Newbie has questions re: Boston Ivy and Honeysuckle

kimcocoJune 2, 2008

Hi all,

In the past four years, we've basically landscaped our property twice-over since the first time we were absolutely clueless as to what we were doing. The local nursery staff knows us by name, and they shake their heads whenever they see us. They think we live on a HUGE lot, but we are actually on less than 1/4 acre. LOL.

As an example of my "duh" moments, I planted bulbs upside down this year. The only reason I discovered my error is because my neighbor did the same thing, and told me about her mistake. We both had to laugh.

I'm still learning.

I purchased some Boston Ivy - originally planning on planting them in pots to climb up an obelisk. I've changed my mind on the planting pots, and now I'm thinking of planting them on our fenceline. We have a wooden fence - we installed a couple of years ago and the fence itself will not be a permanent structure - we'll be replacing in about 5 years or so (it was a quick do-it-yourself weekend job on a major fixer-upper home). My plan is to keep the ivy off of my house - so I'm planting the ivy towards the middle of the fence (midway between my house and the end of the yard). Will ivy choke out any other plants, or is my only concern with where the vine trails off to?

Neighbor (same neighbor who planted bulbs upside down) has a very pretty honeysuckle vine on the side of her house climbing up a trellis. Are honeysuckle vines invasive? I want to plant on a trellis next to my gutter along my house. Any reason I should NOT do this? What are the pros and cons with the honeysuckles? Again, do I need to be concerned with it choking out any surrounding plants? I want to plant some perennial flowers at the base of the vine in this same area.

Thanks for your feedback.

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Boston Ivy won't do any damage in 5 years. Parthenocissus tricuspidata is a climber that doesn't want to be a groundcover, unlike Hedera, a true ivy. Think twice about loosing Hedera in your yard, but you picked a vine that will stay in place with moderate maintenance. Plan to do a bit of pruning in the Spring when the vine is dormant to keep it away from soffits, shingles. wood siding, shrubs, and perennials. I don't think this will be needed until the 3rd year anyway.

As for the honeysuckle, there are some bad actors in that family that you should avoid. Any Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is not to be set loose. It will chioke your plants, children, and the gutter is a goner. Our native honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is well behaved but scentless. The European woodbine honeysuckles (Lonicera periclymenum) are vigorous and scented. Love these but maintenance is needed once they are established. You can plant several varieties for a long period of bloom.

As a final word of caution...I don't know what your house iis made of (stone, brick, stucco, wood, vinyl). Vines will eventually grow into cracks and crannies and do damage. You have to be vigilant. Also, unless you have brick or stone, vines hold moisture against the siding which can lead to expensive repairs. Be sure to place trellises so there is air circulation against the house.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:38AM
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Thank you, Julia, for the beneficial information. Now I must shop... LOL

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 2:42AM
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