Caring For Virginia Creepers

September 25, 2018 in Trees Shrubs and Vines by Christine

How to Grow and Take Care of Virginia Creeper?

Virginia Creeper colourful rapid climber cold hardy

One of the very fast and rapidly growing vines is the Virginia creeper. They are very attractive and woody deciduous vines that simply loves to climb. It is also known as the Victoria creeper or the five-finger creeper or five-leaved ivy. This vine can grow in a wide variety of climates. Its binomial name is Parthenocissus quinquefolia and it belongs to the Vitaceae family.

Description of Virginia Creeper

These creepers are prolific climbers and can easily reach a height of about 20 to 30 metres. It makes use of the tendrils to cling on to the support surfaces like tree barks or rocks. The small fork like tendrils has a strong adhesive pad at its tips that helps it to cling on the surfaces firmly. The leaves have five leaflets and are palmately compound. They are joined from the centre of the leafstalk. The leaves range from 1.2 inches to 7.9 inches in size and they have a toothed margin. The Virginia creeper leaves turn into bright red colour or deep burgundy colour during autumn to offer a very attractive colour display to the garden. For most of the other times, it is only green in colour. The flowers are green in colour and are small, but are seen in discreet clusters during the springtime. They will mature during summer and will develop into purple or dark blackish-purple colour with 5 to 7 mm in diameter.

Growing Virginia Creepers

The Virginia creepers can tolerate any type of growing condition, be it, the sun or the full shade. It can grow well in soggy soils or in semi-dry soils. The best part about this creeper is that it can apart to any type of climate and growing conditions. It is better to avoid growing it near wood sidings and gutters. If you have plans to cover an area with the Virginia Creeper, then plant several of these creepers in that area. This is because the plant does not branch out into different slanted directions that much. It is a creeper and providing it with a plant tie initially to help in growing vertically is recommended. It’s quiet versatile as it can also be grown on the flat ground as a groundcover. It can be grown in pots, but it is best to grow it in an open area if you have space keeping in mind that this deciduous creeper grows very fast.

Caring for the Virginia Creeper

The Virginia Creeper is a deciduous perennial that does not need any care. It can grow on its own. The flowers grow and turn into fruits that are toxic. The fruits will stay on the plant. If you have children and pets at home, then it is better to prune the fruits off. These creepers are soft targets for leafhoppers and Japanese beetles. Hence, spraying it with the right insecticide will help in keeping them from intruding the creeper. It will tolerate drought for a few days and just needs supplemental water during the dry spells. Providing with an annual fertiliser will help the vine to grow lush and thick. It is a very good idea to prune the creeper occasionally. Prune off the broken stems from the main plant.

I have replaced my Australian native plant the beautiful happy wonderer vine that died last season due to heavy frosts. Even though our district is considered as the hot dry zone in summers. The climber could not put up with the Murray / Riverina cold winter climate during winter. It would have been flowering today on my birthday. It was very disappointing after seeing near three years scrambling up to the top of the old tree stump and flowering. The beautiful pea like pretty in purple flowers that use to hanging from the tall old tree stump at our front gate, it was a magnet for bees. Now I have replaced it with the Virginia Creeper. I hope the Virginia creeper is hard nosed towards our bitterly cold winter weather.

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