Monday, December 3, 2012

Well aren't you the little thug?

It took me awhile to decide that I liked Muehlenbeckia axillaris, or Creeping Wire Vine. But decide I did, and three plants went into the area cleared out when the Rhody was removed last spring. I thought they would make a nice, quick growing, groundcover. Ya, you can say that again...
Muehlenbeckia axillaris taking over some Sempervivum

Here’s a positive endorsement I found online… "It's the leaves' unique ability to stay in excellent condition from March through November (or later) which makes all these uses suitable, no cutting back or grooming is generally required."
Muehlenbeckia axillaris climbing up through Grevillea victoriae 'Murray Queen'

And from the same source “it quickly forms a dense mat which weeds are unlikely to penetrate.” Is it just me or does that last bit sound a little like the beginning to a horror story?
Muehlenbeckia axillaris twining around Agave bracteosa

The general consensus online (because I’m researching it now, after I planted it) seems to be that it will grow to be 24-30” wide. That doesn't sound too horrible but when you realize they’re probably talking about each and every tiny stem reaching two to two and half feet long, AND add in the “twining/climbing habit” and yikes. I think this plant could cover a car, or maybe even a house, in a couple of years.
Muehlenbeckia axillaris and Dasylirion wheeleri

I guess the name "Creeping Wire Vine" held some clues, had I paid attention. I’m hoping maybe winter will somehow keep this budding thug in check, but I’m not holding my breath. I am however holding sheers…and will use them.
There used to be a Libertia ixioides 'Goldfinger' under there, somewhere...

33 comments:

  1. Hey, I planted that guy--and as far as I know, it's done nothing. Unless it's smothered under the Oxalis I got at Leach Botanical Gardens, because I figured they wouldn't do something bad--like sell me a plant that is going to take over the world. I'm going to make a concerted effort to find it today. Ai yi yi.

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    1. Interesting competition between the Oxalis and the Wire Vine. I await your follow up report!

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  2. "Creeping wire vine" - uh oh! Hopefully a "barbed" was not dropped from before wire, but then you might like it, too! The stuff I have to pull here...sheesh. Even in a drought, I see Vitex trees (from others' plants) and other thug plants (some I put in) popping up.

    I need to write a thug plant list!

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    1. Oh 'barbed' just sounds too dangerous even for me. I'd have to just torch the whole garden. Not that it will be dry enough to actually burn. I'd love to read a desert thug post!

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  3. Eek! It's really climbing all over everything. I've been tempted at the nursery, but didn't buy one. They look so delicate, but apparently not. Maybe you should put one where the goutweed used to be.

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    1. Yes...delicate, that's exactly how they look. Clever disguise.

      I've been pleasantly surprised, I expected as soon as the rains reappeared the Bishops Weed would be back in full force but so far (knock on wood) no such issue. So no, I won't be introducing this guy out there!

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  4. Uh oh my!! It looks beautiful, but damn, that's some crazy taking over crazy kind of garden thug. Best if luck with it. Remember my eradication efforts with the bishops weed? Well it's back with vengeance!

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    1. NO!!! Bad bad Bishops Weed! I only have one word of advice. Dig. Well okay really dig x 100, but you know.

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  5. Uh oh. I just put one in this fall. So far it's not doing anything, but I will watch it like a hawk come spring. Thanks for the heads-up. But it's so pretty!

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    1. Glad to alert you to possible danger...and I agree, it is pretty. That's the hard part!

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  6. They are great alone in hanging planters. In the ground I use a lawnmower to "prune" them once or twice a year. Good luck and may the best plant win. It's actually easier to kill than the dreaded Bishop's weed.

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    1. A lawnmower? You're scaring me!

      I suppose I should just get tough and pull them. Unlike the Bishops Weed it isn't rooting all over hell's half acre but all that twining is the ugly part.

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  7. Creeping? That's some fast growth and it's taking over some great plants. I'm wondering if it will be allowed to stay there at all.

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    1. Good point, it skipped right over the sleep and creep and just took off with the leap. I'm seriously considering putting it in the yard waste container before I take it to the curb tomorrow!

