Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cat's Claw Vine

Buyer beware!  Our next perfect Zone 9 Hardy plant is cat's claw.  It's a vine that spreads quickly up a ramada or trellis with sun.  Arizona has plenty of sun and therefore has plenty of these vines growing all over town.  Personally, I like this plant and think it's a great vine to have in your landscape....little to no water once established.  It'll take the brutal heat and absolute cold.  It climbs on its' own and grows like a weed.  So be careful when planting this vine!  Without adding bias, I'll do a pro and con category and then you decide if this is the right plant for you.

                                                                          Pros
  1. Will take the brutal heat...in fact thrives off of the sun and heat.  The more sun; the more vine.  Cold here doesn't seem to affect it.
  2. Little water once established.
  3. Climbs on its' own.
  4. It has beautiful yellow flowers.
  5. Once it has wrapped itself around the ramada, it will go for another round on its' own.
  6. Fast grower!
  7. Looks nice on a metal fence, trellis, or ramada.
                                                                         Cons
  1.   Climbs on its' own.  Do not plant near stucco or the home....or you'll find that when you pull the vine off the home, you'll pull the stucco or paint off the house.
  2. It's invasive and gets into everything.
  3. It's a top heavy plant and with enough weight, it could pull things down to the ground.
So there you have it.  If placed in the right spot, cat's claw can make an attractive plant.  Drive around town and see how people have used this plant in their own yards. This plant is loved or hated.  You decide.  Our next perfect Zone 9 plant is coming up tomorrow. Until next time.....

15 comments:

  1. Sounds like you have to be quite careful where you plant it. But it also sounds like a tough and rugged plant, just what you need for your climate. Did you end up getting any snow this winter?

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  2. Hi Rosey,

    It's a great vine, but you have to keep it contained or it will grow everywhere you don't want it to grow. You ask about snow:) In fact, we did this morning at around 5 AM...this winter is going to go down in books for being the coldest....snow and killing native plants like nobody's business....it's been pretty tough for a lot of people here:( Weather's great....gardener's are stressed.

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  3. Oh they are so lovely on the cement wall, maybe they can also be lovely in a trellis!

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  4. When are you able to plant cats claw? When is the earliest and the latest in AZ?

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  5. Go ahead and plant it now. You really have until around December to put it in the ground. It's a pretty tough plant here....just make sure it gets regular watering during the summer as the roots need to get established.....once that happens, this vine will require very little maintenance. Good luck!

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  6. how close to a stucco home are we talking? we have a cinder block wall that runs parallel to the back of the home that we want to partially cover. but that cinder block wall of course wraps in a square around the home on the sides that are much closer (say 3 feet) to the actual home.

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    1. Be careful, it will spread and wrap around all sides of the block and get into everything. It can spread 30+feed. My vines have taken over mesquites and our fences. It's not done growing yet.....

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  7. Not sure if you still see these comments, but here goes. I'd really love to plant some cat's claw along my chain link fence for some added privacy, but there are a few large, mature Mesquite trees that grow close to the fence and prevent it from being in full sun all day. Will this vine do okay in those conditions? Thanks!

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    1. Don't worry:) Cat's claw will take over the fence and your mesquite trees. During the winter when the leaves fall off the mesquite, the cat's claw climbs up the limbs and spreads:) Keep that in mind when planting this aggressive vine nearby:)

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  8. Be very careful where you plant it .. we have had a huge problem with it in New Orleans where it does as much damage as termites. I've seen it tear 18" thick brick walls apart, lift off roofs and rip walls off buildings. It's seed pods are about 12" long and open up to thousands of air borne seeds .. slightest breeze will spread them over a wide distance. You will have them sprout all over. Be careful when pruning as stem pieces will root easily.

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  9. I absolutely love this vine. It is one of the few vines that can stand up to brutal heat, creating shade and greenspace. It will literally grow up the inside of your porch then run across the beams. So beautiful. What most people don't realize is that they really don't destroy stucco or anything like that, more often the damage is caused when they try to rip it off walls, assuming it's doing damage. To get it to release you have to push it in, like a cat's claw, and the tendrils release.

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    1. This vine is still amazing over here and has done a great job taking over some ugly space. It's like a green wall now. Gorgeous!

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  10. Hello everybody. I just bought cats claw to that were staked at a nursery. Just planted them near and older brick wall 30 years old in Phoenix. Will this plant actually tear up the brick wall and get in the mortar? Should I pull them out? Also how long does it take before they claim to the wall. Thank you for your help

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  11. Hi Robert, sorry in the delay for your response. I was out on assignment. The cats claw LOVES the sun. At first a little water and then watch out! It will climb everywhere. It provides a beautiful ramada style roof. It won't tear up the brick wall but it will pull any paint you have on it. It took over our wall here around 4 or 5 years. Now it climbs up trees. The roots are the most invasive so make sure it's planted somewhere AWAY from your house. But if its a regular backyard wall that is used for a barrier, etc, you're fine. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

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