Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: English Ivy, Common Ivy
Hedera helix

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Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Hedera (HED-er-uh) (Info)
Species: helix (HEE-licks) (Info)

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

39 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Vines and Climbers

Height:
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

Spacing:
3-6 in. (7-15 cm)
6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter

Foliage:
Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 45 photos.
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Profile:

18 positives
6 neutrals
26 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative Rickwebb On Jan 20, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is pretty as a houseplant or keeping it with annuals in a pot and it makes a good groundcover if there is nothing to climb upon, but it is so rampant growing and easily gets under siding on houses and into other spots where it does not belong. It was not such a monster back in zone 5 and north in the Midwest. In the Mid-Atlantic region in zone 6 and south, it reverts to the parent form and the leaves change shape to more spearhead-like rather than maple-like and it bears black fruit. The birds then seed it into woods and around and it climbs way up to the tops of trees. It is an European invasive weed in the USA. I posted some photos of the trouble it causes.

Negative foxhead128 On Aug 28, 2013, foxhead128 from New York, NY wrote:

I have quickly grown a dislike for this plant, but for different reasons than most people here seem to. Many of the problems people seem to be having pertain to growing the plant outdoors. In my case, I bought a potted English ivy recently, and already, it is beginning to collapse from what appears to be a spider mite infestation. I've had spider mites before, but this onset was quite sudden and escalated more quickly than I am used to. I'm currently wiping down the leaves with neem oil, but the plant looks terrible now, and I think it's beyond saving at this point. So while English ivy may do very well outdoors, it certainly hasn't given me a favorable first impression as an indoor houseplant.

Negative dbuckets On Apr 10, 2011, dbuckets from Beaverton, OR wrote:

This will not necessarily hold your hillside unless allowed to turn into it's mature reproductive bush form (and kharma will get all who do this). I saw a huge patch of Ivy, taking with it the top foot of soil, slide off a hillside into the street a few years back...expensive bill for them!

Get the bush killer (not glyphosphate) and add a "sticker" to keep it from running off the waxy leaves. They sell them relatively cheap, or even a cheap dishsoap will work (don't use petroleum products please). Catch them in Spring when growing fast, weed whack it first to help it further, and nail at least 90% of this stuff. Pull up those seedlings at first sight. Note, this will kill any "dicots" you spray (like Morning Glory & Blackberries). These are good and bad plants that emerge from seeds w 2 embryonic leaves. It won't kill grasses and other monocots, and it won't destroy your soil, though the ivy, if left for a few years turns our soil to clay brick per the lack of bio-diversity. Compost will bring it back. My best advice is to plant natives in it's place, maybe those that can handle a little longer warmer and shorter colder climates because change is coming faster than Mother Nature will be able to adapt. There are decorative fruiting natives and responsible groundcovers, but if you need something "new" just read up on what you get.
P.S. There are some great annual Morning Glories!

Positive RxAngel On May 21, 2010, RxAngel from Stratford, TX (Zone 6b) wrote:

Seems to stay in its place in this area (extreme SW Kansas)...we moved to this old farmhouse in Feb. 2009, and found it planted on the north side of the detached garage, and other than growing into the garage through some of the old boards, it seems to stay put.

Of course, our climate, I'm sure, is what keeps it in check. I'm going to try growing some inside in a pot. It turned this gorgeous, dark, shiny green on the parts that were in the almost complete darkness of the garage (from a light, almost variegated coloring on the outside parts), so I'm thinking it will be a good plant to keep upstairs in the bedroom, which gets zero sun, but I want a plant in there, so I may have found the perfect plant for that situation! I'll post again...this may be great for darker apartments and dorm rooms and the like.

The outside leaves range from almost variegated, to light green, to the dark mature leaves, but the veins are very visible in all the leaves, turning almost white in the dark mature leaves (except the dark green in the darkness of the garage - those are entirely a dark hunter green), and make a good ground-cover...but also a good hiding place for six-foot long bull snakes (as seen by my sweetie just today) and rodents.

