why is my virginia creeper dying

Virginia Creeper Dying? (Troubleshooting 9 Common Problems)

Virgina Creeper dies mainly due to fungal infections. Insects like Aphids, Whiteflies, Caterpillars, Scale, Leafcutting bees, and Weevils also infest Virginia Creepers. Virginia Creeper also dies when it doesn’t get adequate water.

Virginia Creeper thrives in Zones 3 to 9. Virginia Creeper can not grow in zones that are too hot or too cold. This is why the creeper is seen only in certain states around the US.

Make sure that your microclimate is suitable for the Virginia creeper. Plant Virginia Creeper only if you live in zones 3 to 9.

Virginia Creeper is an aggressive creeper and it should grow fine in normal/sub-normal conditions. Let’s see why the creeper shows dying signs.

Virginia Creeper insect infestation

Insects like Aphids, Caterpillars, Leafcutting Bees, Flea Beetles, Leafhoppers, Weevils, and Scale insects can infest Virginia Creepers.

Aphid infection

Aphids are tiny, green to gray-colored insects that feed on plant saps directly via leaves. Affected leaves curl up and turn yellow.

A heavy infection might lead to stunted growth of stems and leaves. One can use insecticidal soap to control aphids on Virginia creepers.

If the creeper is too close to your garden plants, you may want to use Neem oil to treat aphids.


Caterpillars feed on Virginia Creeper’s leaf edges. They hide in the dense foliage and curl leaves around them. If the creeper is infested heavily, severe defoliation is seen.

Handpick the Caterpillars and throw them into a bucket of soap water to get rid of them. You can also spray the creeper with Bacillus thuringiensis to kill young caterpillars.

Leafcutting Bees

Leafcutting bees (Megachile spp.) carve out circles in leaves to make nests. This causes a lot of damage to the plants.

These are black bees and are quite similar to honeybees.

When you observe such circular holes in leaves, drape the affected leaves with cheesecloth to deter the bees.

Flea Beetles

Grape Flea Beetles commonly infest Virginia Creeper. These beetles may be green, blue, or purple metallic and are about 1/5th of an inch in size.

They have long, high legs and can jump. Adult beetles feed on buds. Larvae of flea beetles carve out circular holes in leaves.

Make sure that the vine is pollinated by the bees before taking control measures. Carbaryl kills these beetles efficiently.


Leafhoppers can affect Virginia Creeper. They adapt to the color of the plant on which they are feeding. In severe cases, stippling and death of stems are seen.

They come in various colors. They are 1/4th of an inch in size. Leafhoppers can be distinguished from other sap-feeding insects due to the fact that they are fast-moving.

The best way to get rid of leafhoppers is by spraying insecticidal soap when the insects are present.


Virginia Creeper attracts a variety of Scale insects. They come in various forms. Some are covered in hard armor and look like barnacles. Few others come in a waxy or cottony coating.

These insects are less than 1/4th of an inch and are often misidentified as unusual growths or fungal activity as the insects are mostly immobile.

You can use any type of horticulture oil to get rid of scale infestation.

Weevil infestation

They chew on the leaves of Virginia Creeper and leave big notches in them. Adult weevils are usually harmless to the Virginia Creeper.

Weevils are large beetles with elongated snouts. They are active at night. They are brown, black, or grey in color.

The larvae are dangerous! They chew on roots and destroy the root system if left untreated.

To treat: Handpick adult Weevils at night and treat the soil around the roots with commercially available parasitic nematodes.

virginia creeper

Why is my Virginia Creeper blotchy?

Do the leaves look like lace? Chances are it’s infested by the Japanese beetle, a purple/green insect.

You can spray some neem oil to get rid of the insects.

This condition may also happen due to heat, so identify the problem before treating the creeper accordingly.

Improper Watering

Virginia Creeper shows dying signs due to overwatering and underwatering. Too much water and its roots may suffocate, causing the plant to wither and yellow.

On the flip side, too little water can lead to drought stress, making the leaves dry up and fall off. Make sure to water the creeper abundantly in the summer.

You don’t need to water the creeper as much in the fall and winter as the creeper is dormant during these seasons.

Striking the right balance is key to keeping your Virginia Creeper happy and thriving. So, give it a sip when the soil feels dry to the touch, but don’t create waterlogged conditions.

Virginia Creeper too close to the wall?

Planting the Virginia creeper too close to the wall deters its growth. See if any part of the creeper is close to the wall nearby.

If you do not care well for the creeper it might have a hard time thriving. Sunlight will not be sufficient and the root system gets limited.

How often are you watering the creeper? Overwatering and Underwatering are major issues that affect the growth of the Virginia creeper.

Make sure to water the creeper abundantly and only water when the soil is dry to the touch.

Herbicidal damage

Herbicides may drift or overspray onto the vines, causing leaf yellowing, curling, or browning. Non-selective herbicides like Glyphosate can damage Virginia Creepers inadvertently.

In severe cases, herbicidal damage can weaken the plant, making it more susceptible to pests and diseases.

To prevent such damage, it’s crucial to apply herbicides with care, avoiding contact with desirable plants, and considering alternative weed control methods when a Virginia creeper is nearby.

Properly identifying and protecting this native species is essential for preserving its beauty in our landscapes.

Is your Virginia Creeper dying from the top?

Virginia Creeper dies from the top when Whiteflies or fungi attack the plant.

This creeper is usually disease-free. When there are extreme weather conditions like damp weather followed by dry weather, diseases are seen in this creeper.

You can spray neem oil on the foliage if you see some whiteflies. Remember to spray on the soil where the plant is rooted, as this is where whiteflies lay their eggs.

Will Virginia Creeper grow in full sun?

Virginia Creeper can grow in any weather condition. It can grow in full sun and shade.

This is probably not the reason why your creeper is dying. It is a beginner-friendly plant and even soil conditions don’t adversely affect the growth of the plant.

Does Virginia Creeper need support?

Many creepers need physical support to grow and thrive. Virginia Creeper doesn’t need any support to grow on a wall.

Does your Virginia creeper need a trellis?

A trellis might help in spreading faster but it’s not really needed for this creeper.

This creeper will grow on brick walls without effort but make sure your brick walls do not have any cracks in the wall as the creeper might damage the wall.

Does the Virginia Creeper lose its leaves in winter?

This creeper is deciduous, so it loses all its leaves every autumn. Fresh foliage is produced in the spring.

The creeper’s leaves become red before falling off. The creeper’s growth is minimal in the first year, it grows vigorously in the second year.

Do not worry if your creeper is losing leaves in autumn, this is natural.

Wrappin’ it up

Virginia Creeper is a very beautiful plant that’s easy to care for. The creeper will get affected by diseases rarely.

Take good care of the plant and keep its growth in control, you don’t want the creeper to damage your shingles/bricks.

I hope this article helps :))