Maidenhair vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa) care and propagation


Maidenhair vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa) belongs to the family Polygonaceae and is an exuberant grower, covering a farm or fence quickly and very effectively.  This versatile plant is native to New Zealand and Australia (1). This plant is thus often used for support. Maidenhair vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa) care and propagation are as follows.

This plant is very graceful and is fast fast-growing evergreen climber or creeper. It is a small-leaved, divaricating shrub with a wiry and thin stem resembling the maidenhair fern thus getting its name from this plant. This plant is a very easy-growing plant and works very well as a ground cover that is why this plant is also known as mattress vine. Not only this the plant can trail and climb making it ideal for hanging baskets and trellises suitable for both indoor and outdoor environments and giving an airy look to any planter.

Common name

The common name of Muehlenbeckia complexa are

Maidenhair Vine

Angel vine

Mattress vine

Wiggy bush

Wire vine

Botanical description

The plant Maidenhair vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa)  is a deciduous climbing evergreen trailing vine. It can reach a height of 3 to 6 feet (1 to 2 meters) and spread even further due to its trailing nature.


The stem looks like wire and is thin and creepy with a flexible structure and thus also known as vine wire. It is slender, creeps or twines over the plant or rocks or it can clime upon itself without support thus forming a thick and dense prostrate mass. The color is typically reddish brown to dark.


The leaves are round and small bright green and slightly glossy in color. Petiole and variable in shape and size. They are maybe lobed or the entire margin. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stem thus giving a glossy appearance adding  an elegant and feathery appearance


Small cream-colored and scented emerge from the leaf axils and the tips of the branchlets (2). They typically appear in the late spring to early summer.


The plant Maidenhair vine produces small and rounded fruits that contain seeds. These fruits turn purple to black in color when ripe.


Native to New Zealand and some parts of Australia. Thrives well in forests, shrublands, and coastal areas. the plant is suitable for hanging baskets and covering the ground and climbing vines.

Maidenhair vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa) care

1. Water

requires a good amount of water. As the leaves of these plants started to fall off due to scarcity of water. Therefore they start falling it is important to rehydrate them again.

2. Light

This vine prefers bright light but can tolerate moderate light and grow well.

3. Flower

Flowering occurs only under good bright light.

Maidenhair vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa) proagation

Various methods of propagation include seeds, stem cutting, and layering.


Another mode of propagation is through seeds. Mostly sown during the growing season in well-drained moist soil. The steps to select the best seeds and how to sow is as follows

  • Seed Collection:
    • Collect mature seeds from the maidenhair vine plant when the seed pods have turned dark.
  • Seed Preparation:
    • Clean and prepare the seeds by removing any debris or pulp.
  • Sowing Seeds:
    • Sow the seeds in a seed tray or small pots filled with a well-draining seed-starting mix.
  • Cover and Water:
    • Cover the seeds lightly with soil and mist the surface. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Germination:
    • Germination usually occurs within a few weeks.
  • Transplanting:
    • Transplant the seedlings into larger pots once they have grown a few inches tall and have several leaves.


Propagates mainly via root tip cutting in a moist potting media. As the leaves are very thin in texture, therefore, may be dehydrated soon therefore it is preferred to cover the cutting with plastic or glass in order to keep the humidity (3). Cuttings, preferably taken in spring or early summer, can be rooted in water or directly in the soil with the aid of rooting hormone.

Steps to Select Healthy Stem

  • Make sure before selecting the stem, that it should be mature and healthy and is free from any disease or pests.
  • The cutting should be 4-6 inches 10-15 cm minimum and should be just below the nodes with attached leaves.
  • Remove the lower leaves and leave the top leaves.

Steps to develop roots and choosing potting mixture

  • Deep the plant in water has rooting hormones for good development of roots.
  • For potting use well drained potting mixture with pearl lite and peat moss.

Care after potting


water thoroughly and cover with a plastic preferably transparent to maintain humidity and light.


Keep the plant under bright indirect light

Avoid direct light as it may cause shock and also keep away from low light as it may cause rotting or fungal infection to the newly cut stem.


The rooting starts about one week after potting . once the roots are established can transfer the cutting into bigger pots. and can remove the polythene.


    • Select a Healthy Stem:
      • Choose a healthy, low-growing stem and strip the leaves from a small section.
    • Bury the Stem:
      • Bury the stripped section of the stem in a pot filled with soil, leaving the tip exposed.
    • Secure the Stem:
      • Secure the stem in place with a U-shaped pin or wire.
    • Rooting Time:
      • Roots will start growing from the buried stem section over a few weeks to months.
    • Separate and Transplant:
      • Once roots are well-developed, carefully separate the rooted section from the main plant and transplant it into its own pot.

Maidenhair vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa) care

1. Water

  • Requires a good amount of water. As the leaves of these plants started to fall off due to scarcity of water. Therefore they start falling it is important to rehydrate them again.
  • But also note that overwatering is not good and keep on adjusting the watering frequency and quantity based on the humidity.

2. Light

This vine prefers bright light but can tolerate moderate light and grow well.

But avoid direct scorching sunlight during the middle of the day.

3. Humidity

As mentioned earlier, maintaining the humidity is very important for the proper growth of this plant. To maintain humidity please place the plant above a tray of water and can also use a humidifier or spray almost daily during the warm season.

4. Temperature

The plant needs a moderate temperature between 60-75°F (15-24°C). Avoid extreme cold and warm temperatures.

4. Soil

As mentioned earlier the plant Maidenhair vine needs good aerated soil rich in organic mixture and adding perlite and sand will be good for proper drainage and good growth.

5. Fertilization

Fertilization during the growing season (spring and summer) is most appropriate.

Trim the plant regularly as it encourages branching and more bushier growth. Remove the yellow and dry leaves to maintain a tidy look.

6. Pest and Diseases

  • Inspect the plant regularly for pests such as spider mites or aphids.
  • Treat any infestations promptly using insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Ensure good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.

7. Repotting

  • Repot the maidenhair vine when it outgrows its current container or every 1-2 years.
  • Choose a slightly larger pot with adequate drainage holes and fresh, well-draining soil.

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