Vitis coignetiae is a member of the grape family – Vitaceae – but does not have edible fruit. Instead, it is graced with spectacular heart-shaped leaves – up to 12in long, though normally 8-10in. Its common name of ‘Crimson Glory Vine’ is because of its stunning autumn colour with shades of gold, orange and deepest red.
The vine originated in several parts of Asia including the snowed mountainous areas of Japan. There have been unsuccessful attempts at producing a reasonable wine from the sparse berries
The Crimson Glory Creeper plant is a deciduous climbing vine with a robust habit of growth, reaching to 40ft (12m) within 5-10 years of initial planting. It has woody stems and climbs by way of tendrils which will wrap themselves around any firm support - including wires, trellis, frameworks and smaller branches of trees or shrubs.
The foliage throughout summer is mid to dark green with the large leaves heavily veined, giving a somewhat coarse appearance on the surface, but with a light brown downy covering on the undersides. It gives a good shade cover if used on a pergola. This vine stands apart from most other creepers in the autumn, when the turning colours blaze through whatever support is its home.
The flowers of Vitis coignetiae are insignificant, followed by slightly more visible clusters of small black fruit (grapes) which are non-edible – or rather – unpalatable, even when fully matured. (If it is grape produce you are requiring, then there are better choices within the Vitaceae) Crimson Glory Vine is essentially an ornamental feature.
It will easily clothe a fence or trellis providing there is initial support for the tendrils. Running atop of a fence is a good situation. A solitary trellis panel will soon be outgrown. It is happy to clamber up through trees – especially those with light open crown. I have also seen it growing up through large Leylandii conifers and in particular climbing up through a mature Yew tree.
Dappled shade or full sun is coped with, but the latter is best for the autumn leaf colour.
Soil requirements are varied, but it does best in non-acid soils which are well drained. It rarely required additional watering in summer – other than the driest spells. Likewise feeding is not generally required though annual mulch around the root area is always welcomed.
Layering of younger vines is the easiest method of producing new plants. Together with this, they can be rooted by way of hardwood cuttings or by a method known as ‘vine-eye’ cuttings in late winter or early spring.
Pests are more or less nonexistent when grown outside as a climbing plant.
Disease are restricted to unsightly powdery mildew, and in areas where it is prevalent, can succumb to Honey fungus.
Restrictive pruning can take place in winter, but far better to realise the extent of growth when first plating. Snipping at any wayward creepers can take place at and time of the year.