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Replacement for English Ivy

Posted by Leigh_VA z6b/7a (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 13, 05 at 17:20

Love everything about the English Ivy that we have planted on both sides of a little stone walkway between our house and garage. The ivy thrives. Looks great. Is evergreen. Is not climbing as long as I stay on top of it but...I have this fear that it will get away from me and slip out of my control while I'm not looking. I will turn around to see it cavorting in my woods with the honeysuckle, wild grape, Asian bittersweat and poison ivy. It has to go.

So...I need a replacement. Something evergreen. Clay soil. Normal to damp area. Some of the area gets some afternoon sun and some gets no sun at all. The area is fairly well contained by the driveway but something devious like the English Ivy could try to slip under the breezeway to the other side. I need something that will fill in but be a bit more behaved and will not climb.

Any suggestions?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Replacement for English Ivy

Phlox stolonifera is a native evergreen creeping phlox that will do in the part sun area. For the dark bits, try Autumn, Christmas or Mexican Male fern- all evergreen (a bit ratty by the end of the winter). Or hellebores.

Another thought

How about one of the smaller ivys- the pointed leaf or white variegated kind. They are slower growers and easier to control.
I do know one bright yellow variegated one that is just as vigorous as the regular.

RE: Replacement for English Ivy

Thanks, creatrix. The Phlox looks beautiful in bloom. How ratty will it look by the end of winter? This is actually more of a main walkway than the front door so I want something that will look nice year round.

The hellebores seem a little tall for what I'm looking for. I have some ferns and Astilbe and Asters in the same area. The area is not large. One side of the walkway is about 11'x5' and the other 11'x3'.

Was also thinking about Pachysandra but I don't know the personality. Not sure if it would be evergreen here or not. Unruly? When I look at the websites of all the places that sell plants, the write-up always make each plant look like the the greatest plant that ever lived. So hard to know for sure.

Thanks again.

RE: Replacement for English Ivy

Hi Leigh,
Pachysandra IS really beautiful - it needs shade so you'd probably be fine. I have Periwinkle and I like it. Plus the flowers are a bit of a bonus. Good luck!

RE: Replacement for English Ivy

what about mazus reptans? i am trying it out this year for the first time. withstands foot traffic, low growing, little violet flowers in spring, evergreen they say. got a bunch of it from a famous mail order place. good luck!

RE: Replacement for English Ivy

Pachysandra is evergreen here in zone 5. Also, try sweet woodruff or periwinke for shade.

RE: Replacement for English Ivy

I have been pleased with Robb's Spurge (might be Almond Spurge, latin is euphorbia robbia or euphorbia amygdaloides)

We pulled out lots and lots of English Ivy the previous owner had left for years and years, and tried several ground cover gifts from different gardening neighbors. Here's our experience in Northern Virginia, Zone 7, almost full shade, dry shade:

Pachysandra the winner - evergreen, looks good, not as invasive as the bad guys Vinca Minor and 2 kinds of lamium.

Robb's Spurge (might be Almond Spurge) - looks good, evergreen, stays lower if you go to the trouble of cutting off the chartreuse shoots/blooms. Also a winner, spreads but easy to move/pull the little ones that start where you don't want them.

Sweet Woodruff - looks great, not evergreen, nice for variety but doesn't spread or fill in too well in really dry shade. Very nice delicate white flowers in spring.

Lamium - looks good the first year, spreads too quickly, takes over any other groundcover around it. OK if you want low maintenance and don't care that it spreads really quickly. Not evergreen.

Strawberry Begonia - looks great and is nice for variety, although if doesn't spread well like the euphorbia. From reading the Web about it, it would do better if this area wasn't such dry shade. The foliage looks great and I recommend trying this if replacing English Ivy. Not evergreen but comes back in spring. Here's a nice photo and another gardener's experience with it.

Vinca minor - aka periwinkle. Thank goodness this and lamium are easier to pull out than English Ivy. It's ok if you want no maintenance and don't care about how invasive it is. Truly it got boring looking, probably because I got interested in all these others we tried and preferred their look to this. The flowers (periwinkle color) look good but in deep shade you don't get many.

Here is a link that might be useful: Web entry about euphorbia or spurge

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