The Q&A Archives: What To Plant On Rock Retaining Wall

Question: I was considering a vine to grow on my rock retaining wall... maybe an english ivy. Would that be a good choice for this location? If not, any suggestions?

Answer: English ivy or Hedera helix is evergreen and does well in shady locations or on eastern exposures and will cover the wall completely. In a sunny southern or western exposure it may winterburn, as it also might in a windy location.

You might also consider Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia. This vine can also cover the wall completely but it is deciduous and turns a lovely red in the fall. It is tolerant of almost any growing conditions from sunny to shady.

Both of the above are large plants and can ultimately cover a lot of space. If the wall is not terribly high, you might consider Euonymous fortunei which is available in some interesting foliage patterns. This plant will grow as a shrub or will climb if a support is available as in this case.

All of the above will grow relatively quickly and do not require trellis or any special support, they are also easy to grow. Your local professionally trained nursery staff and/or county extension may have some additional suggestions based on a more detailed description of the growing conditions where you want to plant the vine. Good luck with your selection!

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