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How to Train English Ivy

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How to Train English Ivy

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Overview

English ivy is grown as a potted houseplant, a ground cover and a climbing plant with sturdy roots that stick to both walls and trees or other vegetation. If English Ivy escapes to the wild, it can become an invasive plant that covers the natural landscape, envelopes native plants and smothers them. Because of its hardy disposition and fast-growing nature, English ivy can be trained to grow around forms to create topiaries, or up the sides of buildings for a natural decoration.

Step 1

Purchase a wire topiary form in the shape that you want to train your ivy to grow. Popular shapes include a ball on a stem, heart shapes, deer shapes or a pillar shape.

Step 2

Cover the drainage hole of a large container with pottery shards. Fill the container with peat moss.

Step 3

Insert the wire topiary form into the container by pushing the wire base into the soil. If your topiary is not built with a base that can be pressed into the soil, you can anchor it into the soil using long, U-shaped galvanized fencing staples to hold the topiary form upright.

Step 4

Remove ivy from seedling pots. Dig a planting hole into the soil around the topiary form that is large enough to hold the root ball of an ivy plant. Place the root ball into the planting hole. Cover the roots with soil. Repeat for each ivy that you have purchased until the container is filled.

Step 5

Wrap sphagnum moss around the wire form. Secure in place by wrapping floral wire around the moss.

Step 6

Gently wrap the tendrils of ivy around the topiary form. Prune away any foliage that is against the moss. Leave foliage that points away from the moss.

Step 7

Place the container in a partially sunny location. Water once weekly to keep soil uniformly damp. Continue to wrap new growth around the topiary. Pinch out any dead leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Topiary form
  • Galvanized U-shaped fencing staples
  • English ivy plants
  • Large container
  • Pottery shards
  • Potting soil
  • Trowel
  • Watering can
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Floral wire
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Artificial Plants and Trees: How to Make a Topiary Tree
  • Yardener: Using English Ivy
  • University of Illinois Extension: Houseplants

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University: English Ivy is an Easy Container Plant
Keywords: care of English ivy, training English ivy, topiary form

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."