How to Grow Creeping Wire Vine

A fast-spreading and hardy ground cover

Creeping Wire Vine in a container

itasun / Getty Images

Creeping Wire Vine (Muehlenbeckia axillaris) is a sprawling prostrate subshrub with distinctive small, round, ornamental dark green leaves and wiry stems. It requires little maintenance and is fast-spreading. It's also sometimes referred to as Matted Lignum.

This plant is an excellent choice as a hardy, alternative ground cover, coping well with a medium amount of foot traffic. It also works for use on slopes to help prevent soil erosion.

Because of its draping qualities, Creeping Wire Vine also looks great in hanging baskets and containers, alongside other taller plants.

Because it's so vigorous, care should be taken about where it's positioned. Although it looks good on border edges, climbing on walls, and in rock gardens, it can sprawl into other plants territory quickly. The wiry vines can also become a tripping hazard when it's planted in between flagstones.

The fast-spreading underground root system can be an advantage, however, when looking to keep weeds under control.

The bright leaves are evergreen when the temperatures are mild enough, Its flowers emerge in late spring, but they're small, green and inconspicuous. Little white edible and juicy berries also develop as the seasons move on.

Botanical Name Muehlenbeckia axillaris
Common Name Creeping Wire Vine, Sprawling Wirevine, Matted Lignum
Plant Type Prostrate evergreen shrub
Mature Size Up to 6 inches
Sun Exposure Full Sun/ Partial Shade
Soil Type Tolerates a variety, but must be well-drained
Soil pH Not particular
Bloom Time Late spring
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 5 to 9
Native Area New Zealand and Australia
Close up of Creeping Wire Vine leaves
The small leaves of the Creeping Wire Vine are a very distinctive shape weisschr / Getty Images

How to Grow Creeping Wire Vine

Providing you select the right sunny or partial shade location, once Creeping Wire Vine is established, it requires very little maintenance.

It does well in a variety of soils and even thrives in dry, rocky conditions. Once mature, your plant can cope with little irrigation.

Light

A sunny or partial shade location is what Creeping Wire Vine prefers. It can cope in areas with no shade, but just expect much slower growth.

Soil

Creeping Wire Vine isn't fussy when it comes to soil types. It copes well with dry, infertile soils and this is part of its appeal for use on rocky slopes where other plants struggle to thrive. It can help to minimize erosion in these types of areas.

It doesn't cope with standing water, and the main requirement is that the soil is well-drained.

Water

During the first growing season, Creeping Wire Vie should be kept consistently moist. This will give the roots the best chance to establish.

Once the plant is fully mature, although it prefers moist soil, it can cope with dry conditions.

Temperature and Humidity

This hardy plant can handle alpine conditions, but you should expect a much slower growth rate.

As you would expect of a plant that is native to Australia and New Zealand, Creeping Wire Vine thrives in warm conditions.

Fertilizer

In good quality soil, fertilizer will not be required. If your Creeping Wire Vine is in dry, rocky soil, it may benefit from an annual feeding in the spring, just before new growth starts.

Propagating Creeping Wire Vine

Although Matted Lignum can be grown from seed, propagating from a cutting is an easier way to establish new growth.

It doesn't require a lot of rooting hormone and new roots form with little effort. Make sure that you take a cutting from a well-established stem. Young shrubs have a flexible stem that will struggle to reroot.

Pruning

Pruning isn't a necessity, but mowing down the shrub, particularly in the spring, can help to encourage new and healthy growth.

It can also help to contain the spread if your plant is thriving in a sunny, warm position. You can mow it back at any time of the year if you feel it's getting too full.

Being Grown in Containers

Creeping Wire Vine looks great when planted at the edges of a container, allowing it to spill over the sides. It works well when it's selected alongside plants of contrasting heights and colors.

Just be aware that the sprawling root system can overtake less robust plants sitting alongside it, and it'll probably require more frequent watering when sitting in a container.

Growing From Seeds

Propagating from a cutting is usually recommended because Creeping Wire Vine isn't self-fertile. The flowers on each plant are only one sex. This means you need male and female plants to ensure successful seeding.

When planting Creeping Wire Vine, make sure you leave around half a meter of space between each plant. It spreads quickly and positioning them too close together can create overcrowding that can stunt growth.