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Boston Ivy

After ivy, this three-lobed wild vine is the most beloved in facade greening. The Boston ivy vine (also known as Japanese creeper) is a self-clinging climber that covers extensive areas quickly. Its striking red autumn colours and the fact that it does not require climbing support make it a popular climber. It can be used to fully cover walls on facades, masts, and poles. With regular pruning it can also be used for partial greening and on small, limited wall surfaces. In short: an excellent facade plant!

Parthenocissus tricuspidata "Veitchii, "Veitchii Boston ivy, Japanese creeper, Japanese ivy, grape ivy, woodbine

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Boston Ivy slowly changing colour, new light shoots
Boston ivy slowly changing colour, new light green shoots

To Thrive...

Place these vines in a semi-shaded to sunny location; more sun exposure brings more beautiful autumn colours. Distance between plants: 2.5 - 5 metres.

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Characteristics and Pruning

This is a climbing vine with adhesive pads that cling to nearly any surface. It grows wide and fan-shaped; the shoots like to spread horizontally. This vine can reach a height of 20 metres and more, with a yearly growth of 1 - 2 metres. Also has a cascading / hanging- over habit. Foliage from May to October; has inconspicuous, tiny green-yellow flowers in early summer and small black berries which will delight bees and birds after leaf-fall. Summer prune as needed to restrain its vigorous growth; winter prune as illustrated in photos. Tiny lignified discs remain stuck to the wall after removal of the vine.

Climbing Supports for the Facade

Boston ivy, unlike other "wild vines," typically needs no climbing support. However, in some cases and especially on wind-exposed walls, wire rope systems (see below) in our easy or medium range may be needed to prevent collapsing of the vine. In cases of very high walls or walls with external insulation, heavy or even massive wire rope systems might be needed. In very old specimens, the main framework can be attached at points per rope system 1010.


Boston Ivy can cause significant damage to buildings! The plant grows in a light-fleeing way ('negatively phototropic') and, as the shoots get into nooks and crannies and increase their stem girth, they can damage masonry, shift apart building elements, and lift roof shingles! Insufficient removal of foliage may also block roof gutters. A frequently asked question during the restoration of a facade is how to deal with the remaining adhesive roots of torn-off vines. The only solution is to burn them off / torch them and then repaint the wall!


Compatible wire rope systems?

Please click the image to see which trellises are a good fit for Boston ivy

Japanese creeeper on an exterior insulated wall of a prefab apartment complex
Boston Ivy, Quedlinburg / Saxony-Anhalt
Japanese creeper soon after proliferation, still in the typical light green colour
Japanese creeper soon after proliferation
Boston ivy on a windowless fire-break wall
Boston ivy
Autumn colouring
Autumn colouring, Parthenociccus tricuspidata

Full Greening

You can see in the following pictures just how suitable Boston ivy is for greening whole walls and buildings!

Picture-book facade greening
Wall greening with tri-lobed (3-lobed) creeper
This whole gable is covered with Boston ivy; the shoots are beginning. to grow over the eaves
This Boston ivy has already reached the roof drainage area, which can lead to clogged gutters.
Much better then in the last picture: here the eave-area is not overgrown.
Leipzig / Saxony, University Clinic: Greening on such a massive scale is, of course, an ideal paradise for insects (spiders!), mice (yes, really) and resting place for chirping sparrows ~ all things to consider.
Green inner courtyard, Japanese creeper
Japanese Creeper on the city hall of Eisleben / Saxony Anhalt
Church greenery in Stralsund / Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
The overhanging growth is pronounced at the edge of the roof in this greened workshop.
Beginning of autumn colouring
Boston ivy with autumn foliage
Autumn colours; lower areas in the shade have more yellow; Berlin, Prussian Library.
Greening on a windowless facade

Partial Greening

Partial greening can be created by vigorous pruning or other methods of inhibiting / slowing growth.

Green wall in Neuenburg / Saxony-Anhalt
This green facade is particularly charming because the wall is not completely overgrown. Only regular maintenance and pruning will maintain this appearance.
Looks like untamed growth, but most greenings like this are the result of rigorous pruning.
This Japanese creeper has conquered almost the whole building; what looks like a free-form growth is the result of strict pruning!
This greening maintains dynamism by not covering the facade completely; with more yellow wall showing, it would be even more attractive! Halberstadt / Saxony-Anhalt
Facade greening is part of German culture - here on the Federal Chancellery, Berlin.
Without constant pruning, this well-trained creeper would soon reach the roof.
A horizontal cornice as a 'growth break'
Great idea: growth inhibitors can also be arranged vertically; at this shopping market, climbing fields are defined by wall breaks / projections.
Wall greened with Japanese ivy in an interesting form
This greenery requires 2-3 prunings per year, but is still cheaper then a full "living wall" of this size.
Woodbine on a brick house
Old farmhouse with autumnal Partenocissus tric. veitchii
A remedy for the dreariness: autumnal Boston ivy on a tenement block

Botanical Features, Pruning, and Collapse-Protection

In this gallery, you can see the leaves, adhesive pads, flowers, fruits, and autumn foliage of the trilobate partenocissus.

Boston ivy climbs with extremely efficient adhesive pads; in Austria, the plant is thus also referred to as "wall cat."
After some weeks the adhesive pads lignify, and are then quite difficult to remove from the wall!
Four young plants start taking on a fire-resistant wall
When it blooms, you'll hear buzzing-- the vine becomes a bee's glee!
Eaves are especially threatened by vigorous growth.
If pruned too late (i.e. autumn or winter), the meanwhile lignified adhesive pads can't be removed so easily.
The autumn leaves often appear in several shades of colour: scarlet red at the top and yellowing at the bottom. Maybe it has to do with shade (shadier at bottom) or with different vitality levels of the plant.
Leaf colour can sometimes become complete orange instead of wine-red.
Leaf fall in two stages: first the leaves, then the petioles (leaf stalks)
Boston ivy's appearance in winter is not everyone's cup of tea.
If Boston ivy reaches the roof or any other border, at least a metre-wide strip should be cut free every year. This work is time-consuming and expensive, especially if lifting platforms are used.
Pruning should be repeated every year, because the area cut free will be overgrown in no time again, and the plant will try yet again to get into the eave gutters.
The fruit often lasts longer than the leaves-- to the delight of birds!
Sometimes parts (or even whole mats of a wall greening) can be torn off in rain or wind. This can be prevented by a wire rope ‘guardrail.’ Collapse protection is strongly recommended!
Collapse protection with wire rope system in our medium construction style
A Japanese creeper can live to be 100 years old!

Wire Rope Systems for Boston Ivy (Japanese Creeper)

Please click on the graphic illustrations for details!

   = suitable              = of limited suitability              = unsuitable