How to Plant, Grow and Care For Virginia Creeper

Are you looking for a fast-growing and attractive vine that requires very little maintenance and shows up wonderful fall foliage? Here, gardening expert Melissa Strauss discusses how to grow and care for Virginia Creeper.

A plant wall adorned with Virginia Creeper leaves, creating a vibrant and refreshing sight. The assortment of colors, from deep green to soft yellow and gentle pink, lends an enchanting charm to the space, bringing the wonders of nature indoors.


Virginia Creeper is a woody vine native to North and Central America. It most commonly grows in woods, ravines, hillsides, thickets, and fencerows. It loves to climb, attaching to whatever structure it encounters with tiny tendrils.

However, it is just as happy to ramble along the ground. Some gardeners choose this plant for a fast-growing option to cover a wall. Other gardeners do all they can to eliminate it from their landscape, as it can get unruly if not regularly tended to.

Let’s take a deeper look at all you need to know about growing Virginia Creeper in your garden or landscape!

Virginia Creeper Plant Overview

A lush cluster of green Virginia creeper leaves, showcasing nature's bounty in vibrant hues. An assortment of Virginia creeper leaves, each one exhibiting finely serrated edges like delicate lacework.
Plant Type Perennial Vine
Family Vitaceae
Genus Parthenocissus
Species Quinquefolia
Native Area Eastern and Central United States
Exposure Full Sun to Full Shade
Water Low
Soil Clay, Loamy, Sandy
Hardiness Zones 3-10
Bloom Colors Green and White
Height 30’-50’
Season Summer
Attracts Honey Bees
Pests Flea Beetles, Leafcutting Bees, Leafhoppers, Scale
Diseases Mildew, Wilt, Leaf Spot

Plant History

A sturdy metal fence with an elegant allure, adorned in a vibrant tapestry of red Virginia creeper leaves, showcasing nature's seasonal transformation. In the foreground, luscious green grasses contrast against the striking red leaves.
This is a versatile and easy-to-grow vine native to North and Central America.

A very versatile and easy-to-grow vine, Virginia Creeper can grow in full sun, partial shade, and even in full shade. It is not picky about location, or much else for that matter, and loves to have a trellis or other structure to grow on.

If you are looking for a vine to cover a wall or disguise some element in the yard that you would prefer not to look at, a wall of this vine will quickly and efficiently do the job.


Vibrant green Virginia Creeper leaves supported by purple stems, creating a striking contrast of colors. The leaves, adorned with serrated edges, exhibit a lively and captivating appearance, evoking the beauty of nature's artistic tapestry.
This deciduous vining plant features foliage in groups of five.

Virginia Creeper is the name for all species of deciduous vining plants in the genus Parthenocissus. Parthenocissus is derived from the Greek for “virgin ivy.”

The species name, quinquefolia, refers to the formation of the foliage, as the leaves appear in groups of five. These prolific vining plants are members of the Vitaceae family, commonly known as the Grape family.

As relatives of grapes, they behave similarly in terms of growth and their climbing nature, although they attach to structures with small fastening disks rather than the typical coiling tendrils of most grapevines. 

There are many varieties of Virginia Creeper with slightly different characteristics, some of which display more vivid and colorful foliage either year-round or in the fall. All plants in the genera are native to North or Central America.


A close-up of Virginia Creeper vine's flower buds, showcasing their delicate buds. The intricate buds are firmly anchored by a sturdy green stem, adorned with large, lush leaves that provide essential support to the developing flowers.
This vine produces small, inconspicuous flowers and inedible, toxic blue berries with high oxalic acid content.

Like most plants in the Grape family, Virginia Creeper does flower, but the blooms are small and inconspicuous. Clusters of very small, greenish-white flowers appear in late spring to early summer.

