How to grow Virginia creeper

How to grow Virginia creeper

All you need to know about growing and caring for the popular climber, Virginia creeper.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do Plant in March

Do Plant in April

Do not Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Fruits
Fruits

Plant does not fruit in January

Plant does not fruit in February

Plant does not fruit in March

Plant does not fruit in April

Plant does not fruit in May

Plant does not fruit in June

Plant does not fruit in July

Plant does not fruit in August

Plant does fruit in September

Plant does fruit in October

Plant does not fruit in November

Plant does not fruit in December

Take cuttings
Take cuttings

Do not Take cuttings in January

Do not Take cuttings in February

Do not Take cuttings in March

Do not Take cuttings in April

Do not Take cuttings in May

Do Take cuttings in June

Do Take cuttings in July

Do not Take cuttings in August

Do not Take cuttings in September

Do not Take cuttings in October

Do not Take cuttings in November

Do not Take cuttings in December

Prune
Prune

Do not Prune in January

Do not Prune in February

Do not Prune in March

Do not Prune in April

Do not Prune in May

Do not Prune in June

Do not Prune in July

Do not Prune in August

Do not Prune in September

Do not Prune in October

Do Prune in November

Do not Prune in December

Cut back
Cut back

Do not Cut back in January

Do not Cut back in February

Do not Cut back in March

Do not Cut back in April

Do not Cut back in May

Do not Cut back in June

Do not Cut back in July

Do not Cut back in August

Do not Cut back in September

Do not Cut back in October

Do Cut back in November

Do not Cut back in December

At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is not at its best in July

Plant is not at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

  • Plant size

    20m height

    10m spread

Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, is a rampant climber. It is typically used to clothe walls of large houses. It bears inconspicuous flowers in summer, followed by small blackberries in autumn. Its autumn colour is unrivalled – its fresh green leaves turn glorious shades of red and orange before falling.

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Bear in mind that Parthenocissus quinquefolia is listed on Schedule 9 of the UK Wildlife & Countryside Act as an invasive non-native species. This doesn’t mean you can’t grow it in your garden, but it does mean you should do everything you can to ensure it doesn’t spread into the wild. Virginia creeper is very fast growing and can reach heights of 20m. We encourage you to be careful to keep its growth in check and take care when disposing of clippings. While Parthenocissus quinquefolia is still widely available to buy in garden centres and nurseries, we encourage you to consider alternative options, including closely related Boston ivy and Chinese Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus henryana.

How to grow Virginia creeper

Grow Virginia creeper in moist but well drained soil in sun to shade. Offer support in the form of canes or a small piece of trellis in the first two years, until it develops suckers and becomes self-clinging. Make sure you keep its growth in check by pruning annually in autumn, taking care to ensure it’s kept clear from gutters and windows. Dispose of clippings in your own garden, either in a closed compost heap or bonfire.

Virginia creeper: jump links


Where to grow Virginia creeper

How to grow Virginia creeper - Virginia creeper with berries, growing against a wall. Getty.
How to grow Virginia creeper – Virginia creeper with berries, growing against a wall. Getty.

Virginia creeper is suitable for large gardens only. Grow it against a wall of a house, where it has room to spread without becoming a problem. Less rampant varieties such as Chinese Virginia creeper, Parthenocissus henryana, can be grown against a garden wall or fence.


When to plant Virginia creeper

Plant Virginia creeper in spring or autumn, so it can establish well while the soil is moist and warm.


How to plant Virginia creeper

Prepare the soil by removing weeds, and then dig a planting hole. Place the rootball of the Virginia creeper in the hole to ensure it will sit at the same depth it was planted in the pot, then adjust the depth of the hole as necessary. Fill back with soil or compost and water well. Use canes or a small piece of trellis to support the vines before they develop self-clinging suckers.


Virginia creeper plant care

Prune Virginia creeper annually by cutting back hard to keep growth in check. This is especially important if growing Virginia creeper up a house – take care to ensure it doesn’t encroach on gutters and windows.


How to propagate Virginia creeper

Virginia creeper is easy to propagate from layering. Roots develop easily from stems that touch the soil, so simply dig up a self-rooted stem and pot it up. You can do this anytime, so keep an eye out for rooted stems. It’s also possible to take summer cuttings of Virginia creeper.


Types of Virginia creeper to grow

How to grow Virginia creeper - Virginia creeper with berries
How to grow Virginia creeper – Virginia creeper with berries
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  • Parthenocissus henryana – also known as the Chinese Virginia creeper. This is the less vigorous of the genus spreading to 10m. Attractive leaves composed of five leaflets with white veins. Insignificant summer flowers. Stunning autumn colour. Prefers a sheltered spot. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
  • Parthenocissus quinquefolia – probably not one to plant, but more to avoid, as this is now categorised as an invasive, non-native species. It’s distinctive because the foliage is made up of five, coarse, large, raggedy edged leaflets. Extremely vigorous, handle with care
  • Parthenocissus quinquefolia ‘Yellow Wall’ – a reasonably new variety offering green leaves in summer that turn bright yellow in autumn. Spread 14m. Protected under Plant Breeders Rights