Virginia creeper is an aggressive, woody vine native to the Midwest and the Chicago region. This vine is often found growing up tree trunks in native woods, but it can be trained to grow on a fence or arbor. In early autumn the compound, five-leaflet leaves turn a brilliant red. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All common names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Large plant (more than 24 inches)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
- Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Acid soil,
- Alkaline soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional drought,
- Wet sites,
- Occasional flooding,
- Clay soil
Seasons of Interest:
- early summer,
- late summer,
- early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size and Method of Climbing
Virginia creeper is a vigorous vine that can easily climb to the top of tall trees. This is a clinging vine. Vines adheres to flat surfaces by adhesive disks and aerial rootlets.
Clinging vines attach themselves directly to a surface by means of holdfasts (adhesive discs) or by small aerial roots. This type of vine grows best on a flat surface, such as stone, masonry walls and wood.
Tolerates full sun to full shade.
Adapted to any well-drained site.
Disease, pests, and problems
Mildews, leaf spots, canker and wilt are occasional problems.
This plant grows so vigorously that it is often considered a weed.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Deer, drought, heavy shade, erosion, black walnut
Native geographic location and habitat
Found throughout most of the United States in woods, fencerows, and midwestern forests
Compound-palmate leaves, usually with 5 leaflets that attach in the center. New leaves emerge purplish in spring, mature to dull green in summer and change to a brilliant purple to crimson-red in the fall.
Clusters of small, greenish-white flowers appear in the upper leaf axils in late spring to early summer, but are generally hidden by the foliage.
Clusters of bluish-black fruit appear in September and October.