The flowers precede fruit, which is small (¼”) and blue, and inedible. These berries contain large amounts of oxalic acid, which is toxic to humans and dogs


A lush tapestry of verdant Virginia creeper leaves, forming a vibrant green carpet. Bathed in the warm embrace of the golden sun, the Virginia creeper leaves gleam with a radiant sheen.
The leaves typically appear in groups of five, with some varieties displaying more colorful foliage.

As the species name quinquefolia implies, Virginia Creeper’s leaves appear in groups of five. Young vines sometimes start out with groupings of only three leaves and increase to five as they grow larger.

Some varieties have more colorful leaves than others, and in many cases, the new foliage appears as a reddish-bronze color and fades to green as it matures. The leaves are palmate, pointed, and have serrated edges.


Virginia Creeper is a rhizomatic plant that has the ability to spread prolifically underground. It can be difficult to control as a result, but there is typically no problem propagating this plant if you wish to do so. 


Five vibrant Virginia Creeper leaves with serrated edges thrive in the ground, showcasing their rich green hues. Encircling the foliage, the arrangement of rocks creates a natural border that harmonizes with the earthy tones.
Propagating from seed requires cold stratification for successful germination.

Growing from seed is not the most common way to propagate Virginia Creeper. However, it can be quite successful. The seeds need cold stratification to germinate, so it’s best to direct sow seeds in the fall to sprout the following spring.

Alternatively, induce cold stratification by placing seeds in a bag with moist potting mix. Leave them in the refrigerator for about 8 weeks, then plant them in spring.


A gentle hand nurtures the dark brown, moist soil, preparing it for the thriving Virginia Creeper vine. The caring touch of the hand signifies the dedication and passion for fostering a flourishing environment.
This vine is easy to propagate by cutting.

Propagation from cuttings is the most common method and is a quick and painless process. Roots will grow from stems that are in contact with soil, so it is easy to simply take a cutting from a portion of the vine that runs along the ground.

All that is necessary is to dig up a small portion of a rooted stem and pot it in a seedling container. Take rooted cuttings at any time of the year. 

You can also propagate cuttings that haven’t yet formed roots. Take semi-ripe cuttings in the summer or hardwood cuttings in the fall while the plant is dormant.

Whichever way you choose, Virginia creeper roots quickly in moist soil. Fill a container with moist potting mix, dip the cut end of your cutting into rooting hormone, and bury it about 3” deep in the soil.


Virginia creeper vines showcase their green foliage, gracefully winding its way upwards, seeking support from a white string trellis. The crimson charm of a red wooden wall provides a striking contrast to the verdant beauty of the Virginia creeper vines.
To establish robust roots in warm moist soil, consider planting it in either spring or fall.

Virginia Creeper can be planted in spring or fall. In the buffer seasons, the roots establish easily while the soil is warm and moist. Summer tends to be too hot and dry, and in winter it goes dormant. 

Space individual plants 5’-10’ apart. These plants are spread by rhizomes under the earth. Make sure you choose a space where you want to have them permanently, as they are difficult to eradicate once they are established.

How to Grow

Once it is established, this species pretty much grows itself. It requires little to no maintenance and grows very quickly. 


Three raised wooden beds neatly arranged in a row on a green grassy patch, against a brown wooden wall. Adjacent to one of the raised beds, a charming gray pot houses a verdant foliage.
Growing this vine in containers offers control over its spread and the opportunity to enjoy its vining.

Growing this plant in a container is a good way to control the spread, while also enjoying the extensive vining of Virginia Creeper.

Growing these plants in a raised bed with a trellis or arch would make a beautiful complement to the garden landscape and can create shade beneath for plants that prefer to stay out of the hot sun.

If you do choose to plant in a container, make sure it is a large one, as they like to spread. Remember that while this plant is incredibly low maintenance in the ground, it will require more work when kept in a container. 


Lush Virginia Creeper leaves bathe in the warm, golden sunlight. The dappled sunlight highlights the delicate serrations along the edges of the Virginia Creeper leaves, evoking a sense of elegance and grace in their simple yet captivating beauty.
This plant is highly adaptable to sunlight and can thrive in both full sun or full shade.

