covering a stucco wall

Hi I'm trying to figure out the best way to cover my stucco balcony with something green and alive. I put up some creeping fig vines, but there's still more balcony to fill. I was thinking some kind of moss maybe? Is this realistic? What other option might I consider that would require little care and would do a good job of densely covering the side and top of the stucco walls? Thanks.
- JayDee
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On 3/9/2008 11:00 PM, JayDee wrote:

Creeping fig (Ficus pumila, also known as F. repens) will severely damange stucco. It's worse than ivy. If you own the building, that's your problem. If you are renting, you will have a problem with your landlord.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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wrote:

You are better off putting up a latice using a piano hinge to take it down to paint and maintain the stucco occasionally, but I don't recommend planting hold fasts to a stucco structure. On my west wall I have something like this and I have sold four sides 8 inch thick limestone on my house. I used Aristolochia gigantea or Dutchman's Pipe as its sometimes commonly called. It is evergreen here in zone 8b, but will come back from either root or seeds every year if we have a long stretch of low temps. Our ground never freezes here. It is rare to have 27 degrees for any length of time and this is the temperature the ground will freeze at.
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I suggest that you train a vine (but definitely not moss) on some sort of structure that can be mounted so it is a few inches *out* from the wall. Someone else mentioned lattice, and that would be a good option. Any plant growing on brick or stucco can create damage (mold, mildew, cracks developing) and is also an attractant to insects. Moreover, you will not be able to view any damage to the surface of your home as it is developing...possibly until after major damage has been done.
MaryL
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wrote:

thanks for the replies.
The creeping fig doesn't even appear to be sticking to the stucco after almost eight months of being tied to little plastic clips every 4-6 inches. It seems to have grown a little, but since the figs are in 12" diameter pots, I don't think they'll be growing all that fast. How long will it take before they start attaching themselves to the stucco? Should I put something against them to press them into the wall? At this point, I'm alright leaving them since it's an apartment that needs a little stucco work anyway (I've been here for 10 years and they really need to restore it).
- JayDee
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thanks for the replies.
The creeping fig doesn't even appear to be sticking to the stucco after almost eight months of being tied to little plastic clips every 4-6 inches. It seems to have grown a little, but since the figs are in 12" diameter pots, I don't think they'll be growing all that fast. How long will it take before they start attaching themselves to the stucco? Should I put something against them to press them into the wall? At this point, I'm alright leaving them since it's an apartment that needs a little stucco work anyway (I've been here for 10 years and they really need to restore it).
- JayDee
This site says creeping figs will cling to any damp surface (which would not be true of stucco -- and would not be desirable): http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=howTo&p=PlantGuide/_PLA704.html. You said that the stucco needs to be restored. That, of course, will be impossible with vines growing on it. The vines would need to be removed -- and that will probably leave still more damage if you were to get true clinging vines, such as ivy. I did espalier some Russian olive on a brick wall a number of years ago, and that worked well. It had to be held with clips or tied to nails (which is an advantage rather than a disadvantage because clinging roots really can do a lot of damage), but the stems were sturdy enough so that I was able to use very few nails and tie the developing plant to them. The underside of the leaves gave a pretty, shimmery almost "silver" effect against the wall.
MaryL
MaryL
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moss requires constant dampness, not good for stucco.
http://weloveteaching.com/mypond/moss2006.jpg

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