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Virginia Creeper - Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia Creeper - Parthenocissus quinquefolia

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Parthenocissus quinquefolia, commonly known as Virginia Creeper, is a versatile and vigorous deciduous vine native to North America. Belonging to the Vitaceae family, this plant is admired for its attractive foliage that transforms with the seasons, as well as its ability to quickly cover structures and provide visual interest. Some either love or hate this vine because of it's aggressive nature. However, here at Amelia's we adore this vine for it's ability to remind us how lovely it is when season change. It is stunning when allowed to climb up trees.


Virginia Creeper is a climbing vine that can reach impressive heights of up to 30 to 50 feet or more. Its stems are covered in tendrils that allow it to securely attach to various surfaces as it climbs. The leaves are compound, composed of five leaflets that radiate from a central point, resembling the fingers of an open hand. The foliage turns from bright green in spring and summer to a stunning display of red, orange, and purple hues in the fall.

This vine thrives in full sun to shade and is adaptable to a wide range of soil types. Virginia Creeper is relatively low-maintenance and can tolerate both dry and moist conditions. It's an excellent choice for arbors, trellises, trees, walls, and fences, where it can quickly cover surfaces and create a lush green backdrop.

Known for its remarkable change in appearance throughout the seasons. In spring, its new leaves emerge with a vibrant green color that contributes to the overall lushness of the plant. As summer progresses, the foliage provides a cooling effect with its dense coverage. However, it's in the fall that this vine truly shines, turning into a fiery display of red, orange, and burgundy leaves that add a touch of autumnal brilliance to the landscape.

Maintaining Virginia Creeper is relatively easy. Regular watering during dry periods is recommended, especially during the establishment phase. Pruning can be done to manage its growth and shape. However, be cautious when planting this vine near structures with wood siding, as it can attach tightly to surfaces and potentially cause damage over time.


While Virginia Creeper is not harmful to humans, it's worth noting that some individuals might experience skin irritation or allergic reactions when handling the plant's sap.


Light: Any, full, part and shade

Moisture: Moist to long dry periods

Form: Vine

Size: 40' long

Life Span: Annual

Salt Water Flooding Tolerance: Not tolerant

Salt Spray/Soil Tolerance: Moderate. Tolerant of salty wind and may get some salt spray. Exposure to salt spray would be uncommon (major storms)


Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand

pH: 5.0-8.0

Zones: All of Florida


Bloom Season: Spring

Fruit Color: Blue

Phenology: Deciduous. Blooms in spring. Fruits ripen in fall.

Noted for: Fall color

Recommended Uses: Allow to climb on trellis, trees, or building masonry. The tendrils of Virginia creeper are tipped with adhesive-like disks that gives the vine the ability of cementing itself to surfaces. Unlike many vines, these tendrils will not penetrate the surface of the masonry which can be detrimental to the structure. Can be used as a ground cover.


Native Habitats: Dry-moist sites. Hammocks, riverine forests, coastal sites, flatwoods, thickets, disturbed woods.


Considerations: It should not be allowed to climb painted surfaces because this same adhesive-like material will bond to the surface and likely damage the paint . This plant can be overly aggressive and readily reseeds.


Wildlife: Fruits eaten by a variety of birds and small mammals. Also used for shelter. Pollinated by bees and other pollinators. Bees documented visiting this species include Colletes nudus, Augochloropsis metallica, Megachile mendica, and Apis mellifera (honeybee) (Deyrup et al. 2002). Larval host for some sphynx moths.


Comments: Apparently a dye can be made from the fruits. Fruits said to be edible but not tasty. The Cherokee used an infusion made from this plant for the treatment of jaundice caused by liver problems. The Creek tribe use this plant as a treatment for gonorrhea. Many northern tribes had myriad medicinal applications for this plant.


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