Parthenocissus is incredibly adaptable when it comes to sunlight. It will grow just fine in full sun or full shade, which is perfect for a shady garden. However, most varieties are prized for their fall color and the color is best expressed with a significant amount of sunlight. 

In warmer climates, give this vine a bit of shade, especially in the afternoon. If you are growing this plant in a cooler climate, feel free to expose it to the sun throughout the day. That said, if you are looking for a hardy vine that will still be attractive when grown in full shade Virginia Creeper will do that, too. 


A close-up view reveals rich, fertile brown soil teeming with organic matter and nutrients. The earthy, warm-toned soil offers a nurturing habitat for a diverse community of microorganisms that play vital roles in ecosystem health and sustainability.
This versatile plant thrives in various soil types except for overly soggy ones.

These plants are not particular about soil. They are tolerant of acidic and alkaline soil. They also tolerate salt and pollution, so they can be grown in cities and coastal areas without complications.

Soil can be sandy, loamy, or clay-heavy, and they won’t be troubled. The only factor in soil that is truly important is drainage. This plant does not like to have soggy roots, but it does best in moist soil as opposed to dry.


Vibrant Virginia creeper leaves glistening with dewdrops, showcasing nature's artistry after a refreshing rain shower. The water droplets adorn the deep green foliage, adding a touch of enchantment to the verdant landscape.
Watering during the first season is crucial, as it prefers moist soil.

During its first season, your plant will need regular watering. It does prefer moist soil in general, but once established, it is very drought tolerant. For the first season, water your plant deeply at least once per week.

Once established, this plant withstands long periods without watering, but the occasional watering during times of extended drought is welcomed. 

Climate and Temperature

A winter spectacle unfolds as black Virginia creeper berries harmonize with their vivid red stems, which gracefully hold delicate snow. The sight of brown stems in the foreground serves as a reminder of the season's impact on the natural world.
This species’ cold hardiness and root survivability allow it to endure temperatures as low as -10 during dormancy.

Virginia Creeper is very cold hardy, and the roots are able to survive temperatures of -10 for extended periods during their dormancy.

The only concern with cold weather would be an unexpected cold front in early spring, which can damage new foliage but is unlikely to cause real damage to the plant.

This plant is also very heat tolerant, thriving all the way south to Zone 10. In very hot weather, it will let you know that it needs watering by wilting and recover quickly upon watering. It prefers a moderate amount of humidity in its environment and will be more heat tolerant in humid climates.


A gardener in white gloves holds a black pot filled with rich brown fertilizer. With a careful gesture, the gardener's other hand gracefully pours the nutrient-packed brown fertilizer, showering the bed of soil with life-giving sustenance.
The low fertilizer requirement can be supplemented with an all-purpose fertilizer or organic compost for optimal growth.

The need for fertilizer is fairly low, as these plants are good at utilizing the nutrients available to them in the soil but grow quickly and can deplete the soil over time.

For an extra booth of early-season growth, you can give your plants a light application of an all-purpose fertilizer. A good organic compost will go a long way, as well,  in providing the nutrients your plant needs.

Maintenance and Care

Vibrant green Virginia creeper leaves gracefully adorning the side of the walkway, adding a touch of nature's beauty to the path. A delightful juxtaposition of life unfolds on the other side.
Controlling this vine’s rapid growth requires regular pruning and removal of unwanted runners to contain its spread.

Because of how quickly this plant grows, it can be a bit of work to keep it under control. While it is considered low maintenance from a growing standpoint, it can be a bit of a handful when it comes to pruning.

If you wish to contain your plant, make a regular practice of cutting it back and pulling up unwanted runners that will produce new roots and contribute to the overall spread of the plant.


There are quite a few varieties that are surprisingly colorful and beautiful. Many varieties turn shades of red, orange, gold, and bronze in the winter.

