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Virginia Creeper

The Virginia Creeper is healthy and a strong self-clinging vine that is well-known for its beautiful leaf form and autumn colouring. The species originates from North America and is amongst the most popular climbing plants.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia "Engelmannii" (American Ivy, Five Leaved Ivy)

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Wild vine "Engelmannii" starting to change colour

Requirements / Price

Sunny (full sun) to (semi-)shaded position, will develop more beautiful autumn colours in the sun. Distance between plants: 3 to 6 meters.

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Characteristics and Pruning

A vine that has both tendrils and adhesive pads, vigorous growth, yearly shoot growth 1 - 3 metres, often cascading. Depending on variety, reddish young shoots and large, strong, smooth or filigree leaves ("Engelmannii"). Often the closely related P. inserta is available under the name of P. quinquefolia, which does not stick to walls. Exceptionally healthy foliage, and extremely frost hardy. Foliage from May to October. Intense autumn colour! Can cause building damages. The inconspicuous green-yellow flowers in early summer are followed by blue-black berries on decorative red stalks. They are a favourite bird food, resulting in strongly staining faeces. Summer and winter pruning as needed, to restrain the vigorous growth habit. The plants are very easily shaped into any form. Partenocissus quinquefolia is also a wild plant, but the wild variety doesn't adhere well to walls and facades at all and is not particularly suited for building greening.

Climbing Plant Support System

Additional support to attach plant and to prevent collapsing is recommended. However, in some cases and especially on wind-exposed walls, rope systems (see below) as Basic Support Systems to prevent collapsing may be required. For very tall walls the medium Classic wire rope systems may be required.

Appropriate wire rope systems?

Please click the icon for showing the full suitability chart

Parthenocissus quinqefolia on the city hall of Quedlinburg / Saxony-Anhalt
Here the plants have already climbed to a height of approx. 25 metres.
Self clinging Virginia creeper
American Ivy with autumn foliage

Examples for greenings

Here you can see examples of Virginia creeper on facades in different stages and seasons.

Where the Virginia Creeper grows in a self-clinging manner, it develops a steeper and more narrow growth than the Boston Ivy.
Same shaped growth, but on another building
Because of its very vertically bound grwoth, this plant can be cultivated in pots on masts etc.
Step-by-step some shoots will grow in horizontal directions
Wild Virginia creeper after 3-5 years
Appearence of growth after 4-8 years
Greeery with five leaved ivy
After some years overhangig growth is possible
Five-fingerd ivy on a church in Plauen / Saxony
If the plant conquers the eave, roof drainage is interfered and building damages are possible
Covered by Virginia creeper, old spinning-factory in Leipzig / Saxony
This building is almost completely covered by five-leaved ivy
Autumn foliage in five-fingered Virginia creeper
Autumnal leaf-coloring on a church ruin, Wachau near Leipzig / Saxony
Scarlet autumn coloring on a house
Autumnal "Engelmanii" on a house

Botanical features

This photo gallery shows leaves, aerial rootlets, adhesive pads, fruits, blossoms and possible building damages of Virginia creeper ("Engelmanii"

A young "Engelmanii" in winter. Here the naturally vertical growth can be seen
Parthenocissus quinqefolia "Engelmanii": the short tendrills have adhesive pads on their tips
Wild Parthenocissus quinqefolia (no "Engelmanii"): young shoots have longer tendrills, which can wrap themselves easier around twigs etc
Special Parthenocissus quinqefolia "Saint Paulii" in Potsdam Sanssouci.
Close-up of the strong aerial rootlets, similar to Ivy.
The Virginia Creeper can develop quite strong adhesive pads and cause building damages.
Adhesive pads of Part. quinqefolia on a clinker wall.
t can be assumed that the common German name "virgin grape" has been derived from the blue, apparently not fertilised, inedible berries.
Parthenocissus quinqefolia (no Engelmanii)
Another related variety is Parthenocissus henryana, slow-growing and less frost resistant
Greening of a wall with Part. quinqefolia
Starting leaf coloration of "Engelmanii"
Virginia creeper "Engelmanii" in autumn
Beatiful scarlet leaf coloring in autumn
In the shade the foliage develops a stronger yellow colour
Annualy pruning is strongly advised, a 1 m strip should be held free to roof edges etc
With increasing age and heights, foliage mats can fall off the wall due to high weight and winds.
Historical growth support, horizontal wires as prevention from collapsing. Detail see above, autumn image.
Wire rope system as prevention from collapsing, but mesh sizes of 1.20 m x 1.20 m are enough
Virginia creeper can cause building damages by growing into narrow gaps in facades etc.

Appropriate wire rope systems for Part. quinqefolia

Please click on the graphic illustrations for details!

 = suitable             = of limited suitability             = unsuitable