall stays moist for a period of time, the disks will turn into roots, to catch moisture. –  J. Musser Feb 21 '12 at 14:28
    
@jmusser How long a period of time before that happens? Generally, it only rains here sporadically between Oct–Feb. It's pretty dry otherwise. –  Lorem Ipsum Feb 21 '12 at 15:10
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1 Answer 1

I would call this list a starting point. One thing I would ask you to consider is why plant only one species? With a mix you could get a wider flowering period.

  • Bougainvillea spectro-glabratough, takes dry soil, nice flowers, needs support
  • Campsis radicans-only held in check by lack of water, could be too vigorous in a sunny location, red or a yellow flowered variety
  • Clematis flammula Virgin’s Bower
  • Clematis viticella hybrids
  • Clematis tangutica-a personal favourite but invasive in some parts of North America, tough grows to 30', needs support
  • Hardenbergia violacea-nice but might not grow tall enough, needs support
  • Hedera canariensis-will cover the side of a house but the clinging aerial roots might pull off the stucco
  • Ipomea alba, not as vigorous as the better known morning glory but nicer, white fragrant flowers
  • Jasminum polyanthus (Jasmine) - lovely scented climber, ideal near a door or window, needs support, might need additional watering during dry periods
  • Kennedia nigricans (Black Coral Pea)-vigorous enough to cover your house and your neighbour's too, Australian, might have to start from seed
  • Mandevillea laxa (Chilean jasmine) pure white fragrant flowers ten to twenty feet
  • Pandorea jasminoides-Australian vine, might be a bit short
  • Passiflora caerulea (Passion flower) another classic climber, needs support, can get mites in dry climates, probably not tall enough
  • Podraena ricassoliana-Pink trumpet vine, vigorous south african plant, hard to tell whether it will be invasive, might be hard to find. Needs more water while being established, should have no problems covering the house, your car, even you...
  • Polygonum aubertii- it's not called mile a minute vine for nothing, probably invasive and not a good choice
  • Solanum ‘Glasnevin’
  • Solanum jasminoides var. alba Chilean potato vine, haven't grown it but looks good: vigorous, white flowers, scented
  • Tracholspermum jasminoides- star jasmine-widely planted in California, white flowers to ten feet tall
  • Wisteria sinensis or japonica (Wisteria)-I can't grow it where I am but you can! A classic, maybe even overdone. When well established will damage posts with it's trunks

There are a lot of white flowers in the list above so you could try the Sissinghurst White Garden look or mix two colours like trumpet vine and white.

I suspect some of these can only be found through a superior seed supply house but what's the point of doing something easy like going to a garden centre? Thompson and Morgan should have some of these or your local garden centre can assist you.

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Thanks, I'll go through the list. The suggestion to plant more than one species is good — I don't know why, but I hadn't thought of that at all! –  Lorem Ipsum Feb 22 '12 at 5:43
    
bougainvillea damages walls. –  J. Musser Feb 28 '12 at 2:30
    
@jmusser Tell me more about bougainvillea. I've seen it growing indoors and it was not a problem. What does it do when it really gets going? –  kevinsky Feb 28 '12 at 3:05
    
@kevinsky , if you want it to grow on a smooth wall, they need a lot of support. If they are grown up a wall of latticework they can damage it with their weight. They don't have tendrils and they don't twine, so their biggest need is support. They are thorny, so that helps. –  J. Musser Feb 28 '12 at 14:56
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