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TREES & plants

Virginia creeper

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.

Botanical name: 
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
All Common Names: 
Virginia Creeper
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Vine
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Screen
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
  • Zone 9
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Alkaline soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Early summer
  • Mid summer
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Creeping
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

 A vigorous climbing vine that typically grows 30 to 50 feet high.
Vines adheres to flat surfaces by adhesive disks and aerial rootlets
Aggressive vines may need pruning to avoid suffocating tops of trees

Disease, pests, and problems

Mildews, leaf spots, canker and wilt are occasional problems

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Deer, drought, heavy shade, erosion, black walnut

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 2
Found throughout most of the United States in woods, fencerows, and midwestern forests

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

The stalks are bright red and contrast beautifully with the dark blue berries in the fall

Bark color and texture 

Mature bark is thick and dark brown
Young twigs and stems are tan with orange lenticels 

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

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.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

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.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Clusters of bluish-black fruit appear in September and October