The plus side to having it where it is, is the low maintenence. I have never done anything to this area, and it seems to take care of itself. I don't trim it back, I don't water it, I don't fertilize it, and I don't cover it during the winter. It is too shady for grass to grow, and nothing much else seems to want to grow there, so it is nice to have something besides gravely, sandy dirt.

I'm not going to take the chance and move it anywhere else on the property , because I don't want it to take over, especially since we already have a hard enough time with other invasive plants in this part of Kansas. I have caught our goats eating it, and they certainly don't seem to be any worse for wear...ie, it doesn't seem toxic to them.

But given our extreme climate, the northern exposure, the complete shade, and the extreme neglect, and the fact that the ivy survives quite easily regardless, I can see where this plant would easily become invasive, so please plant with care and much forethought to where it, and you, will be in 10 years.

Positive marinda On Apr 11, 2010, marinda from Cambridge, MA wrote:

For someone in my situation, a city gardener in the northeastern U.S. with dry maple shade and poor soil, nothing is better than ivy. It does spread, so perhaps it is Hedera Hibernium, but I bought it as Hedera helix. It does take some work to keep it off the walls of the house; the trick is not to let it get out of hand rather than letting it do its thing and then trying to undo it. Mockingbirds and robins love the berries.

Negative cellistry On Aug 14, 2009, cellistry from Portland, OR wrote:

We inherited English ivy with our yard; it currently covers about half of our yard on three sides of our property. It's a huge task just to keep it from spreading like wildfire. The old vines are incredibly thick and the tangled mess is a pain to cut and try to pull out. It's NOT a good soil stabilizer as it only roots when there is loose, moist soil. If you start to cut it back, it just grows back faster than ever. If you want to plant it, just plan on never having anything else growing in a 10 foot radius of the ivy within a few years.

Negative anelson77 On May 16, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

This is an invasive exotic which is killing trees in our woods and should not be planted. It tolerates almost any condition. It is, however, not as hard as some invasives to remove and control. An annual mowing and yearly removal from shrubs trees and vertical surfaces will keep it in bounds. Provided you keep it from fruiting and dont let it grow on trees, i see no reason why it all has to be removed right now.

Negative Wulfsden On Apr 26, 2009, Wulfsden from Riverdale, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:

Neighbor planted and did not control. At first, I did not notice it invading my hedges. Then war was declared. Now the hedges are gone, but the ivy remains. Drop back into space and nuke it. It's the only way to be sure!!

Ed

Positive mjolner88 On Oct 17, 2008, mjolner88 from Bellingham, WA wrote:

There are enough cultivars of Hedera helix to please everyone. I must say however, that none of them grow fast enough to cause problems unless you are in a coma. The user "Shadyfolks" is correct, in that most of you might be dealing withHedera hibernica.

Hedera helix can be a problem, but only if it has been growing for 10-20 years, and YOU move in on ITS territory, by encountering it in a deep forest, or buying property where it is already established...and by "problem" I mean, "you are angry that it is living", NOT that it is being invasive. Sure it's hard to "dig up", but then again, isn't ANY shrub that's been growing for 10-20 years?

95% of ivies grow SLOWLY. Hedera hibernica and Hedera canariensis grow at a MODERATE rate. STILL...even THEY don't cause problems until they have been established for YEARS.

Try to think of old-growth ivy as if it were a 40 year old oak tree laying on its side...of course it's going to be hard to pull up. What did you expect?

Positive JamesPark On Aug 16, 2008, JamesPark from Auckland
New Zealand (Zone 9a) wrote:

Here in its native habitat, Ivy is a valuable plant. It provides butterflies and bees plenty of nectar, the berries are eaten by birds in the winter months and it provides an evergreen retreat for hundreds of animals. It is nowhere near as bad as the Virginia Creeper. It's not exactly hard to kill ivy, simply sever the vine from its roots and it should die within weeks. Ivy is the sort of plant that needs constant attention, or else it can quickly speed out of control.

