Succulents v. Ivy


Hello Cactus Jungle,
My ultimate goal is to eventually turn my backyard into an all-cactus-succulent garden and I’d like to know if there are succulent vines that can climb walls. I have ugly concrete/ masonry walls with cracks and would like to find a vine that will not grow into cracks and make them into bigger cracks. For instance, climbing fig is not a good idea.

Could you recommend a succulent vine or two that can climb walls but will not dig into cracks?

Thanks for any advice.
Tint

P.S. I read about you in SF Chronicle.

Tint,

Alas vines have two basic stratagies to climb, one is to glue themselves on to the vertical surface with sticky roots, or to either “twine” (grow in a spiral pattern so they cling and climb like a snake) or have “tendrils” which do the same thing. Sticky rooting plants are great at climbing walls since they can glue themselves to the rough surface or like you said by expanding cracks to help catch water and soil.

So if you want to build a trellis over you wall you can plant twining vines and they will climb the trellis without bonding to the wall, however they will be limited to the trellis. A good plant to consider is Senecio confusus “Mexican Flame Vine” which is not super succulent but is nice and drought tolerant and has great orange flowers. Another cool one is Dalechampia dioscoreifolia “Purple Bat Wings” which is a strange vine from Costa Rica in the Euphorbia family. It will get knocked back in a hard frost but usually comes back pretty quickly.

Take care,
Hap


    
    
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