A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants
Virgin’s Bower, Traveller’s Joy, Old Man’s Beard
Sun to shade; moderately wet to medium moisture level; prefers rich soil but will grow on coarse sands and gravels to fine silt loams, heavy silts, silty clay loams, stiff clays and peats; prefers slightly acid to neutral pH but tolerates alkaline pH.
12-20 feet height; blooms mid-summer into fall; small, fragrant, showy white flowers in many clusters.
Growth Rate: Very fast, up to 20 feet in a year.
Maintenance: Occasional disease problems including powdery mildew and leaf blight. Infrequent insect problems. To encourage bushiness, prune stems in the spring to within a few feet of the ground. Needs an adequate supply of nutrients during the growing season to support the rush of growth.
Propagation: Seed germination code C(30), M
Native Region: Statewide
Handsome vine for native situations. Easy to grow. A long, silvery, feathery plume attaches to each seed, and the decorative appearance inspired the name Old Man’s Beard. Leafstalks twine around anything they touch. With support, it will climb rapidly to 20 feet. Without support, it will sprawl along the ground as a dense, tangled groundcover. Native to low, moist woods; thickets; and stream banks. Can spread somewhat aggressively by self-seeding and suckering. Leaves are poisonous to humans. Attracts hummingbirds and bees.