Negative Malus2006 On Apr 2, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I have tried this species two time in my yard in the past - before I had more knowledges of plants there were some fuzzy references that said they were zone 4 hardy but they never survived the winter so I will keep it at zone 5 hardy.

Neutral DMersh On Mar 1, 2008, DMersh from Perth
United Kingdom (Zone 7b) wrote:

Ivy doesn't seem to like Yew trees, in a wood where most other trees were thickly grown with ivy there were numerous very old Yews that were all completely free of it, maybe it prefers hardwood trees?

Neutral gallowaydude On Jan 13, 2008, gallowaydude from North Little Rock, AR wrote:

It is a beautiful plant and a crawler. I have it growing up one side of my house, but I was unaware of the destruction until I found it had "eaten" thru the woodwork and was also growing in my attic! It must be kept under control.
I had thought it was poisoness, but see comments that goats eat it. Is it safe for cattle to graze on?

Negative pupilpropogtr On Oct 16, 2007, pupilpropogtr from Birmingham, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

Living in Alabama, we are faced with kudzu, trumpet vine, saw briar and ivy. The only one I don't have in my yard is kudzu (crossing fingers it will stay away). We just moved in at the end of May 2007. The ivy is my nightmare. The previous owners failed to control it and it is everywhere in what could be a beautiful back yard. I had some spider lilies pop up, so I went to investigate the area further. I found more spider lilies, which was great, but the cannot bloom. The ivy has become so thick, it is covering the bulbs. I dug down 8" and found runners underground. I have to pull it off my house almost every day. It glues itself to brick and can destroy a home. I feel sorry for the people who have it covering their house. When I first pulled it off, large chunks of mortar fell out. As a contractor, I have seen it crawl into roof systems and damage the framing. It is THAT STRONG.

I could have a beautiful back yard, but instead, I will spend the next several years fight this monster. Two 50' pine trees are dead from it and several oaks are on their way. I want to cry everytime I go in my back yard. Please, Please do not get this if you live in Alabama. It not only affects your house, but your neighbor's and their neighbor's, etc. There are plenty of other options out there. Don't go with this one. It may look pretty at first, but if you lose the least bit of control over it, you will have a nightmare on your hands.

Positive Opoetree On Aug 10, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

We enjoy the ivy even though it does have to be removed from trees when it gets going too much. It provides our hillsides with needed root structure and the variegated variety is so lovely. If we didn't have any ivy, our yard would look pretty desolate. We live in an area where there is a lot of poison oak...I definitely prefer the ivy!

Negative tropicsofohio On Apr 26, 2007, tropicsofohio from Hilliard, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

i see this monster every tome i go to my grandmother's house. they have taken over many acres of heavily wooded area. THEY SWEEP AND KILL!!! and once they take over,they look UGLY! IMPOSIBLE TO KILL. they are even taking over her yard

Negative 123456789 On Apr 21, 2007, 123456789 from Winston, OR wrote:

this plant is a true dr. jeckle and mr. hyde in the northwest. if it stays on the ground it's not offensive; but if it reaches a tree it will scamper up and smother it like a strangler fig, and set fruits like crazy to sprad the pathogen. if your live in the northwest DO NOT even think about planting this!!!

Positive grundlecat On Mar 20, 2007, grundlecat from Prescott Valley, AZ (Zone 7b) wrote:

When I moved in to my current home five years ago, one of the juniper shrubs had ivy growing around the base and some up the shrub itself. It does grow back quite promptly when pulled out, but I haven't noticed that it spread at all. It's pretty much covering the same area it was five years ago. Likely in a friendlier environment it could get out of control, but in my semi-arid garden it simply maintains itself. Very little else will grow there (especially since the cats like to mark it). I really like it.

