Virginia Creeper is one of the best native plants for fall color. It's also one of the first to turn, sometimes by mid-August, and it's colors range from brilliant cherry reds to deep purples. The leaves also emerge bronze or greenish-red in spring.
In spring tiny flowers attract pollinators before the blue-black berries come out. Birds and small mammals love the fruit, and Virginia Creeper also is a larval host to the Pandorus Sphinx Moth and other moth species.
Virginia Creeper is a large, fast-growing vine that responds well to pruning but also does best where it has room to spread. It climbs by tendrils that stick to surfaces and is best kept away from wood, siding and other surfaces that could get damaged.
One of its claims to fame is its full head of lustrous green foliage, which is great for covering up anything you don't want to see -- fences, concrete, other objects. It will grow just about anywhere and is salt tolerant, although the best color generally is in sunny spots.
Photos: Creative Commons; Fall Foliage, Jonathan Billinger
- Latin: Parthenocissus quinquefolia
- Pollinator value: Medium
- Height: 30-50-foot vine
- Light: Full sun to full shade
- Soil: Medium
- Bloom: Greenish-white summer
- Foliage: Purple spring; purple-crimson fall
- Native range here