Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: Virginia creeper 
Type: Vine
Family: Vitaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States to Mexico
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 30.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to August
Bloom Description: Greenish white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Clay Soil, Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade. Best fall color generally occurs in sunny locations. This is an easy-to-grow plant with good tolerance for a wide range of soils and urban conditions. It often needs little care, but must be trimmed regularly to keep it in bounds. It should be sited in areas where it will have room to expand and grow. It should not be grown up wood or shingle walls because the holdfasts are difficult to remove. It can ruin painted surfaces. If unchecked, vines can also attach to and seriously damage such objects as gutters, shutters or wiring around homes and buildings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Parthenocissus quinquefolia is a deciduous, woody vine that is commonly called Virginia creeper or woodbine. It is native to eastern and central North America south to Mexico. It occurs statewide in Missouri, typically being located in open areas of ravines, valleys, rich woods, thickets, rocky bluffs, hillsides and fencerows (Steyermark). This is a vigorous tendril-climbing vine that will rapidly grow to 30-50’ long or more. It needs no support because it clings to surfaces (e.g., brick, stone or wood walls) by adhesive holdfasts (also called sucker disks) located at the tendril ends. It also will creep along the ground as suggested by the common name. Compound-palmate leaves (usually 5 saw-toothed leaflets, each leaflet to 6” long) emerge purplish in spring, mature to dull green in summer and change to attractive shades of purple and crimson red in fall. Greenish white flowers in late spring to early summer appear in the upper leaf axils, but are generally hidden by the foliage and are ornamentally insignificant. Flowers give way to blue-black berries (to 3/8” diameter) which are also hidden by the foliage and are often not visible until autumn leaf drop. Birds eat the berries.

Genus name comes from the Greek words parthenos meaning a virgin and kissos meaning ivy.

Specific epithet means five-leaved in reference to the palmate leaves. .


No serious problems. Mildews, leaf spots, canker and wilt are occasional problems. Also susceptible to a number of insect pests including beetles, scale and leaf hoppers. Once attached to the side of a building or home, it becomes difficult to remove and will damage painted surfaces and leave residues.


Effective as a climber for brick or stone walls of buildings, large trellises, arbors, fences or through large trees. Also effective as a ground cover to cover rock piles, stumps or for erosion control on slopes.