Positive Veramarie On Nov 7, 2006, Veramarie from Jamestown, IN wrote:

We inherited some English Ivy when we purchased our house. I won't argue that in some (maybe many) places it could be very invasive. But in the location it's planted here, I wouldn't call it anything more than "healthy" and "lush."

Ours is planted in a shady area under some maples, in Indiana's standard poor, heavy clay soil. It grows at a slow to moderate rate without any amendments to the soil. In fact, I suspect that less than favorable conditions may be the key to keeping it under control--too much sun or soil that is too rich might very well make it grow rampant. As it is, I have cut back maybe a foot's worth of growth into the surrounding lawn just recently, the first time in the six years we've lived here.

Negative palmbob On Oct 1, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Decided to look up multiple online sources re: Hedera helix and Hedera hibernico... turns out BOTH are considered highly toxic and invasive by just about every single website that discusses them, though admittedly the latter was NEVER discussed in a positive light, while some waxed on about the beauties of potted ivies (H helix). Anyway, my own personal experience with this beast is similar to everyone elses- once you grow it, you have it forever. I purposely planted about 5-6 different 'weird' cultivars of this plant, from the crinkled leaf form to about 4 different varieties of variegated, and regretted them all (I was new to plants and gardening back then). And though I didn't find it nearly as annoying as morning glory, nor as irritating (in an allergic sense), it was still very hard to manage. Websites have gone on and on about how to kill this stuff, but I didn't find Roundup all that useful (nor on morning glory, either). Not only does it root into the ground every few inches the trailing roots spread as they speed along the ground, but they also root right into wood, brick, concrete, etc., with the most incredibly sturdy and effecient root 'hair' structures I have ever seen. I found in fascinating in a morbid sense. In my new garden I have some nice cultivars in pots, and do find them attractive and interesting... but I keep them far away from the actual soil.

Positive kankan On Aug 23, 2006, kankan from Eldorado, IL wrote:

I have a very brown thumb. My mother's home has some ivy growing in, around, on, up and down a brick wall which secludes the patio from people walking by, and I brought some cuttings home to see what would happen if I stuck them in the ground. Needless to say, it was a total success!! I sit out there in the evenings and marvel over my profound luck in finally finding something that will grow for me!! LOL

I LOVE MY IVY, and since I'm a senior citizen, I'll leave it for the younger generation to hack it away once I'm gone.

I do have a few questions filtering through my mind after reading all these comments though.....wondering if I dare to peek under those leaves....I'd solve the mystery of our trusty, 17 year old pet dog who has been missing since the advance of the Hedera helix. Max did sooo love napping on its leaves in the shade....

Negative eurokitty On Jun 9, 2006, eurokitty from Seattle, WA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I love the look of this ivy, but it's a nightmare. Our whole front yard is on a slope and covered in very dense, thick bed of ivy. It is wound all around our trees, and is slowly killing them. A large bush that used to flower doesn't anymore -- it's being killed by the ivy. We trim it, we've tried to eliminate the ivy off the trees to save them but it just comes back. The worst part, though, is that we learned that we had RATS living under our ivy. Everytime we do a major trim, what happened? Suddenly the rats freak, scurry out of the ivy and INTO OUR HOUSE. We've had three separate rat professionals confirm this. Now we're also finding that it's creeping under the exterior boards of our house.

We hate the idea of taking out the ivy (my husband loves the look) but this winter, we will probably have to take it out.

Negative sterhill On May 24, 2006, sterhill from Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Ivy can be removed.

I've been pulling and cutting a backyard with 35 years of ivy growth. You weedeater down to the bare vines and cut and pull. Then you keep an eye out for any brilliant green pop-ups and pull them. It works. It is a tedious job but it does work. I have a friend with a magnificent woodland garden and her yard was full of old ivy. I was so inspired by her garden - and knowing that it could be done - I am now making my own beautiful woodland garden!

I've found that it pulls more easily in the winter - the ground is softer. At least here in Atlanta it is.

