Friday, June 3, 2016

GROWING VIRGINIA CREEPER - for shade and beauty



Growing Virginia Creeper for shade and beauty is why I ignore the warnings that this plant is invasive and a nuisance. I personally think Virginia Creeper gets a bad rap! There are so many benefits to allowing this plant to thrive.


One of the top reasons why I have allowed the Ivy to grow is for shade. With searing temperatures of 100 degrees here in Texas, I have pleasantly discovered that my home and porch stays comfortably cool. Studies have shown that this covering vine can create a thermal shield adding warmth in the winter, and in the summer, cooling the temps up to almost 40%.  The other benefits to this covering vine is that it also wards off water related damage.

I'm sure there are plenty of cons to this vine, but I have found too many pros to tear it down.

Virginia Creeper in England


The Ivy is a prolific grower and can reach up to 50 feet. It does require pruning for control, but I have found that it makes an excellent privacy screen when wanting to quickly cover fences, and archways. The only drawback is that this vine "winters" and the leaves will turn red, form berries, then die back, leaving only the wooded parts -- the leaves reappear in the spring.

Virginia Creeper indoors and on front porch


Sometimes the Virginia Creeper is mistaken for Poison Ivy. When this plant first appeared in an abandoned flower pot, I counted 3 leaves and remembered the old saying:

LEAVES OF THREE, LET IT BE
LEAVES OF FIVE, LET IT THRIVE

Poison Ivy has three leaves
Virginia Creeper has five


There are medical benefits to the Virginia Creeper. Although the berries are considered harmful for consumption, the berries are food for the birds. During the Great Plague in London, the berries were infused with vinegar to help with infertility, and as an antiseptic during the plague.
My "Poison Ivy" plant turned out being Virginia Creeper and I didn't have the heart to pluck it out.


Using a wire coat hanger, I formed it into a heart shape and created a topiary.


Not sure if this vine will "winter" indoors, but it now has a new home.


This Virginia Creeper, is a Keeper.


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