‘Red Wall’

A vibrant display of red wall leaves creates an enchanting scene. The sun's rays gently caress their surfaces, illuminating their rich hues and intricate textures.
The ‘Red Wall’ vine exhibits rapid growth, reaching up to 30 feet tall.
botanical-name botanical name Parthenocissus quinquefolia ‘Trokil’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Partial Shade
height height 30’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

One of the showiest varieties, ‘Red Wall’ lives up to its name. This fast-growing vine reaches about 30’ long.

It looks wonderful grown on a fence or wall because summer foliage is deep green and autumn foliage is gorgeous crimson red. The color shift is incredibly striking.

‘Star Showers’

Green star shower leaves glisten under the sunlight, showcasing light green splatters that add a touch of elegance. The leaves defy gravity as they thrive gracefully from the narrow gap of a rustic wood wall.
This is a fast-growing variety with splatter-painted creamy yellow and green foliage, turning pink in fall before going dormant.
botanical-name botanical name Parthenocissus quinquefolia ‘Monham’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Partial Shade
height height 20’-35’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

‘Star Showers’ is an eye-catching variety that is not quite as cold tolerant as others, but it does have truly beautiful foliage and a fast growth habit.

The leaves are creamy and pale yellow splashed with varying intensities of green, creating the appearance of having been splatter painted. In the fall, the leaves take on a pink cast before the plant goes dormant. 


Variegated plant showcasing fresh green buds emerging gracefully from a lush cluster of green leaves. Nature's artistry unfolds as the variegated leaves proudly display their white blotches that resemble delicate brush strokes on a canvas of green foliage.
This is a heat-tolerant vine featuring striking green leaves with cream-colored blotches, growing up to 50′ long.
botanical-name botanical name Parthenocissus quinquefolia ‘Variegata’
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial Shade
height height up to 50’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-11

Anything but ordinary, ‘Variegata’ is everything its name promises. It has excellent heat tolerance and is able to grow farther south than most varieties. This attractive cultivar is native to 38 of the 48 contiguous states, and vines can reach up to 50’ long.

The leaves are bright green with splashy, irregular, cream-colored blotches.  It is a stunning plant, to say the least. 

‘Yellow Wall’

Vibrant yellow and green Virginia creeper leaves gracefully peek through the meticulously crafted diamond hole in a white cement wall. At the top of the wall, the lush and healthy Virginia creeper foliage forms a delightful green crown.
The ‘Yellow Wall’ variety transforms from green leaves to bold, golden yellow in the fall.
botanical-name botanical name Parthenocissus quinquefolia ‘Yellow Wall’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Partial Shade
height height 20’-30’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Similarly to ‘Red Wall,’ this variety starts out with green leaves and does a complete 180° in the fall. The only difference, instead of crimson, this variety turns a bold, golden yellow.

If you want to add fall color to your home and garden, I highly recommend this spectacular cultivar. It also has great cold and heat tolerance.

Pests and Diseases

Sadly, this vine is not impervious to pests and diseases. Although it is unlikely to die off in the face of a few insects, some issues can arise which will leave your plant looking less than its best.

Flea Beetles

A close-up of a flea beetle perched gracefully on a weathered brown leaf, against a green backdrop. The exquisite insect features a glossy, shimmering green body, perfectly adapted for its natural environment.
Flea Beetles can harm vines by attacking the buds, but spraying during bud swell is the main effective treatment.

Flea Beetles, and more specifically, Grape Flea Beetles, can be a problem. As a member of the grape family, it tends to be vulnerable to the same pests.

These insects overwinter in the yard, and at the first sign of buds, they go after your vines. Once the buds reach ½” long, the risk of injury is significantly decreased, but they can stunt the growth of an otherwise healthy plant.

Spraying your vines at the time of bud swell is really the only effective treatment and may not be worth the release of pesticides in the garden. The plant will recover; it just might not branch as well in that year. There is only one generation per year.

Leafcutting Bees

A close-up of a fuzzy leafcutting bee reveals intricate patterns on its velvety body, with distinct bands of black and white fur. This leafcutting bee boasts robust, bristly legs that harvest leaf fragments, which it carries back to its nest.
These little bees are valuable messy pollen collectors and pollinators that create nests lined with leaves.

