|Virginia creeper in fruit|
It’s hard to find for sale, of course, so I potted up a few of my seedlings for an upcoming fall plant sale because there are always a couple people that ask for it (and I like a sale that has a few out-of-the-ordinary things).
|Nessus sphinx moth caterpillar|
I got a little pushback from a fellow sale committee member about including it when there are so many other native vines that people would want. It wasn’t two days after that conversation that I found what many butterfly and moth enthusiasts already know: Virginia creeper is a host plant. This chart from Illinois lists 15 different moth species that use it as a host.
I found the caterpillar of the Nessus sphinx moth (Amphion floridensis) on one of my potted Virginia creeper plants. I found two caterpillars on the same plant, one was light green and the other had already turned light burgundy.
I found them in the morning when this particular species can be found at the base of the vine, resting overnight. Thanks to the Caterpillars of Eastern North America (which is a great book), I was able to identify this when many other sources do not acknowledge Virginia creeper as one of its host plants.
|Nessus sphinx caterpillar almost done|
|Nessus sphinx moth burrows into soil for the next phase|
|Nessus sphinx moth adult (Photo credit)|
I think it is the lack of showy flowers that cause people to discount this vine as a worthy plant in the home landscape. I’m here to say that it has plenty of reasons to be a part of what you grow in your wildlife garden.
|Virginia creeper's modest flowers|
|Virginia creeper fall color|