Negative TonyMI On May 23, 2006, TonyMI from Dearborn Heights, MI wrote:

I bought a house with "some" English Ivy. I soon realized that it was spreading rapidly. I've been cutting it back for 3 1/2 years and I've made good progress localizing it. But it's too much work to keep it contained, I'm going to keep attacking hit and maybe someday, I will be able to eliminate it.

Negative Larry1940 On Mar 20, 2006, Larry1940 from Portland, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

The State of Oregon Department of Agriculture lists this plant as a noxious weed, and may yet ban it. However the damage has been done to many areas of western Oregon. Highly invasive it slowly will kill most trees by covering them completely, its almost as bad as Kudzu.

Positive dodgedame On Sep 21, 2005, dodgedame from Columbia City, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:

I love this wonderful invasive plant. This stuff will grow anywhere!

Positive Kwanzon On Jul 7, 2005, Kwanzon from Milford, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

i got a cutting of and english ivy this year and i also bought a varigated ivy at a store. The cutting grew much better and more bushy. i am growing it in a pot because they tend to be as annoying as morning glories "invasive". Mine are growing very good and i haven't had any problems with bugs or other pests.

Positive Shadyfolks On Dec 9, 2004, Shadyfolks from Chesterland, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Hi everyone,
Some folks are confused about Hedera helix 'English ivy' being an invasive weed. I recently joined the American Ivy Society this year and just recently received a very informative booklet on this very topic. I need to see where I put it and find out if I need permission to post some of the information from it. People are getting Hedera helix and another typeof Hedera mixed up. True Hedera helix is not invasive.

Anyway, we have 2 1/2 acres and I would have to say about 3/4 of an acre is covered in ivy. It grows right up to some of our beds. Instead of cutting it and trimming it (which just promotes new growth) I pull it up and fold it back over the ivy so that it continues to grow where I want it and it is thick and lush. I call this 'training the ivy'. This is a great time of year to do it, because if you have to pull up a lot when you fold it back it will be bulky and not very attractive. The snow over the winter will settle it down and in the spring and summer you will have a nice rolled edge of Ivy. Now that I have done this for a couple of years-maintence is easy. I just go around the edges and turn the runners back toward the ivy and tuck the runners into the bed of ivy.
Give it a try!
S

2/5/05 UPDATE
I apoligized for taking so long in responding to this post, but here is the information I was referring to. I contacted Sabina Mueller Sulgrove, PhD and she gave me permission to use the following, which was taken (in part) from the Ivy Journal, Fall 2004 page 5. (This journal is 85 pages, she is referring to information that is talked about in this journal)

"Is Ivy Invasive? What's Known about Ivy.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE CHARACTERISTICS AND BEHAVIOR OF IVY, A REVIEW OFTHE IVY LITERATURE, AND A DISCUSSION OF WHETHER IVY IS INVASIVE
By Sabina Mueller Sulgrove, PhD
Taxonomist, American Ivy Society
American Ivy Society Director of Research and Registrar, 1977-2003 (AIS 2003)
Author's Note: A great deal of in correct information about ivies is circulating on the Internet and in compendiums of invasive plants. Although there is a wealth of literature available on invasive species in general, both published and on the Web, the literature reviewed here will be applicable to, or refer to ivies.
In these ivy articles a great deal of confusion has been created over which kind or cultivar of ivy is being discussed. The nomenclatural confusion comes about because the common name for Hedera helix is "English ivy:' and this same name is used in the commercial trade for the widely used ground cover Hedera hibernico 'Hibernica', also known in the horticultural community as "Irish ivy."
The problem ivy on the US West Coast actually is Hedera hibernico 'Hibernica', which is sold as a ground cover under the name "English Ivy." This cultivar, 'Hibernica', is unrelated to the species Hedera helix that has roughly 500 cultivars, mostly grown as pot plants. Because of the incorrect use of the names in legislative proposals to ban English ivy as a "noxious weed:' Hedera helix and all its cultivars are being banned, rather than the cultivar, 'Hibernica', which is the problem in some parts of the country."


