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Virginia Creeper (Quinquefolia)

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Virginia Creeper (Quinquefolia)

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The Virginia Creeper (Quinquefolia) is generally described as a perennial vine. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the spring and summer . The greatest bloom is usually observed in the late spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the spring and continuing until fall. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Virginia Creeper (Quinquefolia) has a moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Virginia Creeper (Quinquefolia) will reach up to 1 foot high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 1 foot.

The Virginia Creeper (Quinquefolia) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by bare root, container, seed. It has a moderate ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have medium vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -28°F. has high tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Wildlife: The berries of this plant are eaten by many animals especially birds. Animals such as mice, skunks, chipmunks, squirrels, cattle and deer will munch on the leaves and stems. This plant provides great cover for small animals because of is thick foliage. The vines provide birds with perches, nesting places and leaf surfaces to find food.

Erosion Control: Virginia creeper is used as a ground cover to control soil erosion in shaded areas and on slopes.

Medicinal: The bark has been has been used in domestic medicine as a tonic, expectorant, and remedy. The berries have been found serviceable in rheumatic complaints and are found to help cure dropsy. The roots are used for diarrhea and the bark and twigs are made into cough syrup.

Ornamental: It is often cultivated as an ornamental because of its fall foliage and to replace many exotic plants. It is an excellent covering for walls, trellises, arbors or fences. It may also be grown on the ground to cover old stumps, rock piles and other “eyesores”.

Description Vine Family (Vitaceae). Virginia creeper is a native, fast-growing, perennial, woody vine that may climb or trail along the ground. The leaves are compound, containing five leaflets. Leaflets range in size from 2-6 inches and have toothed margins. The leaflets are red when they first emerge but turn green as they mature. In the fall, leaves turn a bright red to maroon color. The inconspicuous green color flowers are borne in small clusters during the spring and followed by small clusters of fruit in early summer. This fruit is a 4 to 6 mm diameter bluish-black berry that usually contains two to three seeds. The vines adhere to surfaces by means of five to eight branched tendrils ending in cup-like adhesive tips. New stems are brownish-green and finely hairy but gradually acquire pale, raised dots and turn purplish-brown with age.

Virginia creeper is often confused with eastern poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), however; a clear distinction between the species is that eastern poison ivy has three leaflets and Virginia creeper has five leaflets. The PLANTS Web site at plants.usda.gov contains an image of eastern poison ivy.

Reproduction: Virginia creeper flowers from June to August, matures fruits from August to October and drops fruits from September to February. The seeds are dispersed by birds. The seeds usually germinate the first or second spring after dispersal.

Adaptation and Distribution Virginia creeper is found throughout the southern, midwestern and eastern half of the United States. The plant is also native to northern Mexico and southeastern Canada from Nova Scotia to Ontario. Virginia creeper can be found in new and old forests and forest margins. It can also be found on the borders of clearings, on trees, along fencerows and streambanks. The plant thrives in partial shade to full sun. It prefers acidic soil, and tolerates a wide range of soils from dry sandy soils to moist loamy soils. The plant is also salt tolerant. The species is cultivated as an ornamental in many moist temperate areas of the world.

For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Establishment Seeds can be sown in the fall or in the spring after cold-moist stratification. Seeds should be drilled 3/8 inches deep in soil or mulch. Optimum planting is 10 plants per square foot. Virginia creeper can also be propagated from hardwood cuttings or layering.

Management Once Virginia creeper is well established, it grows quickly. It must often be pruned to prevent it from getting out of control. The species can handle periods of sparse rain fairly well; however, if a drought persists, water the vine every week soaking the soil at least six inches. Virginia creeper can be a rampant grower with a climbing height of over 60 feet and a spread of over 50 feet.

Pests and Potential Problems No pests or diseases are of major concern, but mi

General Characteristics

Vine Family (Vitaceae). Virginia creeper is a native, fast-growing, perennial, woody vine that may climb or trail along the ground. The leaves are compound, containing five leaflets. Leaflets range in size from 2-6 inches and have toothed margins. The leaflets are red when they first emerge but turn green as they mature. In the fall, leaves turn a bright red to maroon color. The inconspicuous green color flowers are borne in small clusters during the spring and followed by small clusters of fruit in early summer. This fruit is a 4 to 6 mm diameter bluish-black berry that usually contains two to three seeds. The vines adhere to surfaces by means of five to eight branched tendrils ending in cup-like adhesive tips. New stems are brownish-green and finely hairy but gradually acquire pale, raised dots and turn purplish-brown with age.

