English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English Ivy (Hedera helix) - Garden Basics - Flower - Perennial

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Plant Information Type: perennial
Propagation: division
Light: full to partial
Flower Color: grown for foliage
Height: ground hugger or climber
Width: spreading habit
Soil Requirements: not fussy
Zones: any
Uses: groundcover, rock garden, pots, climbing, topiaries

All ivies belong to the genus Hedera. These climbing vines cling to upright surfaces by roots that sprout from their stems and work into any available crevice. The vines can be trained to cover forms shaped of wire stuffed with sphagnum moss. They look great growing over the edges of containers.

English ivy (Hedera helix) has 2- to 4-inch-long three- or five-lobed dark green leaves, and there are varieties that exhibit some of the oddest-shaped foliage known. There are round or heart-shaped leaves with no lobes at all, as well as others with three, four, five or seven lobes as small as 1/2 inch and as big as 6 inches across; still others are wavy, curled, crested, cupped or ruffled. In color they combine green with white, cream, yellow or pink. Some popular varieties are 'Silver King', with green-and-white leaves; 'Buttercup', whose leaves are yellow; 'Manda's Crested', whose star-shaped leaves have wavy-edged lobes; and 'Caenwoodiana', a particularly durable type whose dark green leaves are accented by prominent ivory-white veins. All grow well in water.

Ivies like four or more hours a day of direct sunlight, but will grow fairly well in bright indirect light, such as that reflected from light walls; if only artificial light is available, provide at least 800 foot-candles. Keep the soil barely moist. Newly purchased or potted plants should not be fed for three to four months; established plants should be fed every three or four months. Repot when containers become crowded. Cuttings will root easily. Use a good potting soil and feed well. Pinch out tips to encourage bushiness. Watch for spider mites, mealybugs, and white flies.

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