I only joined the Ivy Society in 2004 and I feel I have learned so much. membership is $20 and you receive a Ivy plant each year. check it out at: ivy.org

I hope this information helps clear up some of the confusion.
S

Negative Equilibrium On Dec 8, 2004, Equilibrium wrote:

This plant epitomizes the term exotic invasive for me here in the Midwest.

I was so attracted to this plant based on all the advertising and rave reviews that I bought about 100 plugs. Those hundred plugs took off is about all I can say. They made a run for my front yard and in doing so, actually heaved my concrete walkways... several sections of which had to be replaced so that people didn't trip.

It has taken me two years to get rid of 90% of this "thing". Some of the vines were as thick as my wrist and we had to attach them to the riding lawn mower to try to yank them out after a few good rains.

There are entire websites out there devoted exclusively to eradicating this "thing". The Ivy Removal Project site comes to mind.

Many cultivars of this "thing" are available too so be on the lookout if you aren't interested in unknowingly planting an invasive.

Positive CatskillKarma On Jul 18, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

My neighbor parked his junked cars on the property line. I retaliated with English ivy. They are much improved with a green covering. Grows inside and outside the cars vigously :)

Negative bazzoni On Jul 17, 2004, bazzoni from Morganville, NJ wrote:

We could use this plant for warfare. I will appreciate any tips on how to get rid of it. Kills everything in it's path including 50' tall trees. Even grows through concrete. What with the acid rain situation, even marble is crumbling. I found burried roots ~10" in diameter on my property. I am reluctant to use Round-Up because it kills the grasses too. I did hear of a product called Garlon or Grazon, [(3,5,6,-trichloro-2-pyridinyl)oxy], an acetic acid, but know little about it. Again, any tips to get rid of this stuff will be appreciated. Ironically, it is still being sold in New Jersey for up to $20. a flat. Go figure. English Ivy out of control in NJ. Please help if you can. Regards, Jane

Positive Wingnut On Jun 16, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

It must be our heat or dryness here in Central Texas that keeps this in check. I haven't found it invasive at all. I planted some seven years ago and it's just now spread past ten feet from the original planting. It did grow up andaround a large post it was planted under, but as far as horizontal spread I find it slow.

I love the green color and evergreen quality. In deep winter, it's nice to see SOMETHING green outside besides scrub cedar.

Positive Larabee On Jun 2, 2004, Larabee from Houston, TX wrote:

If you're like me and cannot resist the classic beauty of this plant and the attractively low maintanence, just use it as a container plant. It even does well indoors. Please don't plant it in the ground (or let it seed), or it's just a matter of time before your neighbors hate you (see others' comments). I LOVE English Ivy and have 5 pots/containers/baskets of it on my patio, in my house, in my office... and they are all thriving AND staying put!

Negative henryr10 On May 30, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I'm sure you've all heard this caution.

The first year it weeps,
the second year it creeps,
the third year it leaps!

This is first attributed to a botanist speaking about Hedra helix.

Be VERY careful w/ it.
Dry Maple shade or an island bed are the only places we allow it.
It took 3 years to get it under control in our garden.
A shrub herbicide is the only thing I know that will seriously touch it.

That said:
If you do have a safe spot for growing, it can get a little dull and ratty looking come mid Summer.
We've found weed whipping or mowing it, almost to the ground, causes a new flush of smaller nice bright leaves in a week or so.
Really perks up the appearance of the bed.



Negative DaveH On May 13, 2004, DaveH from San Francisco, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Along with the many other negative qualities noted by others here, this evil plant smothers native plants and can turn huge areas into ivy-deserts.

Ivy's main qualities that people (mostly non-gardeners, I would guess) like is that it is attractve year round and low maintenance. As an alternative, I would suggest wild ginger (asarum caudatum), Canadian wild ginger (asarum canadense), or European wild ginger (asarum europaeum). Asarum makes an excellent groundcover in shade to part shade locations with ample moisture. It's low-maintenance, and its glossy leaves are attractive year round.

