Parthenocissus Creepers

Featured in this video are two of autumns most adorned ornamental creepers; the Boston Ivy and the Virginia Creeper.Both from the plant family Vitacea, they are deciduous clinging plants with foliage that turns brilliant shades of red and orange in autumn.

Boston Ivy, botanically known as Parthenocissus tricuspidata, has palmate 3 lobed leaves and grows to provide excellent coverage across fences, and walls.  Leaves are born in spring and the ivy will grow to form a wall of glossy green leaves which have a cooling effect on the garden.In autumn, leaves turn a deep scarlet red, and the lateral growth patterns that form across climbing surfaces are stunning, with juvenile leaves resembling the shape of little hearts.

Boston Ivy does have the potential to grow fast and cover buildings, which only adds to the buildings charm. The decorative foliage can help soften hard edges of the building’s structure.It is drought tolerant once established, however if the lush green foliage is a desired look in your garden, then you may want to give an additional water in hot, dry periods.

Virginia Creeper, botanically known as Parthenocissus quinquefolia , can be distinguished by its 5 lobed toothed leaves, which appear to be more delicate than its relative, the Boston Ivy. It will need a support structure to climb such as a trellis, arbour or fence.  Its coverage is not as dense as Boston Ivy, and it does tend to have a more top-heavy growth habit, with the bulk of the foliage forming across the climbing support.  For this reason it is advisable to plant away from building eaves and guttering.

Both plants climb by producing tendrils, which reach for new climbing surfaces then attach using disc-shaped pads called holdfasts. These little pads can leave permanent marks on climbing surfaces and will be noticeable throughout the winter once the deciduous foliage has died back.  The bare leaved branching network makes an interesting feature in the garden during winter.As far as planting goes, Virginia Creeper tolerates a range of soil conditions include wet boggy soils and dry, alkaline soils.

Both the Boston Ivy and the Virginia Creeper will grow in part shade to full sun, and will colour well in south and east facing positions. The only maintenance they require is a tip prune if growing too vigorously or you can do a harder prune to shape in early spring.They are hardy to cold conditions too and will grow around the east and west of Australia right up to northern Queensland.

These climbers are very adaptable, undemanding and will reward with delightful changing colour in autumn and help cool buildings and garden in summer.