virginia creeper (36198 bytes)

Vines for Fall Color

By Jim Klett, professor, Colorado State University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

If you are looking for a perennial vine that will provide excellent orange-red-purple color in fall, you may want to try either Virginia Creeper (woodbine) Parthenoccissus quinquefolia (shown above), or Boston Ivy (Japanese creeper) Parthenocissus tricuspidatus.

In early fall, these vines are more evident than any other vines grown in this area.   The leaves develop flaming shades of orange and red.  Virginia creeper is a true clinging vine with five to eight adhesive-tipped tendril branches that seem to cling to any surface.  The leaves in the summer are dark green and, normally are composed of five leaflets.

Virginia creeper can climb 30 to 50 feet and will need pruning to keep it in bounds.

Boston ivy is similar to Virginia creeper, except the leaves are simple in shape vs. compound, and generally have three lobes. 

boston ivy in fall (25222 bytes)

Boston Ivy in Fall

This plant often creates a neater appearance because the adhesive-tipped tendril branches generally are shorter in length.

Photographs by Judy Sedbrook.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010