Leafcutting bees are native bees close to the same size as honeybees. Rather than creating wax comb as their abode, they create nests and line them with leaves.

They won’t cause an extreme amount of damage to your vine, but they may leave a section of leaves looking torn up.

These insects are valuable pollinators and cause more good than harm. They are messy pollen collectors, so they have an excellent pollination rate. If you’re a gardener, these are insects that you want to keep around.


A close-up of a leafhopper perched gracefully on a green leaf. The leafhopper's delicate wings, transparent in appearance, allow a glimpse of the intricate venation running through them, providing an insight into the insect's anatomy.
The Virginia Creeper Leafhopper, sharing its name with the plant, lays eggs on Virginia Creeper and feeds on leaf cells.

Virginia Creeper has its own leafhopper, which goes by the same name. The Virginia Creeper Leafhopper lays its eggs on the plant, and the nymphs and adults feed on the contents of leaf cells.

They also leave behind excrement, which creates a breeding ground for sooty mold. These guys have several natural predators, but if you choose to treat them, wait until late summer to knock out all generations going into winter


Delicate, brown tiny scales form an intricate pattern along the pronounced vein on the back of a grand leaf. These small pests suck out essential nutrients of the plant through their needle-like mouths.
These small sap-sucking pests resemble brown blobs and are easily eliminated using insecticidal soaps.

Scale are tiny, armored insects that suck the sweet sap out of plants and leave messy excrement behind. They are easily detected as they stay rather still and look like tiny brown blobs on the stems and leaves of your plant. These can be eradicated with insecticidal soaps.


Elongated green leaves displaying a powdery mildew bloom on their smooth, evoking an enchanting juxtaposition of beauty and imperfection. In the backdrop, faint silhouettes of neighboring leaves add depth and serenity to the scene.
Prevent and treat powdery mildew in gardens with better air circulation, removal of affected foliage, and copper fungicide.

Powdery mildew is a common fungal infection that crops up in many gardens. The culprit is typically too much moisture in the air and not enough air circulation.

The spores need moisture for germination, so damp, shaded areas are the most vulnerable. Remove the affected foliage and use copper fungicide or a combination.


Virginia creeper berries with vibrant red stems add a pop of color to the foliage. The wilted brown leaves of the Virginia creeper signify the changing seasons.
Wilt disease in plants requires removal and disposal of the affected plant to prevent further spread.

Wilt disease involves pathogens that move through the vascular system of the plant. This disrupts the flow of water and causes the leaves to wilt.

There is no effective treatment for this disease, and it can spread. The best solution is to remove and dispose of the plant away from other plants that could be affected. 

Leaf Spot

Virginia Creeper leaves showcasing their vibrant green color and distinct shape. Some of the leaves display striking purple spots on their surface, which result from waterborne bacteria or fungi interactions.
This disease is caused by waterborne bacteria or fungi that can lead to severe discoloration and death of foliage.

Leaf spot disease is most often caused by waterborne bacteria or fungi. They typically move from one surface to another in water droplets and splashes, and in small amounts, they don’t cause too many issues.

However, they can cause severe discoloration and death of foliage in large amounts. The best treatment is to remove and dispose of affected foliage immediately. Treating with neem oil will prevent some fungal infections from spreading.

Final Thoughts

Virginia Creeper has a reputation for being a bit aggressive, and if left to its own devices, it can cover quite a bit of distance in a short period of time. However, harnessing the growth and vigor of this plant results in quite a spectacular display of attractive foliage. With some tending and maintenance, a wall of this native vine can be a remarkably stunning addition to the landscape.

An abundant display of orange trumpet vine flowers creates a captivating scene, drawing the eye with their brilliant hues and delicate trumpet-like shapes. The surrounding leaves gracefully frame the profusion of blooms, adding a lush green backdrop.


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