How to Grow and Care for Creeping Wire Vine

A Fast-spreading and Tough Groundcover

Creeping wire vine with small circular leaves

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Creeping wire vine is a sprawling groundcover or prostrate subshrub with distinctive small, round, ornamental dark green leaves and wiry stems. It requires little maintenance and is fast-spreading. This plant is a tough groundcover that copes well with a medium amount of foot traffic. It also works for use on slopes to help prevent soil erosion. Its tiny, white, cup-shaped flowers emerge in late spring, turning into white berries in the summer. Plant it in the spring so it has all summer to get established.

Common Name Creeping wire vine, sprawling wirevine, matted lignum
Botanical Name Muehlenbeckia axillaris
Family Polygonaceae
Plant Type Groundcover
Mature Size 1-2 in. tall, 6-12 in. spread
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral, alkaline
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 7-10 (USDA)
Native Area Australia

Creeping Wire Vine Care

Provided 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, such as climbing on walls and in rock gardens, and can cope with little irrigation.

Creeping wine vine with small circular leaves and stems reaching upwards

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Creeping wine vine groundcover bunched in center

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Creeping wine vine groundcover with small circular leaves closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Creeping wine vine groundcover closeup of vines in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

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 do well in standing water, and the main requirement is that the soil is well-drained.

Water

During the first growing season, creeping wire vine 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. It thrives in warm conditions.

Fertilizer

In good-quality soil, fertilizer is 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.

Types of Creeping Wire Vine

There are no known cultivars of Muehlenbeckia axillaris. Other Muehlenbeckia species for landscape planting include:

  • Muehlenbeckia complexa, another trailing type with black stems and green leaves, reaching a height of 4 inches.
  • Muehlenbeckia platyclados, commonly known as the centipede plant, ribbon bush, or tapeworm plant, is a mound-forming evergreen shrub that grows 4 to 8 feet tall and wide.

Pruning

Pruning isn't a necessity, but mowing it, 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.

Propagating Creeping Wire Vine

The best way to propagate the plant is from a cutting:

  1. Take a 3- to 6-inch long cutting from a well-established stem, using a sharp knife or pruners. Young plants have a flexible stem that will struggle to reroot.
  2. Fill a 4-inch pot with soilless potting medium and water it slowly until evenly moist.
  3. Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone. Using a pencil or a stick, poke a hole in the soil and insert the cutting in it. Gently press down the soil around it.
  4. Place it in a bright location but out of direct sunlight. Water it regularly to keep the soil evenly moist at all times. After a few weeks, the cutting will root and you can transplant it in garden soil.

Growing Creeping Wire Vine From Seed

Creeping wire vine seeds are not commonly available. In order to produce seeds for collection you need male and female plants, as creeping wire vine is not self-fertile. Therefore propagation from a cutting is the recommended method.

Potting and Repotting Creeping Wire Vine

Creeping wire vine looks great in hanging baskets and 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.

Overwintering

The plant can only survive in mild winters and requires no protection when grown in garden soil. In zones at the lower end of the climate range, protect the roots from the winter cold by wrapping the container in burlap and bubble wrap, or place it inside an insulation silo for the winter.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases 

The plant is generally pest-free. However, poor drainage and wet conditions can lead to root rot.

How to Get Creeping Wire Vine to Bloom

The flowers are tiny, somewhat inconspicuous and easy to miss. If the plant isn't blooming, it might be due to too much shade, or lack of fertilizer.

Common Problems With Creeping Wire Vine

The wiry vines can also become a tripping hazard when it's planted in between flagstones.

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.

FAQ
  • Is creeping wire vine an evergreen?

    The bright leaves are evergreen in warm climates.

  • Is creeping wire vine invasive?

    Because it grows so vigorously, care should be taken about where it's positioned, as it can sprawl into other plants territory quickly. The fast-spreading underground root system can be an advantage, however, when looking to keep weeds under control.

  • Where is creeping wire vine native to?

    It is native to Australia and New Zealand.