Negative ZaksGarden On May 5, 2004, ZaksGarden from Winston Salem, NC wrote:

Absolutely the worst plant I think I have ever had the experience of coming in contact with. This thing is so invasive that in the past 7 years it had taken over 4 yards including my own. We have finally gotten it out of my yard, the yard infront of us, behind, and to the right of us. But the on the left the people are in love with it, I hop over the fence and spray it with all kinds of round up but ANY BIT OF ROOT LEFT IN THE GROUND will regrow. If I ever get rid of it I will let you all know!

Neutral hotlanta On Mar 14, 2004, hotlanta from Lilburn, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This ivy can be invasive! It was here when we bought the house, and was growing up the brick walls. It gets into the trees, wraps itself around shrubs and plants. But it is an excellent groundcover for hills and banks. It stays green all year long, providing interest during the winter months.

Positive cri On Feb 2, 2004, cri wrote:

Did you know that english ivy can make a good bonsai? And a fast grower also..

Negative BethallynB On Nov 26, 2003, BethallynB from Walnut Creek, CA wrote:

This invasive exotic is almost impossible to erradicate once established. Vermin habitat and allergenic, it has no place in most residential gardens. Only good side is the goats will eat it.

Negative wnstarr On Nov 23, 2003, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Ivy is now banned in Oregon and several other states are considering it too as a pesky invasive non-native. My neighbor has it as a ground cover. It has spread to the woods behind and now covers almost 2 acres. I keep battling it from spreading into my yard. If you must plant it, do so in an above ground container and never, never let it mature to produce seed as the birds will spread it.

Neutral coochic2000 On Nov 23, 2003, coochic2000 from Chicago, IL wrote:

I bought mine, and it acts like just a normal plant. I don't think it will be invasive, because I still have it in the pot.

Negative dogbane On Nov 11, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

In the deep South, this plant is susceptible to fungal rot, especially in periods of heavy rain. Not dependable for the coastal region of the Gulf of Mexico.

Negative vagardener On Sep 5, 2003, vagardener from Springfield, VA wrote:

This plant is very invasive and almost impossible to eradicate. My neighbor makes no attempt to control the ivy in his garden and it is a constant struggle to keep it from taking over my flower beds.

Neutral broozersnooze On Sep 5, 2003, broozersnooze from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Ooh! I didn't know this plant would do all this stuff. In my present home almost 28 years now & have had some growing at the back of my lot amongst oak trees & privacy fence panels. It only has slight growth on the tree trunks & hasn't threatened to take over or invade my privacy fence. I do not doubt the validity of the notes shared here - especially the pictures which speak for themselves. This plant HAS established some ground cover & a few runners on my above ground pool panels. I'd always found it attractive growing wild with the ferns & I even purchased some variagated ivy to add to my hanging basket collection. Having learned all this today I will definitely be keeping a close eye on this stuff & will immediately remove any growth from my pool panels.

Positive Toxicodendron On Sep 4, 2003, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I love the way English Ivy looks, and it is a good thing, because I have about an acre of it now. It has been a wonderful addition to my landscape, which is mostly shady woods, with poor rocky soils that are wet all winter and dry all summer. The ivy is the only plant that stands up to our climate without looking bad. I have to clip the edges twice a year, but that is easier than mowing. No watering, no spraying, very little weeding (once a year), no fertilizing, no raking. The tree leaves that fall into the ivy are allowed to decompose and that is all the sustenance this plant needs. It is impossible to dig out, so be careful where you put it. It also takes over practically any plants you try to grow in it unless you train it away (don't prune it away, that will just make many more growing shoots). But it sure is lovely and evergreen, so I am giving it a positive rating.

Negative Bug_Girl On Mar 27, 2003, Bug_Girl from San Francisco, CA wrote:

Once it has deep roots set in it is impossible to eliminate. We had some of this that came as weed around a fence and shed. The roots go in between the broads of the fence slowly ripping the fence apart. Then the roots grow to a huge size becoming a solid mass, that is rock hard. You can hack away at it with a pick axe and not make any progress. The only way to get it out would be a steam shovel.

