English Ivy

Hedera Helix is more commonly known as English Ivy, common ivy or simply ivy. It is native to most of Europe and western Asia, ranging from Ireland to Ukraine. Colonial settlers brought the ornamental vine to the United States with them as early as 1727.

 

What it looks like  ivy-on-wall

 

Hedera Helix is a green vine with alternating leaves. There are two types of leaves. The first type is the  five lobed juvenile that grows out of  the creeping and climbing stems. The second it the mature unlobed leaf.

 

Flowers and Fruit     

ivy-getting-tall
Ivy is getting tall, and beginning to attach to the house

 

Mature ivy plants will produce flowers in late summer and into the fall. Flowers can grow up to 2 inches and are a greenish yellow color. Birds and insects are attracted to the flowers and black to orange fruit that ripens in winter. Birds and animals like and in their native environment depend on the fruit, but it is poisonous to humans.

 

English ivy is considered invasive to a lot of the areas it has been introduced. It is not very picky when growing conditions are concerned. It may grow up to almost a 100 feet long if is able to find adequate support such as a fence or house. It shoots out aerial rootlets that from matted pads that help to stick to buildings if it is not trimmed. Also if left to it’s own devices the roots could possibly do damage to porous materials, such as a wooden fence or house.

 

Where it likes to Grow    

ivy-before-trim
Before trim

 

If the vine is kept well maintained it can be grown as a groundcover or nice low kept shrubs or hedges. With the aid of a wire frame English ivy can even be sculpted into creative topiaries.

 

Ivy prefers cool, moist dark areas and will fill any empty corner that it can. Since it is an evergreen it can withstand cold winters up -9 degrees fahrenheit. Making it a good plant for U.S. hardiness zones 6 and up. It will also grow in full sun if it can get enough water, although it may not winter very well in the sun if it gets too dry.

 

A Caution 

ivy-after-trim
After trim

 

English ivy is a wonderful ornamental evergreen that can bring color to your yard all year around. It is however, important to keep it under control so that it does not take over your home and yard. Many areas consider it invasive for just this reason. It can cause hundreds of dollars of damage to your home in a single season if it is not trimmed or sculpted properly. I love nostalgic pictures of ivy covered houses but would not want it on my home or in my trees.
Give 2 J’s a call if your ivy or other plants have started taking over.

 

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