English ivy, Latin name Hedera helix, is an evergreen vine or ground cover native to Europe. In the United States, English ivy grows vigorously in hardiness zones 5 through 9 and has become invasive in some areas. Growing English ivy in the home landscape requires minimal effort, aside from proper pruning to prevent the vine from overtaking the garden. Plants grow quickly and reach up to 50 feet in length when allowed to climb and up to 8 inches in height when grown as ground cover. Gardeners value the vine for its attractive, dark green foliage and ease of care.
Plant English ivy during spring in a location that receives bright morning sun and partial afternoon shade. Ensure the site is composed of moist, well-drained soil of average fertility before planting. Space English ivy 18 to 24 inches apart.
Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch over the soil surrounding English ivy to prevent the establishment of weeds and insulate the soil, especially during the first winter. Replenish the mulch whenever necessary to keep it 2 inches deep.
Water English ivy once each week during the first month of growth. Reduce watering frequency to only periods of extreme drought thereafter. Do not allow standing water to accumulate around English ivy, as this will increase the chance of root rot.
Feed twice per year, once during March and again in June, using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. Water both before and after applying to prevent root burn. Apply at the rate recommended by the product's manufacturer for best results.
Prune English ivy whenever it grows out of the desired area up to a maximum of three times per year. Use pruning shears to trim back the vines by as much as necessary to keep the plant aesthetically pleasing and within bounds.