Star Showers Virginia Creeper

(Question)

I live in Zone 5a and have three (4′ wide x 7′ tall with a 30″ gap between each) self supporting, sturdy cedar trellises adjacent to a stone terrace that I would like to cover in vines. The trellises are exposed on both sides and have both a north and south exposure. I recently purchased a Star Showers Virginia Creeper as well as a two Comtesse de Bouchaud clematis to use on the trellises. Is the variegated creeper too aggressive a species for this application or can I control it with regular pruning to suit the site?

(Answer)

The vines you have chosen are hardy in your zone 5a garden. This new variant of Virginia Creeper (Parthessus quinquefolia “Star Showers”) posseses attractive 5-lobed leaves that are splashed with creamy white however, the variegation in this cultivar may not be stable. The self-clinging nature of this vine makes it an excellent choice for growing along fences, arbors and up the side of houses. The vine grows in partial-full sun , average-moist conditions and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. The vine has fast growing stems that can reach lengths of 25-30′ long . As a result, the vine requires regular maintenance and up keep, and can be pruned at any time. This vine tends to be leggy near the base and should be underplanted with low-growing plants.

Comtesse de Bouchaud clematis is a low-maintanance vine that is easily grown in fertile, medium moisture well-drained soil in full sun-part shade. The vine can grow 8-12′ at maturity with a 3-6′ spread. The vine should be cut back in early Spring to a pair of  buds that are 23-46cm above the ground. When planting the clematis, plant the crown 5-8cm deep to encourage new shoots to grow from below ground-level. This cultivar may suffer clematis wilt.

The following is a link to pruning of vines: https://www.bbg.org/gardening/article/pruning_plants_that_ascend

Happy Planting