Virginia Creeper Vine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a deciduous woody vine and a member of the grape family (Vitaceae). It is known for its vigorous growth, attractive foliage, and ability to climb and cover structures.

Virginia creeper grows along the ground in woodlands, often growing up trees or telephone poles on woodland borders, or in open areas such as along railroad right of ways, rocky bluffs, fence rows, banks of streams or lakes, and in disturbed habitats in both rural and urban areas.

It is native to eastern and central North America, from southeastern Canada and the eastern United States west to Manitoba and Utah, and south to eastern Mexico and Guatemala. This plant is also referred to as Virginia creeperVictoria creeperfive-leaved ivy, or five-finger.

While Virginia Creeper is not considered highly invasive, its vigorous growth and ability to spread quickly can make it challenging to control in certain settings.


  • Leaves: The leaves are compound in nature, typically consisting of five leaflets. Each leaflet is serrated and has a pointed tip. The leaves are a dull green on the upper surface and light green below. The undersides may be smooth or hairs. The leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and purple in the fall. It is one of the earliest vines to color in the fall.
  • Stems: This vigorous, deciduous woody creeper and climbing vine can grow up to 50 feet – and 20 feet in a single year – clinging to surfaces with small, branched tendrils that have strong adhesive disks on the tips to fasten onto bark or rock. The tendrils are produced on the stems opposite from the leaves.
  • Flowers: Virginia Creeper produces small greenish flowers in late spring to early summer. The flowers are inconspicuous and are borne in clusters.
  • Fruits: The plant produces small, dark blue to black berries in late summer. While the berries are not typically considered edible for humans, they attract birds.


Virginia Creeper is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9. It can withstand cold temperatures in northern regions as well as the heat and humidity of southern climates. It can thrive in both acidic and slightly alkaline soils. It can withstand cold temperatures in northern regions as well as the heat and humidity of southern climates.

This plant can also tolerate urban conditions, including pollution and compacted soils. While it prefers well-drained soils, it can tolerate occasional periods of drought once established. While Virginia Creeper is not considered highly invasive, its vigorous growth and ability to spread quickly can make it challenging to control in certain settings.

Landscaping Uses

Virginia Creeper is a popular choice in landscaping for various reasons, primarily due to its vigorous growth, attractive foliage, and ability to provide natural coverage.

It is frequently a component of woodland gardens – either planted by people or naturally dispersed there by animals – where it forms a dense ground cover even in dry shade or climbs trees. It is also often grown as an ornamental to cover walls or fences and for its attractive fall color. It makes a good seasonal covering on trellises, arbors, or chain link fences.

The rapid growth and dense mat of vines make Virginia Creeper effective for erosion control on slopes. Its root system helps stabilize the soil, reducing the risk of soil erosion in areas prone to runoff. Also when grown on the ground it can easily disguise tree stumps, rock piles, or other eyesores. 

It can also be used in both formal and informal gardens, as well as in naturalized or cottage garden settings. Once established, Virginia Creeper is a relatively low-maintenance plant. It requires minimal care.

How To Grow And Care For Virginia Creeper

Planting Location

Choose a suitable planting location that receives partial to full sunlight. Virginia Creeper can adapt to a variety of soil types but prefers well-draining, slightly acidic to neutral soil. Ensure the site has enough space for the vine to spread, as Virginia Creeper can grow vigorously.

Planting Time

The ideal time to plant Virginia Creeper is in spring or fall. This allows the plant to establish its root system before facing the stress of extreme temperatures. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball and plant the vine at the same depth it was in its nursery container.


Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during dry spells. Once the plant matures, it can withstand periods of drought, but providing occasional deep watering during prolonged dry periods will promote healthier growth.

Fertilizing: Virginia Creeper generally doesn’t require heavy fertilization. In fact, excessive fertilization can lead to excessive vegetative growth. A balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied in spring is usually sufficient.


Regular pruning helps maintain the shape and size of the Virginia Creeper. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Remove any dead or damaged branches, and thin out crowded areas to improve air circulation. This will help prevent diseases and encourage a more vigorous and attractive display of foliage.

Support Structures

Provide a sturdy support structure for the Virginia Creeper to climb. While it can cling to walls and other surfaces with adhesive disks on its tendrils, it benefits from a trellis, arbor, or fence for more support. Regularly check that the vine is not causing damage to structures, especially wooden ones, as its adhesive disks can sometimes be strong enough to harm surfaces.

Pest and Disease Management

Virginia Creeper is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, keep an eye out for potential issues such as scale insects or aphids. In case of infestations, use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap. Good air circulation, proper spacing, and regular pruning also contribute to a healthier, more disease-resistant plant.

Facts About Virginia Creeper

Scientific NameParthenocissus quinquefolia
Common NameVirginia Creeper, Victoria creeper, five-leaved ivy, five-finger, woodbine
TypeDeciduous woody vine
LeavesCompound, typically with five serrated leaflets
Fall FoliageVibrant shades of red, orange, and purple
StemsWoody vines with tendrils and adhesive pads
HabitatWoodlands, forests, riverbanks
RangeEastern and central North America
Climbing HabitUses tendrils with adhesive pads to climb
FlowersSmall, greenish, in clusters (late spring to summer)
FruitsSmall dark blue to black berries (late summer)
AdaptabilityTolerant of various soil types, light conditions
Landscaping UsesCovers walls, fences, arbors
Wildlife ValueBerries attract birds, provides shelter
CautionMay cause skin irritation, wear gloves when handling