What is Ampelopsis?
Known scientifically as Ampelopsis brevipedunculata, ampelopsis is a climbing shrub that's also known as porcelain berry, wild grape, porcelain vine, ampelopsis glandulosa, creeper or Amur pepper vine. It belongs to the Vitaceae family of grapes. Named in 1803, the word ampelopsis was obtained from the Greek word 'ampelos', meaning 'vine.'
It's an ornamental, perennial plant that's woody and deciduous. It has tendrils, flowers and leaves with three palmate lobes. The leaves can grow up to 5 inches long. Featuring margins with coarse teeth, the leaves are white and shiny beneath.
Ampelopsis flowers appear in umbels directly opposite the leaves in the axils. The plant starts flowering in June and blooms in August. The flowers are oval to round in shape and grow in clusters. The fruits are lilac-blue and inviting, but inedible.
The plant is native to mountainous regions enjoying the temperate climate. Ampelopsis is found in Mexico, eastern parts of North America and eastern Asia. Some species are also found in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Although it is an invasive weed in some regions, it's a popular garden plant.
The porcelain vine looks best in autumn. It has exquisite, small berries that change color from green to turquoise to purple then blue and finally lilac. Known as a tendril deciduous vine, ampelopsis can grow 8 to 10 meters horizontally and 4 or 10 meters high.
Therefore, it can grow in narrow areas in gardens without much space. The diameter of the berries range from 4 to 8mm. Although ampelopsis is often confused with native grapes due to the shape of its leaves, it has a distinct pith.
Ampelopsis glandulosa var brevipedunculata does well in cool winters and humid climates. It grows in well-drained soils rich in humus. However, it can adapt well in rocky or sandy soils. The plant also requires enough water during growth. Porcelain berry is propagated from cuttings that grow into healthy vines.
Ampelopsis Fruits in Varied Colors
The creeper can be pruned vigorously in winter with regrowth of leaves in just a couple of months. Pruning promotes growth and gives the plant a desired shape. Hardwood cuttings for propagation can be taken during pruning. Porcelain vine does well in hardiness zones 4 to 8. Ampelopsis requires support structures during growth.
Ampelopsis cuttings and seeds can be grown in pots and transplanted later when they're ready. The plants can be transplanted when they attain 20cm in height.
Garden Uses of Ampelopsis Brevipedunculata
Ampelopsis can give gardens a mystique look. It can be used to cover fences, porches, walls, pergola, arbors and trellis, among other structures..
Check out our lightweight yet durable Fabric Planter Grow Bag to start propagating Ampelopsis for its ornamental benefits in your garden.