It produces horrible smelly dark purple berries, and it collects dust. I am allergic to it. Trying to cut it back, made me feel like I could not breathe. If you call up a gardening service and ask them to remove it, they will not even return your call. The solution was to move to another house. The ivy won.

Negative Pitch On Mar 1, 2003, Pitch from Port Washington, NY wrote:

English Ivy is an extremely invasive plant and will spread very quickly if not prudently maintained. It is considered a noxious in many states, and in at least 20 states that I know of it is not allowed to be introduced is trying to be eradicated.

The mature form of English Ivy produces flowers and berrys, which look much like European Holly (another invasive species). Its fruit is poisonous to most animals, except for certain invasive birds (such as English Sparrow). English Ivy also serves as a hiding and breeding grond for rats and other vermin.

Once introduced it is hard to get rid, except with many hours or years of hardwork sawing the huge vines off trees and pulling its roots from ground. It is resistant to most herbicides because of its waxy leaves.

Positive philomel On Dec 20, 2002, philomel from Castelnau RB Pyrenes
France (Zone 8a) wrote:

The flowers and fruit are very attractive to wildlife and both come at a time of year when other food is scarce (autumn and winter/early spring respectively).

Ivy grows in two phases - the juvenile stage is self clinging and climbs any obstacle. It has palmate leaves.
The mature stage (arboreal) grows as a shrub without clinging and has simple leaves. It is this phase that bears the flowers and fruit. Cuttings can be taken from the arboreal stage which will not climb, but remain as a shrub and flower. "Baa's" picture illustrates this mature stage really well, with the simple leaves and balls of flowers.

Many birds, small mammals and insects also find ideal nooks and crannies to nest in amongst its exuberant growth.

Positive haighr On Aug 8, 2002, haighr from Laurel, DE (Zone 7a) wrote:

Just a few foot long cuttings from this have completely covered the bank off my garage which is 18 ft. deep and about 50' long. Granted must trim where it grows over the bottom, but sure make a great and maintenance-free cover.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 8, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Wonderful carpet of green in a wooded area where I live, but it has to be kept in check or it will quickly take over.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Auburn, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Dutton, Alabama
Jones, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Wetumpka, Alabama
Prescott, Arizona
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Mountain Home, Arkansas
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Chula Vista, California
Clovis, California
Lompoc, California
Oak View, California
Reseda, California
San Francisco, California
Vallejo, California
West Covina, California
Clifton, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Bartow, Florida
Casselberry, Florida
Deland, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Tallahassee, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Brunswick, Georgia
Canton, Georgia
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Jonesboro, Georgia
Lilburn, Georgia
Macon, Georgia
Statesboro, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Eldorado, Illinois
Columbia City, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Jamestown, Indiana
Macy, Indiana
Newburgh, Indiana
Danville, Iowa
Derby, Kansas
Rolla, Kansas
Hebron, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Pippa Passes, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Concord, Massachusetts
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Eastpointe, Michigan
Ludington, Michigan
Marietta, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Florissant, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Warrenton, Missouri
Riverdale, New Jersey
Roswell, New Mexico
Port Washington, New York
Southold, New York
Denver, North Carolina
Thomasville, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Portland, Oregon (2 reports)
Salem, Oregon
Winston, Oregon
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Royersford, Pennsylvania
Watsontown, Pennsylvania
Summerville, South Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
Madison, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Pocahontas, Tennessee
Westmoreland, Tennessee
Bryan, Texas
Colmesneil, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Irving, Texas
Seminole, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Spring, Texas
Big Stone Gap, Virginia
Chantilly, Virginia
Mc Lean, Virginia
Springfield, Virginia
Bellingham, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Kirkland, Washington
Lakewood, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Wallace, West Virginia



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