The Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus Quinquefolia) Care Guide

The Virginia Creeper, otherwise known as the Parthenocissus Quinquefolia or American Ivy, American Woodbine, False Grape, Five-Leaved Ivy, Five-Leaves, True Virginia Creeper, Wild Wood Vine, Woodbine, Ampelopsis hederacea, Ampelopsis quinquefolia, Vitis quinquefolia, is a somewhat well known climber plant native to the Rocky Mountains, Northeast, Southeast, and the Southwest of the United States.

Best known for its average maintenance and fast growth, this climber will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Virginia Creeper Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Virginia Creeper are the following:

  • Water: The Virginia Creeper needs water regularly to maintain evenly moist soil.
  • Light: Keep your Parthenocissus Quinquefolia in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Virginia Creeper in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Virginia Creeper this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Parthenocissus Quinquefolia care

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Virginia Creeper belongs to the Vitaceae family, the genus Parthenocissus and the species Quinquefolia, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Parthenocissus Quinquefolia (par-the-no-SIS-us kwin-kwe-FOH-li-a).

As with other Parthenocissus’s, the Virginia Creeper is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Virginia Creeper is a plant native to the Eastern Canada and United States to Mexico and North Carolina. This is why the Parthenocissus Quinquefolia is used to growing in specific regions such as the states in Rocky Mountains, Northeast, Southeast, and the Southwest of the United States.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Virginia Creeper. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Parthenocissus Quinquefolia will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A2, A3.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Virginia Creeper is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Virginia Creeper? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Parthenocissus Quinquefolia can grow up to 30′ – 50′ (9m – 15m) in 30′ – 50′ (9m – 15m) and 5′ – 10′ (150cm – 3m) in 5′ – 10′ (150cm – 3m). 


In terms of watering, the Virginia Creeper is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Parthenocissus Quinquefolia needs water regularly to maintain evenly moist soil.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Parthenocissus Quinquefolia leaves


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Virginia Creeper in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, moist, occasionally dry, and occasionally wet properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Virginia Creeper is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Virginia Creeper prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, occasionally dry, and occasionally wet properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Virginia Creeper requires soil with clay, high organic matter, loam (silt), and sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Virginia Creeper requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this climber will do well as long as you keep it in shade, or partial sun to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Parthenocissus Quinquefolia in from little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy), to full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a deciduous plant, the Virginia Creeper will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Virginia Creeper to flower around the spring and in the summer months from April to June (spring), and from July to September (summer).

The Virginia Creeper produces some wonderful green and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Virginia Creeper have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a compound (pinnately, bipinnately, palmately) arrangement with a alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Parthenocissus Quinquefolia to be around (3-6 inches) in size.

Parthenocissus Quinquefolia fruits

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Virginia Creeper is well known for being able to attract birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for clay soil, drought and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Parthenocissus Quinquefolia will be fine.


Now, let’s talk garden and how your Virginia Creeper will look best in it.

Most Parthenocissus Quinquefolia owners agree that this climber will look great in most mediterranean, cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

In particular, the Virginia Creeper’s best location within your garden is in wall-side borders, ground covers, pergolas, arbors, trellises, banks and slopes, and in walls and fences, others use it for landscaping in a firescaping/fire wise, coastal exposure, wildlife garden, erosion control, ground cover, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Virginia Creeper’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Physocarpus, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Euonymus will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Virginia Creeper to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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