English Ivy

teacher_mom2(7)January 5, 2008

Does english ivy grow in the winter? Or does it just sit there and wait for spring?

I love the look of it, although i have heard a lot of people say how much they hate it because of it is so invasive.

Thought about boston ivy, but i wanted something evergreen and I don't want to clean up all the extra leaves from boston ivy.

Also, my little girl has the movie "Ella Enchanted". I LOVE her house and garden in the movie. I know it's a set, but it's FABULOUS! It's an english tudor home with thatch roof and wonderful cottage gardening. Here's a link to youtube that shows it at the very beginning. LOVE the roses growing by the door.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ella Enchanted

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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I grow English Ivy on a fence and YES it can be invasive. Mine doesn't seem to grow much in the winter. We take a hedge trimmer to it and give it a severe haircut once or twice a year, this in turn keeps the leaves small and it doesn't get a chance to form berries. The only reason I keep it and work at keeping it under control is that this fence is what walls in what I like to call (if you will stretch your imagination a bit) my little courtyard.
I believe this is on some noxious plant lists so it's worth giving it a second thought before you plant it.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 4:37PM
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slubberdegulion(z7 VA)

There are a number of mature (seed-setting) ivy colonies in my neighborhood, I'm forever pulling ivy up in my yard. It does seem to grow just a tad when the weather is warm in the winter.

It is pretty though, you just have to keep it under control. The problem with it is that if you decide to get rid of it, it can be a pain. Weeding an ivy bed can be tedious too.

My hens won't even eat ivy (which is a good thing).

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 7:16PM
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One of the things that endeared me to the look of the last home we bought, was the sight of the English ivy clinging charmingly to the side of the house and chimney. If we'd known then what we know now, we'd have bought a different house! Evil stuff. And that was in zone 5. I can't imagine what damage it could do in zone 7.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 1:50PM
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LOL...evil, huh?

If I grow it, it will be in shade on the north side of the house. I am seriously considering NOT doing it, though. Too many of you on here scared me from it! LOL

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 9:18PM
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fammsimm(Z8 DFW)

I have it as a ground cover in an area that is almost completely shaded. It seems to work very well for that purpose, but I would be a bit hesitant about growing it on your home. You can keep it under control on the ground easily enough, but once it starts climbing on a house just getting to it may be difficult.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 10:06AM
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Teacher, that MUST have been the logic of the previous owners, 'cause THAT is where they planted it. North side in shade. Grows there just FINE.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 12:45PM
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I love English Ivy. I have it all over. It's great under azaleas and holly and evergreen trees. I have it on my brick house and growing up on an arbor.
Evergreen, lush and very "cottage garden".
As for growing in winter. I wouldn't plant it in winter. Better in spring. It may not show any top growth in Winter, but sure it most likely sends out runners UNDER the ground and then pops out in Spring.
It holds soil to prevent erosion and is great for shady slopes where you can't grow or don't want to grow grass.
To each his own.
~ sweetannie4u

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 12:22PM
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TeacherMom, I've read on other forums that some people are allergic to ivy and got a nasty skin reaction when they touched it (don't know if it was English or boston). These were people who were trying to pull up some of it. The runners are unbelievable. Gook luck with your decision.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 9:45AM
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careytearose(z9 NoCal)

I bought a few small English ivy plants for the children's secret garden last year. I had heard not to let it go horizontal, so I was going to try training it to go vertical up the fence posts and later it can go across the top of the fence when it gets bigger.

to see recent pics of our front back and secret gardens, ck out my Picture Trail:


Here is a link that might be useful: look at the Landscaping Projects 2007 and Favorite ROSES we grow albums

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 11:04PM
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thanks for all the info....:)

careytearose, love the pictures! you and your dh have done a lot of work!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 8:37AM
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There's a lot of misinformation out there about ivy and its pros and cons. And it should be made very clear what plant we are talking about - English ivy, Hedera helix and various cultivars, is an aggressive, tenacious evergreen vine. Boston ivy (Virginia creeper), Parthenocissus spp, is a far less aggressive deciduous vine that is not considered invasive. One species is even native to much of North America.

As English ivy is evergreen it does grow in winter, especially in milder winter areas, but growth is considerably slowed. And also, in mild winter areas it can be planted in winter, just as any other hardy landscape plant. However, it should be planted with extreme caution as it has all manner of undesirable attributes, not the least of which is its extremely invasive properties, especially on the west coast and warmer areas of the eastern seaboard.

It is NOT a good plant for erosion control or slope stabilization because it is surface rooted. It actually can contribute to slope failure. And because it forms a dense, thick evergreen cover, it is an ideal habitat for rodents. Removal of thickets or plantings of ivy inevitably turn up colonies of rats. Not to mention it provides year round cover for slugs and snails. Ivy can damage mortar on brick and stone facades, as it holds moisture against the surface and encourages deterioration. Same with any wood surface. It is actually more toxic in all its parts than poison ivy (Toxicodendron spp) and the polyene Falcarinol is what causes the dermatological reaction.

Careytearose, contrary to what you were told, maintaining Emglish ivy in a horizontal plane is far preferable to allowing it to grow vertically. Ivy goes through several growth stages that are influenced by height. The juvenile stage - maintained with hortizontal growth - does not allow the plant to flower and set seed. Once the plant has achieved a sufficient vertical height, typically at around 5-6 feet, it morphs into the adult stage. The leaves change shape (more rounded and heart-shaped, no obvious lobes or points) and it readily flowers and sets seeds. The seeds are eaten and dispersed by birds, which accounts for its invasive characteristics.

teachermom, I don't know where you are located in zone 7, but I would seriously advise against planting English ivy, as your climate is just too conducive to its rapid establishment and spread. While you may be able to maintain it correctly, there is no guarantee subsequent owners would do the same. It is never a good idea to knowingly plant an invasive species regardless of your good intentions. And I would never recommend anyone in any location plant it to grow on a house or any other permanent structure.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 11:08AM
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