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Virginia creeper is an aggressive, woody vine native to the Midwest and the Chicago region. This vine is often found growing up tree trunks in native woods, but it can be trained to grow on a fence or arbor. In early autumn, the compound, five-leaflet leaves turn a brilliant red. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Grape
  • Family (botanic) Vitaceae
  • Tree or plant type Vine
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Creeping, Vining
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and Method of Climbing: 

Virginia creeper is a vigorous vine that can easily climb to the top of tall trees. This is a clinging vine. Clinging vines attach themselves directly to a surface by means of holdfasts (adhesive discs) or by small aerial roots. This type of vine grows best on a flat surface, such as stone, masonry walls and wood.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

This vine is found throughout most of the United States in woods, fencerows, and midwestern forests. C-Value: 2

Leaf description: 

The compound-palmate leaves usually have 5 leaflets that attach in the center. New leaves emerge purplish in the spring, mature to dull green in summer, and change to a brilliant purple to crimson-red in the fall.

Flower description: 

Clusters of small, greenish-white flowers appear in the upper leaf axils in late spring to early summer, but are generally hidden by the foliage.

Fruit description:

 Clusters of bluish-black fruit appear in September and October.

Plant Care:

Virginia creeper tolerates full sun to full shade. It is adapted to any well-drained site.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Mildews, leaf spots, canker and wilt are occasional problems on this vine. It grows so vigorously that it is often considered a weed. It is resistant to deer, drought, heavy shade, erosion, and black walnut toxicity.

Star Showers® Virginia creeper  (Parthenocissus quinquefolia ‘Monham’): 

A cultivar with variegated foliage.

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