Boston ivy (fall color ivy)

carterobrien(5, Chicago)October 5, 2005

Hello, I saw a beautiful picture of some bright red ivy in the fall, which was identified as Boston ivy.

We are in Chicago and have a durable but ugly fence (they painted a cedar fence brown- why-oh-why...) that we are trying to cover with ivy growth. So far we've got English ivy growing on about 5% of it (just 2 vines), and I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this Boston ivy, or a type of ivy that would also give some fall color interest.

I read that a variety of Boston ivy is in Wrigley Field, but as the Cubs never make it far (or at all) in the postseason I've never seen it in late fall!



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The Ivy, Hedera helix variagated is an english Ivy which has two colours to it's leaves (cream and green) which can give all year round intrest along side the plain green (if it is the plain green ivy that you have).
I like boston ivy,but have'nt got any in the garden so have had no experience of it.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 2:58PM
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SilverD77(z7 GA)

I have been wanting to grow this myself for its beautiful color but been afraid of it being too aggressive. What I have found from research on it is that well it is aggressive just as much as the english ivy. To cover the fence with a good thick cover will probably take three summer seasons. Ivy rule goes something like this: first year it sits, second it creeps, third it leaps! Couldn't think of a rhyming word for the first year, ha, ha. I have found this to be true with my english ivy so should hold true for the boston. By the thrid year make sure you have a regular maintenance plan for keeping it contained to your desired area as it will keep climbing and reaching. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 11:35PM
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carterobrien(5, Chicago)

thank you both, the one upside of living in the city is there's too much cement for something like ivy to do much damage. As long as you keep it off your house, it doesn't really have anywhere to go.

just ordered 2 gallon containers of the yellow variety of the boston ivy from, those are really nice folks to deal with.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 4:23PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Boston Ivy is the type of ivy found on the walls of the Ivy League colleges in the north east. It's been growing on those brick walls for 100 years or so and seems to do them no harm.
It is different that English ivy in that it sticks with suction cups on it's branches and doesn't send tendrils into the structure like English Ivy. Also it is deciduous...looses it's leaves in the fall. English ivy keeps it's leaves and therefor keeps walls wetter during the winter.
Once the Boston Ivy gets goes fast....but be patient for about 3 years.
As a side benefit, it has berries that birds like, and when it gets really thick birds often build nests in the vines.
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 9:41AM
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LaurelLily(9a Houston, TX)

Linda has good words about the differences of the two ivies. Boston Ivy will not damage cement or brick, but English Ivy will.

However, because of the suction cups it has, there is *very* little air circulation between it and what it's climbing. Because of this, it's recommended for cement and bricks, but *not anything wooded* because the poor air circulation can promote rot. I wouldn't recommend it for a fence unless the fence was stone.

"Ivy rule goes something like this: first year it sits, second it creeps, third it leaps! Couldn't think of a rhyming word for the first year, ha, ha."

Here's you rhyme (this is how I've heard it): First year it SLEEPS. ; )

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 11:11AM
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carterobrien(5, Chicago)

good advice, but honestly, I see myself having to replace the fence in 5 years or so anyway, so, what the heck, might as well at least green it up in the meantime.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 3:51PM
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Boston Ivy = Cubs Field Ivy

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 5:29PM
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Have had boston ivy growing around a dog pen for years and now it has totally covered a silver maple tree. Will it hurt the tree

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 1:51PM
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