Virginia creeper is often confused with eastern poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), however; a clear distinction between the species is that eastern poison ivy has three leaflets and Virginia creeper has five leaflets. The PLANTS Web site at plants.usda.gov contains an image of eastern poison ivy.

Reproduction: Virginia creeper flowers from June to August, matures fruits from August to October and drops fruits from September to February. The seeds are dispersed by birds. The seeds usually germinate the first or second spring after dispersal.

Adaptation and

Required Growing Conditions

Virginia creeper is found throughout the southern, midwestern and eastern half of the United States. The plant is also native to northern Mexico and southeastern Canada from Nova Scotia to Ontario. Virginia creeper can be found in new and old forests and forest margins. It can also be found on the borders of clearings, on trees, along fencerows and streambanks. The plant thrives in partial shade to full sun. It prefers acidic soil, and tolerates a wide range of soils from dry sandy soils to moist loamy soils. The plant is also salt tolerant. The species is cultivated as an ornamental in many moist temperate areas of the world.

For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Cultivation and Care

Seeds can be sown in the fall or in the spring after cold-moist stratification. Seeds should be drilled 3/8 inches deep in soil or mulch. Optimum planting is 10 plants per square foot. Virginia creeper can also be propagated from hardwood cuttings or layering.

General Upkeep and Control

Once Virginia creeper is well established it grows quickly. It must often be pruned to prevent it from getting out of control. The species can handle periods of sparse rain fairly well; however, if a drought persists, water the vine every week soaking the soil at least six inches. Virginia creeper can be a rampant grower with a climbing height of over 60 feet and a spread of over 50 feet.

Pests and Potential Problems No pests or diseases are of major concern, but mildews, leaf spots, canker and wilt are occasional problems. Virginia creeper is sometimes bothered by beetles, scale, leaf hoppers, caterpillars and other leaf eating insects. These pests cause the leaves to be ragged and tattered.

Some literature suggests that Virginia Creeper is not poisonous, but the sap of the plant contains oxalate crystals and can cause skin irritation and rashes in some people.

Ornamental: If you grow Virginia creeper on walls, make sure you want it as a permanent fixture. Once it is established, it is very difficult to remove. You could damage the wall trying to remove the species.

Environmental Concerns Virginia creeper will grow up any tree and most shrubs. This species will slowly kill the host on which it is growing, because it prevents the host from receiving an adequate amount of sunlight. It can also crowd or choke other plants.

Control Please contact your local agricultural extension specialist, or county weed specialist to learn what works best in your area. If chemicals are recommended be sure to read the label and follow all application and safety instructions for each control method. Trade names and control measures appear in this document only to provide specific information. USDA NRCS does not guarantee or warranty the products and control methods named, and other products may be equally effective. Below is an internet site that contains control information for Virginia creeper: North Carolina State University

Plant Basics
Category
Growth Rate Rapid
General Type Vine
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Moderate
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Late Spring
Displays Fall Colors Yes
Shape/Growth Form Stoloniferous
Drought Tolerance High
Shade Tolerance Intermediate
Height When Mature 1
Vegetative Spread Rapid
Flower Conspicuousness No
Fruit/Seed Abundance Low
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Spring Fall
Seed Spread Rate Moderate
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Seed
Moisture Requirements Low
Cold Stratification Required Yes
Minimum Temperature -28
Soil Depth for Roots 16
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 5–7.5 pH
Precipitation Range 32–32 inches/yr
Planting Density 2700–19000 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 16
Minimum Frost-Free Days 130 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance None
CaCO3 Tolerance Medium
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability Medium
Fire Resistant No

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA

Member Calendar Entries

Plant Name Synonyms
  • Ampelopsis hederacea var. murorum
  • Ampelopsis latifolia
  • Ampelopsis quinquefolia
  • Hedera quinquefolia
  • Parthenocissus hirsuta
  • Parthenocissus inserta
  • Parthenocissus quinquefolia var. hirsuta
  • Parthenocissus quinquefolia var. murorum
  • Parthenocissus quinquefolia var. saintpaulii
  • Psedera quinquefolia
  • Psedera quinquefolia var. murorum
  • Vitis inserta
  • Vitis quinquefolia
Plant Distribution
can be found in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia