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All about the Boston Ivy Plant

Boston Ivy

Common Name: Grape ivy, Japanese Creeper

Latin Name: Parthenocissus tricuspidata

Family: Vitaceae

Plant Time: Spring or Autumn

Mature Size: 30–50 ft. long

Sun Preference: Full or partial sunlight

Soil Preference: Moist, loamy soil with Acidic to Alkaline pH levels

Bloom Time: Early Summer

Flower Color: Greenish-white

Native Area: Asia

Toxicity: Toxic to humans and pets

Growth Rate: -

Wildlife Value: -

Table of Contents

Step into the world of the Boston Ivy plant, a true marvel of nature! Known by its botanical name, Parthenocissus tricuspidata, this enchanting vine has fascinated gardening enthusiasts with its grace and charm.

Originating from the beautiful lands of Asia (just like Catnip and Ginger), the Boston Ivy boasts glossy, heart-shaped leaves that add a touch of elegance to any space. Its foliage takes center stage, turning vibrant shades of green, often accented by crimson and burgundy hues.

Thankfully, caring for this beauty is a breeze. With its moderate level of difficulty, even novice gardeners can relish in the joys of cultivating and nurturing the Boston Ivy plant.


Caring for the captivating Bostony Ivy plant is a delightful experience, especially indoors. These climbing plants eagerly embrace any support you provide, be it a structure or a cozy spot on a bookcase.

  • Light: Choose a location that provides partial shade to full sun for optimal growth and vibrant fall colors. While it can tolerate full shade, some shelter from the sun is beneficial, especially in hotter summer regions.
  • Soil: It thrives in well-drained, loamy soil with a pH range of 5.0 to 7.5. However, it can adapt to various soil conditions and even tolerate urban pollution.
  • Water: In the first growing season, deeply water the plant to promote root development. Afterward, water weekly, increasing frequency during hot periods. Once established, Boston Ivy exhibits good drought tolerance.
  • Temperatures: Boston Ivy thrives in hardiness zones 4 to 8, tolerating common temperatures within this range. Extreme winter temperatures below -10 degrees Fahrenheit can cause permanent damage, while late spring frosts may harm new growth, although the plant typically recovers swiftly.


Using Cuttings is probably the best way to propagate Boston Ivy plants at home. Let’s see how you can do it:

  1. Choose your method: You can either root the cutting in water or use a pot with a rooting hormone for better results.
  2. Prepare the cutting: Remove the bottom leaves to expose the nodes, which will hopefully develop roots.
  3. Select the right medium: Use a soil-less mixture like a blend of Perlite and peat moss or a cactus mixture that provides good drainage without becoming waterlogged.
  4. Plant the cutting: Place the cutting deep into the mixture, ensuring that the nodes are covered. Water from the bottom to encourage sturdy root growth.
  5. Create a humid environment: Maintain high humidity by misting the cutting frequently or by placing a clear plastic bag over the pot until roots start to develop.
  6. Provide proper lighting: Initially, prioritize root growth over leaf growth by avoiding continuous exposure to fluorescent light. Consider a day/night light schedule.
  7. Monitor root development: Keep an eye on the cutting to check for root establishment. Once the roots are well-established, remove the plastic cover.
  8. Allow for root population: Let the plant fill the pot with roots before considering transplanting it into a soil mixture.
  9. Harden off the plant: Gradually acclimate the newly-established plant to outdoor conditions before transplanting it.

Follow these steps, and you’ll increase your chances of successfully propagating your Cissus alata.

Common Pests

Thankfully, the Boston Ivy plant is not the most “bugged” plant on the world, but Scales and Powdery mildew (a fungal disease) can cause some problems. You can get rid of the scales by spraying some insecticidal soap on the plant, but when it comes to Powdery Mildew, using baking soda is the way to go.


Pruning Boston Ivy vine requires some careful consideration to maintain its appearance without causing damage. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. To keep your Boston Ivy looking its best, pinch, snap, or cut any unruly shoots as they develop. This helps control the size of the plant and promotes tidy growth. Additionally, these cuttings can be easily rooted in new pots and make lovely gifts.
  2. Alternatively, you can pin down healthy shoots using floral or hair pins to prevent them from trailing and climbing. However, this method is suitable for potted ivy only. Remember to remove any dead leaves to prevent rot.
  3. Outdoor control of Boston Ivy can be challenging, and it’s generally advised to confine it within a pot or a bordered space. If you have inherited a garden filled with ivy or can’t resist its charm, it’s essential to know how to remove it from brick, stone, and wood surfaces without causing damage. Pruning before the ivy starts climbing is the best approach, but if that’s not possible, there are techniques to manage it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Boston ivy harmful?

Unfortunately, Boston Ivy is very toxic to pets and humans. Make sure that you, your kids or your pets do not ingest this plant!

Can Boston ivy grow indoors?

Yes, this plant grows well indoors too. You can grow it vertically on the wall or in a pot too.

Is Boston ivy easy to grow?

Boston Ivy is very easy to grow using cuttings. Place the cutting deep into the potting mixture, ensuring that the nodes are covered. Water from the bottom to encourage sturdy root growth.

How fast does Boston Ivy grow?

Boston Ivy is a fast-growing vine, typically reaching a growth rate of 10 to 15 feet per year under favorable conditions.

Does Boston Ivy damage buildings?

Boston Ivy has adhesive pads that allow it to attach to surfaces, but it generally does not cause structural damage to well-maintained buildings. However, it’s important to monitor its growth and take necessary precautions to prevent it from infiltrating cracks or gaps.

Does Boston Ivy require a trellis or support?

Yes, Boston Ivy is a climbing vine and requires a sturdy trellis, wall, or other structures for support. It readily climbs and attaches itself to surfaces using its small adhesive pads.

Does Boston Ivy lose its leaves in winter?

Yes, Boston Ivy is a deciduous vine, which means it sheds its leaves in the fall. It often displays a striking show of vibrant red and purple foliage before the leaves drop.