Virginia Creeper is an intriguing species of plant. It is also known as Parthenocissus quinquefolia. As the name implies, Virginia Creepers are special types of climbers. You can spot it on buildings clinging to the walls with their broad roots, which gives it an advantage on several surfaces over other plants. In thick forest, Virginia creepers carpet the ground forming dense undergrowth beneath the towering trees. It can also cling onto the trunks of tall trees, reaching as far as the height of the trees.
Virginia creepers are also known for their strong competitive advantage over other plants. When grown with other plants, it can limit the ability of other plants to generate sunlight for photosynthesis. Always found on walls, trees, polls, and other surfaces, Virginia creepers are mainly used as shades for buildings, especially during summer. It cools the building preventing excessive penetration of heat. It can also be used as a herbal remedy for health challenges such as swelling, diarrhea, urinary aid, and lockjaw.
Virginia Creeper is mainly found in Mexico, Guatemala, some parts of Canada, and Utah and Manitoba in the United States. Labeled with various names such as five fingers, five-leaved ivy, or Victoria creeper, it is categorized as a flowering plant in the Vitaceae family.
Types Of Virginia Creepers
There are different variations of Virginia Creepers. The differences in the forms are superficial, ranging from color to variegations – the pattern of distribution veins in the leaves and resistance to drought and climatic conditions. There is the Monham variety with white color variations on the leaves.
Engelmann’s ivy is a good climber and can firmly attach itself to walls, poles, and trees. It is a vigorous type of Virginia creeper with foliage mixed with bronze and red color. Another variety of the Virginia Creeper is the Variegata.
Variegata is not as rigorous as Engelmann’s ivy. It has a white and yellow pattern of veins. The color of the Variegata changes to red and pink during autumn. There is the Red Wall type of Virginia Creepers – with bright red fall foliage.
How To Grow Virginia Creepers
You may like to grow Virginia creeper to harness its numerous benefits. Like other plants, there are specific unique measures to take to grow Virginia Creepers. You can grow your Virginia creeper in two ways – through propagation or seedlings.
Propagation makes it a lot easier to grow your Virginia Creeper, especially when you may not have access to the seedlings. The plant’s stem is the primary resource to propagate and grow your Virginia creeper. Follow the outlined steps below to grow your Virginia creeper through the stem.
- Cut a good and healthy Virginia Creeper stem with at least a length of 12 inches.
- Wipe off the leaves from the bottom part of the cut stem, preferably ⅓ of the bottom part.
- Insert the stem into a good root hormone to speed up the growth of your Virginia Creeper.
- Prepare a pot of damp and well-moisturized soil to bury the cut stem.
- Dip the stem inside the prepared soil. It should not be too deep to stifle the stem, but it should at least be 3 inches deep.
- After a month, check back your cut stem. It would have developed roots. Remove and replant in your chosen location.
You can grow your Virginia Creeper using seedlings without cutting the stem. Although stem cuttings provide a more easy shortcut to growing your Virginia Creeper, seedlings are also a good alternative. Follow the steps below to grow the five-leaved ivy through seedlings.
- Harvest the seed and sow it into soil prepared with sand or peat moss.
- When burying the seed, let it be at least ⅜ inches deep in the prepared soil.
- Space the seeds properly. It is recommendable keeping them 10 per square foot.
- Watering while the seedling is beneath the soil is essential. Water the planted seedlings once a week
- Between 3 to 4 weeks, your seeding will begin to germinate and be properly planted as outlined above.
How To Care For Your Virginia Creeper
Plants survive under varying conditions. Care and maintenance routines differ as well. Certain breeding conditions can aid and hamper your Virginia Creepers’ growth. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to care for your Virginia Creeper.
In its early stages, you should water the plant regularly to aid its growth. A full-grown Virginia Creeper may not need frequent watering because it is heat resistant. However, you may have to water it occasionally in extremely hot weather.
Virginia Creepers do not require heavily drenched and moisture-rich soil to grow. It can grow on sandy, loam, or clayey soil. Excessive water or moisture on the soil can distort the growth of Virginia Creepers. Both acidic and alkaline soils can be fertile ground for your Virginia Creeper to blossom.
You can use fertilizer on your Virginia Creepers to improve yield and aid growth. Granular general-purpose fertilizer will do a good job. Don’t use it regularly. Applying it once a year. It will keep the plant vigorous, growing aggressively and providing the desired shade.
Humidity And Temperature Checks
Virginia Creepers can survive in cold temperatures. It is a hardy plant that can resist and thrive in temperatures as cold as -10°F when it is inactive in winter. However, it can sustain damage due to late frost if it starts growing in the spring. Always keep watch of the humidity and temperature to avoid damage.
Prune Your Virginia Creepers
Due to the nature of the plant, Virginia Creepers grow aggressively. Pruning enables control and regulates the direction of growth. Your Virginia creepers may tend to grow out of bounds approaching trees, poles, or gutters. Trim regularly to restrict them from areas you don’t want them to encroach.
Where Does Virginia Creepers Grow Best?
You can grow virginia creepers on virtually any type of soil. It can grow both in shady locations with little access to sunlight. An area well exposed to sunlight can equally be a fertile ground for your Virginia creeper. It can grow on both on dry and wet soil.
Is It Easy To Grow Virginia Creepers?
Virginia creeper is not difficult to grow. It grows quickly and does not require regimented maintenance routines to survive. It can easily grow in any environment.
Can I Grow Virginia creeper From A Cutting?
Virginia creeper is mainly planted by seed. However, you can grow your Virginia creeper by the stem cut from another more mature plant. Insert it into a root generating hormone to generate root for planting.