Growing Boston Ivy Successfully With Suggested Varieties
Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata
)is a rapid growing vine
that attaches itself to surfaces by twining and small tendrils.
These tendrils can hold against any rough surface such as brick or
The young tendrils also have adhesive disks for further support.
A cautionary note has to be put at the front of any article about this
vine because as it grows, these small tendrils are extremely invasive.
They will find themselves in any available crack in the wall. Once
finding a crack (around windows or at the joint of eaves) they will
insert a tendril to attach themselves to this crack. The tendril will
in a relatively short time thicken and firmly seat itself. This
thickening over time can expand cracks in mortar as well enlarge
existing cracks around windows.
Ivy working at covering this old wall
Hardy to USDA zone 5 it will quickly cover a wall in almost any
It does not appreciate a full hot sun but does much better in
a slightly more protected and part shade location.
I note that it is
not reliably hardy in zone 4 as it will winterburn in 1 year out of 3.
This usually leaves the plant dead to the ground but with the dead
vines still attached to the building and ugly. Look for the variety
'Robusta' as it is one of the hardiest varieties.
Boston ivy can be propagated from seed but tender tip cuttings root
easily in the spring (in a glass of water in the home garden) and as
many as the gardener desires can easily and quickly be rooted.
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This native to China and Japan comes in a variety of leaf sizes and
'Robusta' a dark green, vigorous and the hardiest variety.
'Atropurpurea' is a vigorous grower with purplish-red leaves in early
spring - turning green for the main season and again turning a reddish
tone in the fall.
'Aurata' has leaves that are almost yellow with green and red tones.
'Beverly Brook' has small leaves with a red tone in the fall.
'Green Spring' has a red tinge to the early leaf and a shiny green
leaf for the main growing season.
'Veitchii' has a blistered red variegation when the leaf is young but
Boston Ivy is one of those interesting vines that can be easily grown
if the building is in good repair and some simple spring maintenance to
remove tendrils from around windows and roof eaves is done.
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Sources for Boston Ivy - I suggest you start with plants rather than seeds
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