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Virginia creeper

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Native to Central North America from Southern Canada through Mexico to Guatemala, a vigorous deciduous climber uses a pad like suckers to support its climb. It has palate-lobed leaves, innocuous green flowers, blueberries, and beautiful fiery red Autumn.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Virginia Creeper, Bonsai
Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Virginia Creeper, Bonsai

Bonsai Care:

The Virginia Creeper makes enchanting small delicate Mame to Shohin sized bonsai with characterful clumps style or cascade styles bonsai. It is cherished for its fiery Spring and Autumn Colouring. So easy to grow, they are pretty unique and fun to train.

Position: Virginia creeper grows in a bright sunny spot, especially if an intense autumn colour is desired. It is a very hardy species and will tolerate extreme cold, but best to protect bonsai in a cold greenhouse if temperatures fall below -4°C, as otherwise, it may suffer from die-back.

Watering: Virginia needs a copious amount of water and may be severely damaged by drought, often leading to leaf fall and unpredictable shoot die-back. Water thoroughly early in the morning, so the bonsai has it when it needs it, and all standing water is up before nightfall.

Feeding: Feed every two weeks from the end of flowering until Autumn. Use a balanced organic fertiliser. A solid slow-release pelleted feed from early Spring to late Autumn replenishes every two months. With a liquid fertiliser, feed every second week two between March and October.

Repotting: Repot every one or two years in Spring. Use a well-draining, rich, organic bonsai mix. Use leaf mould or bark and loam and sharp sand in equal parts. Alternatively, you can use Akadama and pumice in the ratio of 2 to 1.

Pruning: Lets creeper stalks extend fully before pruning back to leave three active nodes or later shoots.

Wiring: Wiring is traditionally only used very early in the Virginia bonsai’s development stage when the convoluted curvey trunks lines of the style are formed. After that, all the further bonsai development is carried out with the clip and grow method.

Propagation: The Virginia Creeper can be multiplied easily from seeds, ground layering and hardwood cuttings. Use a rooting powder to assist with hardwood cuttings.

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