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Virginia creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Coming in May!
Regular price $6.48 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.48 USD
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Sun/shade: Full sun to full shade

Soil moisture: Dry to medium

Height: -

Spread: 2'

Flowering period: -

When the trees of the forest are still green in the fall, their stems take on shades of red, revealing the path of a scarlet-leaved vine as it climbs toward the boughs above. The vine is the Virginia creeper, a native woody species that spreads across the forest floor and scales trees, rocks and any other objects it may encounter. In the fall this vine changes color before many other plants, turning shades of burgundy and scarlet. Also, in the fall it produces berries that are very nutritious for migratory songbirds. The berries are high in antioxidants and are energy rich, containing 24% fat. Research has shown that birds seek out the fruit of Virginia creeper, preferentially consuming it over the less nutritious fruits of more common, introduced plants.

Lacking tendrils, Virginia creeper climbs with the aid of tiny adhesive pads. This mode of attachment allows the plant to ascend brick or stone walls, in addition to the fences and trellises that are sometimes employed for climbing vines in gardens. When planted in full sun and moist soil, Virginia creeper can be a prolific grower, with stems extending 20’ in a single year. When planted in less ideal growing conditions, such as full shade and drier-than-average soil, the plant will still spread, but at a slower rate. If Virginia creeper spreads more than is desired, it can be pruned at any time – it should be noted, though, that wherever the plant grows along the ground, it will root into the soil at each of its nodes (i.e., points of leaf attachment on the stem). As a groundcover, Virginia creeper is an outstanding native replacement for exotic plants like English ivy, pachysandra, and myrtle. To make the most of Virginia creeper’s fall color, plant it in an area of full sunlight, which will maximize color development.

Photos by Ashley Keesling.

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