English ivy is mainly used as a ground cover or added to potted plants as greenery. It is really popular for use in difficult growing areas. The ivy will grow slower in these places, but will eventually cover them. The main issue with English ivy is keeping it under control so that it doesn't take over low areas or start climbing up trees.
Plant in full or partial sunlight if you want fast-growing ivy. If speed isn't an issue, English ivy will grow in all kinds of light. In fact ivy is used frequently in dark shady areas where nothing else seems to survive. You just have to remember that less light means slower growth.
Plant in aerated dark soil for best results. Although ivy will grow in clay, well-draining soil is better. It doesn't grow properly if it has to stay in standing water for long.
Plant in a warm climate. English ivy doesn't do as well in areas that stay below freezing for extended periods of time. There are some hardy varieties that will survive in colder areas. If you live in an area that has several snows a year, you might want to try a stronger version. A garden center store will be able to help you, or you can use a cutting of some that is already growing in the area. This is a sure sign that it will last the winter.
Dig a small hole with a spade. Plant the roots in a hole about one inch deep and cover with soil. Water the soil until it is damp, not soggy. If it is planted outside, you just need to keep it watered until you see growth. Then it should make it on its own.