How to Grow Boston Ivy

Overview

Boston ivy is a deciduous vine valued in the United States for its ornamental features. The plant's foliage turns dark green during the summer months, and then changes to orange-red in autumn. Boston ivy tolerates urban settings and often covers buildings and walls when not properly contained. The plant, in fact, is a common sight on college campuses across the country. Boston ivy also produces small, green flowers in the summer, which eventually change into clusters of dark blue to black berries. Hardy in zones 4 through 8, Boston ivy thrives in mild temperatures with only minimal care.

Step 1

Choose a planting location for Boston ivy that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Spread a 1-inch layer of sphagnum peat moss over the planting site and use a garden tiller to incorporate the peat moss into the soil prior to planting.

Step 2

Use a shovel to dig a hole in the soil of equal depth and twice as wide as the root ball of Boston ivy. Insert the roots into the hole and cover with soil. Water thoroughly to bring moisture into contact with the roots. Space Boston ivy plants 10 to 12 inches apart.

Step 3

Water Boston ivy once each week throughout the year. Increase the frequency of watering to once every five days during periods of extreme heat and drought. Never allow the soil to dry out completely, or the plant will quickly begin to wilt.

Step 4

Feed Boston ivy once each year using a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to gradually release nutrients into the soil throughout the growing season. Follow the manufacturer's directions for proper application and dosage information.

Step 5

Prune once each year during early spring before new growth begins. Use pruning shears to cut back all excessively long vines and vines that have grown out-of-bounds to increase aesthetic appeal and maintain a controlled growth habit.

Tips and Warnings

  • Boston ivy may damage brick walls due to the small, adhesive discs it uses to climb these structures. It will also cover windows and doors if not pruned regularly.

Things You'll Need

  • Boston ivy plant
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Garden tiller
  • Shovel
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Clemson University Extension: Ivy
  • Washington State University: PNW Plants---Boston Ivy
  • "New York Gardener's Guide"; Ralph Snodsmith; 2004
Keywords: Boston ivy, grow Boston ivy, Boston ivy plants

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.