PLANT PROFILE:
Engelmann Ivy

Engelmann Ivy

Parthenocissus quinquefolia var. engelmannii

Description & Overview

Engelmann Ivy (aka. Virginia Creeper) is a large, fast-growing, five-leaved ivy. Overall this is a great grower and hardy to Midwestern zones, and while it’s not a true icy, it is a spectacular vine. The leaves start out as white and green and then showcase an excellent burgundy fall color. It can work as a climber or a groundcover, but it will cling to masonry such as stone, cement, and brick.


Core Characteristics

Mature Height: 30-50 feet
Mature Spread: Varies
Growth Rate: Fast
Growth Form: Vine
Light Requirements: Full Sun to Full Shade
Site Requirements: N/A
Flower: White-green
Bloom Period: June-July
Foliage: Glossy dark green
Fall Color: Golden-crimson
Fruit Notes: Blue berries

Suggested Uses:

  • Masonry & Wood (as a true clinging vine, it can adhere to and climb on brick, cement, and large wood structures
  • Border (through medium sized shrubs to act as groundcover),
  • Container gardens (again, to act as groundcover or keep the vine contained),
  • Cut flower garden (flowers are beautiful and make nice additions to any bouquet),
  • Espalier (there is not much depth in the z-direction but it grows full in the x and y directions),
  • Ground cover (for areas where grass can be out of the question or some color is wanted); just don’t trellis it,
  • Privacy screen (adds beauty and density to a fence or trellis),
  • Specimen (showy flowers are enough to attract anyone’s attention and create a focal point in any garden),
  • Urban garden (similar reasoning as espalier, this vine does not take up as much space and can tolerate limited horizontal area as long as there is room for vertical growth),
  • Woodland garden (while not a native, some species of Clematis are and this variety will still make a nice addition or climb tree trunks if the garden is near the woods)
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Wildlife Value:

Berries are attractive to birds and provide a valuable winter food source but are poisonous to humans.

Maintenance Tips:

Prune in the later winter and early spring to control their growth and direction. Stems can be pruned back to 10″ to control aggressive or unwanted growth. Engelmann Ivy should be planted near a fence, trellis, or other vertical structure to support it. This vine is low maintenance and is extremely drought tolerant once established.

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Pests/Problems:

Engelmann Ivy in general has no known serious issues.

Most plants can be prone to common, ornamental (non-lethal) issues caused by various environmental conditions. This vine may be susceptible to wilt/stem rot (potentially fatal), powdery mildew, leaf spots, rust, and viruses. Potential insect pests include aphids, vine weevils, slugs, snails, scale, and earwigs. Watch for spider mites. Alleviate these common issues with over-the-counter insecticides or pesticides.

Because of its aggressive growth, this variety of ivy can overburden slower-growing trees, causing severe damage or pre-mature death.

The vigorous roots can penetrate a rock foundation and extend long distances, causing cracks in floors and drains.

Leaf Lore:

Native to eastern and central North American, southern Canada, eastern Mexico, and Guatemala, this ivy has many other names, including Virginia Creeper, Victoria Creeper, five-leaved ivy, or five-finger.

The name Parthenocissus quinquefolia is derived from the Greek meaning ‘five-leaved virgin ivy’. It’s frequently used to cover telephone poles or tree trunks, but remember that it can overburden slower-growing trees, causing severe damage or pre-mature death.

Companion Plants:

Begonia, Geranium, Ornamental Grass, Barberry, Juniper


Engelmann Ivy Parthenocissus quinquefolia var. engelmannii benchcard

Engelmann Ivy BENCHCARD