Growing English Ivy And Removing It If You Have To
English Ivy makes a wonderful climbing vine able to cover buildings and
give that "old" look to them in a fairly short time.
Having said that, its strength in speed is matched by its strength in
invasiveness and any article extolling the virtue of this plant is
shortly met by outrage by those gardeners in warmer areas where this
plant has escaped into the wild and is busily choking out other plants.
One gardener's treasure is another gardener's bane.
But English Ivy does make an excellent vine and if that's your
interest, here's how to grow it.
Full sunlight or middling shade is good for this plant. It will take
surprisingly small amounts of sunlight and live, although it will slow
down its growth in very low light levels. If nothing else will make it
in this dark corner, try English Ivy.
Well-drained but fertile soil allows it to grow well. This plant is a
native understory plant so think woodland and woodland edging plant
with the kind of good soil there.
While it will survive being flooded in the spring, it doesn't like
winter wet or standing water in a garden setting.
It will grow in clay soils but prefers a better drained soil.
This plant clings to buildings (and almost any surface) with "suckers"
that attach themselves and support the weight of the plant. It does not
require a trellis but will use one (or anything vertical for that
matter) to climb.
English Ivy is marginally hardy as a climbing vine into USDA zone 5.
The variety 'Baltica' is hardy there in most years although it will be
burned off in a cold year. I've had 'Baltica' survive a year or two in
USDA zone 4 but as soon as it pokes its head up through the snow - or
the snow melts down and we have a deep freeze, this plant is burned to
the ground or killed.
Other varieties are more tender.
As indicated above, in warmer areas or areas where winter is cool and
damp, this plant will think it is in hog-heaven and has the potential
to become a serious weed.
Home Garden Propagation
By cuttings in the home garden. Easy - take some tender tip cuttings
and put them in a glass of water. Wait a month until roots emerge and
Layering - putting a tendril on the ground and covering the node with
soil will also work. This is how it spreads as a ground cover.
English ivy "eating" an evergreen tree
Removing Old Plants
Removing an established plant is a bit of a chore. The first step is to
kill off the root. Cut the main stems at the root. This will kill the
The problem of course is that this root is going to produce a hundred
new shoots for every one you cut. You have to either continue to cut
these off regularly and starve the root out, or, you have to dig out
You do have to either kill or totally remove this root as the smaller
roots can indeed throw new shoots all by themselves. This is a tough
plant to eradicate manually but it can be done.
Removing the old suckers from the walls is easier when the top growth
is fully dead. They can be pulled away and then a power washer will
remove most of the older suckers. You may have to scrub off some of the
more persistent ones.
Click Here For Gardening For Beginner Gardening ebook
Will this damage your house? Frankly, it depends on how good the mortar
or siding condition is and is beyond the ability of this article to
give you a good answer. Siding or mortar that is in good shape will not
be bothered other than cosmetically. Poor conditions might see some
damage. If there is a trick, it is to allow the top growth to fully die
and become brittle before trying to remove it. Experiment with smaller
areas before you really get serious about pulling off the plant.
Got a comment? Click here for my forums and Q&A on my other website
Shopping Resources for this Page
From books to hanging baskets to started plants, you'll find shopping resources for English Ivy here
Want A Stunning Garden? Click Here For Your Free Lessons