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Thicket Creeper

The Thicket Creeper resembles the Virginia Creeper like one egg another, however it is NOT a self-clinging climber, hence offers new perspectives in façade greening. It hardly ever forms those often annoying adhesive pads, and with proper growth supports, damages to buildings are practically impossible.  As a small climbing shrub, it is a native of the eastern parts of North America. Botanical classification and name are debated, but has been described, among others, by Harri Guenther in "Woody Plants in the Gardens of Sanssouci," ("Gehoelze in den Gaerten von Sanssouci"), which forms the base of the information provided here.

Parthenocissus inserta vitacea - False Virginia Creeper, Grape Woodbine)


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Thicket creeper in summer slowly changing colours

Requirements / Price

Sunny (full sun) to (semi-)shaded position, will develop more beautiful autumn colours in the sun. No particular soil requirements. Distance between plants: 3 to 6 meters.

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Characteristics and Pruning

A vine with tendrils, yearly shoot growth 1 - 3 metres. Young shoots green rather than reddish of related species. Can also overhang like a bridal train. Tendrils simply forked, hardly any adhesive pads. Only occasionally in dark shade will the tendrils form some adhesive pads. Very healthy foliage, from May to October. Inconspicuous, tiny green-yellow flowers in early summer, then small deep blue berries on very decorative red stalks. Bird food, followed by strongly staining faeces. Summer and winter pruning as needed, to restrain the vigorous growth habit (branch  formation). The plants are very easily shaped into any form. At times, pruning in late autumn is required to shorten the long shoots and then spur pruning as for the "true" grapevines.

Climbing Plant Support System

All kinds of rods, meshes and ropes. For suitable growth support systems see below. Easy, better Medium wire rope systems, for high greenings >5 m Heavy or even massive systems may be advised.

Appropriate wire rope systems?

Please click the icon for showing the full suitability chart

Greening with Parthenocissus inserta
Parthenocissus inserta on a tower, beutiful autumn foliage
Overgrown thicket creeper on an old building
Thicket creeper on espalier grids

Greening of Facades with Thicket creeper

Parthenocissus vitacea/inserta is highly flexible and therefore is very much suitable for greening facades in different shapes by the help of wire ropes.

Thicket creeper on a high metal trellis
Thicket Creeper trained into angled shape.
Thicket Creeper trained into T-shape on wire ropes
Small greenery with false verginia creeper
Greening of a house entrance
Part. inserta on a wooden trellis
Thicket creeper on a wire trellis system, similar to system 4040
Same plant as shown on previous picture in winter before pruning
Small greenery with Parthenocissus vitacea in an alley in Kronach / Bavaria
Green wall in Weimar / Thüringen
Facade greening on a metal lattice trellis in Dresden / Saxony
Facade greening with ancient Thicket creeper in Erfurt / Thüringen
Facade with 2 Thicket creepers
Vertically guided plant
Greened archway
Building up a base of a building with horizontal wire ropes
Thicket creeper in late autumn

Greening of other Parts of Buildings and Objects

With Thicket creeper balconies, pergolas, and fences can be greened as shown on the following pictures.

This greenery with 2 thicket creepers saves planting on the balcony in pots
Balcony greening with thicket creeper
Soil-bound greenery of a balcon
Soil bound greening of two floors
This lush cascading/overhangig plant builds an arbour beneath the balcony
Greening of a pergola with Thicket creeper
Greened fire escape staircase
Detail of previous picture: the plant is tied to the wire ropes
The thicket creeper can also green hand-rails
In this street-cafe, too, it is thanks to Grape Woodbine that the projecting roof only and not the entire wall has been overgrown.
Due to non existant adhesive pads, only the porch is greened, but not the wall!
Here you can see the stems of the old plants from the previous pictures
Wall greening with thicket creeper
Overhangig growth on a wall in Greiz / Thüringen

Botanical features

This photo gallery shows leaves, tendrills, fruits, autumn-coloring, phenotype in winter and budding in spring of Parthenocissus vitacea/inserta.

Green shoots in spring on the Sanssouci example described by H. Guenther
The tendrils in P. inserta are very long, with few forks and often twine around themselves and neighbouring shoots. They are therefore very similar to the true grape bearing grapevines.
Parthenocissus inserta on a bamboo stick
Lignified tendrill
Occasionally, and particularly in heavy shade, even this species can form some adhesive pads, here below a stone window sill of the described example of Potsdam-Sanssouci.
It can be assumed that the common German name "virgin grape" has been derived from the blue, apparently not fertilised, inedible berries.
This plant can also have overhangig growth
False Virginia creeper on a wall, starting autumn coloring
Autumn foliage of Grape Woodbine on a cast iron railing
The intense leaf colour can last for several weeks during mild weather
Parthenocissus vitacea in winter on a wooden trellis before pruning
Spur-pruning in winter, like pruning in real grapevine (vitis)

Appropriate wire rope systems for Thicket creeper

Please click on the graphic illustrations for details!

 = suitable             = of limited suitability             = unsuitable