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  8. I remember I was about to buy one whilst in one of the nurseries in Cornwall a few years ago, and as I was about to pick one up a couple of friends gave me a word of caution that this plant became invasive in their garden. They live in a much milder area than ours so I thought maybe that's why it went berserk in their garden and it wouldn't be the case on ours. But still I heeded their caution and didn't buy one. I was still considering getting one until I saw your post...

    I still think it's a pretty and unusual looking plant though!

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    1. I agree, it is pretty and unusual. Damn.

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  9. I have a few in pots and they look awesome trailing down. But this is definitely an inquisitive plant, shall we say, so I can see it becoming a nuisance.

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    1. "inquisitive" how nice of you to make it sound intelligent!

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  10. That's it, i'm adding it to my list! Growing warmer areas' idea of horrendous weeds seems a good way to create an exotic garden.

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  11. Perhaps if I were to put some out in the middle of an open area it would do its thing and supplant our so-called "lawn"?

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    1. I think if you planted a dozen your lawn would be gone in about a week. If I can manage to remove one somewhat in tact I'll make sure it comes your way (if you indeed want it).

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  12. I recently removed Brass Buttons, Wire Vine and Blue Star Creeper that were at far corners of a flower bed. (What was I thinking?!?) They all grow together towards the center forming a thick mat invading everything along the way. I was lucky that a lot of it was just rooted into the bark mulch and was easy to dispose of along with the mulch. I did have to dig up a few plants in order pull the three invaders out of them. Now I can see little pieces of each popping up here and there. Come spring I'll have to go after the little bits. I'm really glad I got rid of it when I did though.

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    1. Well that's a nice little horror story. Hooray for you that you got right in there and took care of things. Are you saying that the wire vine actually rooted along it's stems? I guess I know what I'll be doing on our next dry day.

      BTW thanks for commenting again. I thought I'd added your blog to my Google reader but since I'd missed your gorgeous Epiphyllum blooms I guess I hadn't. Problem fixed!

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    2. I guess there is a reason they call them "ground covers" - It's going to be an on going battle like your fight with the "Snow on the Mountain" I'm sure. The Blue Star Creeper was by far the worse offender and every little broken off, missed piece is going to regrow.

      Thanks for checking out my blog - I'm trying to be a better blogger!

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  13. I can pretty much guarantee you will tear this all out sooner rather than later, as it is a true thug. Best use for this plant is climbing cyclone fences around tennis courts, or as a single species monoculture ground cover below trees in tough to maintain areas. It will overtake anything in its midst, and needs containment by structures or pavement to keep it somewhat within bounds. If you just can't part with it, make it a containerized prisoner only. Don't say you haven't been warned :D! David in Berkeley

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    1. Your scaring me! If it wasn't cold dark and rainy I would be out there in my pj's right now digging.

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  14. I have just had to masacre some decent shrubs to get on top of a sprawling mess that took over an entire fence. I wouldnt suggest planting near anything you love coz it will smother it to death!

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  15. And, this is why we love pachysandra. Wire vine can get thuggish in central NC, as well.

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  16. Your images look like Muehlenbeckia complexa rather than M. axillaris. And yes, M. complexa is likely invasive outside its native range in New Zealand and can escape from gardens (Cornwall, Scillies, Channel Islands).

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  17. bad bad stuff; it "creeps" underground and pops up everywhere.
    not good in california.

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  18. It used to be called Angel Vine but name was changed for obvious reasons. I clip mine back to keep it in check and i love the look of it. The part that I don't like is underground -- just try digging up those roots -- they are wirey and long and you will have to dig a whole to China to get them all. Still -- I like it!

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  19. If some of you are talking about Hottuynia cordata when you say Bishop's Weed, the plant is invasive from Asia, where it has been consumed since time immemorial. The leaves can be dried to make a medicinal tea known as "Ten Medicines" in Japan (Juuyaku) and serves to lower blood pressure, cleanse the system, tonify the system, for skin issues, and can be powdered to use as a weed deterrent( for other weeds) as read in a recent study. Here in Japan, people pick it in the spring and dry it in bundles upside down to drink for the rest of the year. Now you have something you can use it for after you weed it!

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