The Virginia creeper is a native perennial, fast-growing, deciduous, woody vine that can climb along the ground or almost anything to a height of more than 50 feet and spread over 35 feet. The leaves of Virginia creeper consist of five small green leaves with toothed edges and are 2 to 6 inches long. In autumn, the leaves are a vivid red and turn maroon.
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) Picture
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) Info
||Virginia creeper, Victoria creeper, five-leaved ivy, five-finger, woodbine
||Deciduous perennial vine
||30 to 50 feet
||Full sun to part shade
||Sandy, clay, loamy
||5.1 to 7.5
Ecological Habits of Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Virginia creeper is a carefree plant. It is a deciduous, perennial vine with a woody stem. The plant will bloom from June to July with green, inconspicuous flowers. They turn into round ball-like fruits, which persist on the vine and add interest.
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) Distribution Area
Stroll through almost any woodland setting in the United States and you’ll probably see Virginia creeper (Quinquefolia). This native climbing vine is indigenous to most of the country and clambers over rock walls, trees and fences. It is hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3B through 10. It was later also given to the closely related P. tricuspidata, which is a native of China and Japan. The Asian species is often seen growing over rocks in Chinese gardens, or alongside other vines such as wisteria. The Chinese consider this plant so vigorous that they call it ‘Mountain-climbing Tiger’.
How to Grow and Care for Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
How to Grow Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Prepare a rooting medium of coarse sand, or use a combination of half sand and half peat or half peat and half perlite. Work in enough water so the medium is moist but not soggy. Pour the moistened medium in a container several inches deep and level the surface.
Snap off a section of the growing tip of Virginia creeper in late spring or summer. Choose a section that is several inches long with the newest leaves smaller than the older ones and the woody vine just beginning to harden. Alternatively, cut off an end section of an older, harder, more woody vine that contains several leaf nodes in the winter when the Virginia creeper is dormant. Do not use sections of the vine that have flowers and use only healthy parent stock. Keep the cutting moist until time to plant it.
Pinch off the leaves from the lower half of the cutting. Dip the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder, if desired.
Stick the cuttings upright into the prepared rooting medium with the cut end down. Push it into the medium to about half its length. If you are rooting more than one cutting, place them far enough apart so their leaves do not overshadow one another.
Transplant the cutting into a flowerpot filled with moist, sterile potting soil in a few weeks when it has roots an inch or so long. Continue to keep the Virginia creeper in a bright location and keep the soil moist. After a few weeks, when the plant is stable in the pot, transplant it outdoors, soil and all, to the desired location.
How to Care for Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
The Virginia climber thrives when planted in areas with full sun to partial shade. It can also survive under a canopy with blotchy sunlight. During flowering and fruit-bearing stages, it is better to give the plant at least 6 hours uninterrupted exposure to sunlight for continuous growth and development.
Grow Virginia creeper in well-drained soil. It will grow well in a variety of soil types, including clay, sand, or loam. It will tolerate a range of soil acidity and alkalinity.
Water newly planted trees regularly with a garden hose for at least one month (2 months in Summer). Automatic irrigation systems may not be sufficient initially. Water frequency will vary according to the season, exposure, and plant size.
April – Oct this Maple should be irrigated 2 x weekly.
Nov – Mar this Maple should be irrigated 2 x monthly
Parthenocissus quinquefolia is indigenous to eastern North America and can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9. The plant should survive down to temperatures of -10 degrees Fahrenheit when dormant in winter. It can be damaged by a late frost after spring growth has started.
Application of fertilizer should be done as needed, depending on the soil fertility status. During its flowering stage, it is better to avoid the application of nitrogen fertilizers as it will encourage leaf formation and may hinder flower formation.
Prune Virginia creeper back during the growing season if it becomes unruly and digs up any plants that spread. Keep Virginia creeper off trees and shrubs. It will slowly choke other plants and block off the light. Virginia creeper attaches itself to masonry and walls with adhesive disks. It is difficult to remove and should be considered a permanent planting.
Uses of Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
The shelter afforded by Virginia creeper provides places for warblers and other songbirds to nest and gain protection from predators and harsh weather. It also shelters toads and insects, which in turn are food for many birds and mammals. Virginia creeper also offers food in the form of pollen for bees that pollinate its flowers and berries for songbirds, skunks and chipmunks. Deer are known to occasionally munch on the leaves.
Virginia creeper is reputed to have been used by humans to alleviate jaundice, headaches, rheumatism, bunions, respiratory ailments, and skin irritations such as poison sumac rash. (Caution: We are not recommending the use of these plants for medicinal or food purposes. Many plants are poisonous or harmful if eaten or used externally. The information on food and medicinal value is only added for interest. This information has been gathered from books and its accuracy has not been tested.)
Varieties of Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Although common Virginia creeper grows well in most yards, you might try several improved horticultural varieties for increased pest resistance. Below are a few to consider:
Virginia creeper‘Engelmanii’: This variety has small, attractive leaves and clings to walls and fences better than other varieties.
Virginia creeper‘Monham’: Like some varieties of ivy, this cultivar has leaves with white variegations.
Virginia creeper‘Variegata’: This plant doesn't grow as vigorously as other varieties, but its leaves are variegated with yellow and white. In the fall, these variegations become pink and red.
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) Companion Plants
Grow Virginia creeper up a wall, building, or fence where it can remain for years. Plant Virginia creeper on non-wooden surfaces since the lush growth can cause the wood to mold and rot over time. If growing against a wooden house, consider building a trellis 3 feet away from the building so plenty of air can flow behind the vine and keep the wood dry. Grow Virginia creeper over walls or on banks to cover a slope. You can often see it rambling in wild areas over other trees and shrubs.