The Virginia creeper - Parthenocissus quinqefolia is one of the very best climbing plants for autumn colour and, like its closely related cousin the grape vine, it is very easy to propagate. You get two opportunities to take cuttings from the Virginia creeper, the first is as semi-ripe cuttings in August to September and then as hardwood cuttings from November onwards. Hardwood cutting are taken in the dormant season after leaf drop, and avoiding periods of severe frost. The ideal time is just after leaf fall in late autumn or just before bud-burst in spring.

Semi-ripe cuttings

Using a sharp, sterilized blade, take 4-5 inch nodal cuttings from half-ripened stems and insert them singularly into pots containing a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. You may wish to mix in extra horticultural grade grit-sand to improve the drainage further. Do not allow the cutting to dry out between taking it from the vine and planting it in the pot. If there will be a delay or the weather is hot, wrap the cuttings inside a moist paper towel and keep it out of the sun if you can't plant it immediately.

Note: A nodal cutting is a stem cutting that has been cut above and below a leaf joint.

Water in and then once the excess has drained away place the pots into a propagating frame or large heated propagator at a temperature of between 13-16 degrees Celsius. Keep out of direct sunlight. Once the cuttings have rooted they can be removed from the propagator and grown on under protecting in cool conditions avoiding freezing conditions. Once rooted the cuttings can be potted on into 1 litre pots. They can be planted out into their final positions once the threat of late frosts have passed in the spring.

Hardwood cuttings

This is a far simpler technique. Again using a sharp, sterilized blade, time take longer nodal cuttings between 10 and 12 inches. Insert them 6 inches apart into a weed-free, well-drained bed outside making sure that half their length in in the soil. They should root over the winter period and produce new growth in the spring.

Leave the cuttings in place until the following autumn making sure that they do not dry out over the in summer. Once the cuttings have dropped their leaves, carefully lift them making sure that as much of the root systems is kept intact and pot them on in to a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No 3'.