Ivy (Hedera) is a vigorous, evergreen, self-clinging climber with three-to five-lobed, glossy, evergreen leaves, often with pale green veins, and some reddish or bronzy colours in autumn. Wonderfully versatile, Ivy will thrive in full sun, partial shade or full shade and is particularly useful for covering unsightly walls or for adding interest in shaded areas where many other plants will not survive.
Mature Ivy ground cover plants produce bushy, non-clinging branches with attractive diamond-shaped leaves, and small, nectar-rich, greenish-yellow flowers in clusters of rounded heads in autumn, followed by black berries in Winter – all of which brings nature to your garden! Birds can create nests in mature Ivy and will enjoy the berries, whilst bees can get their late season fix of nectar and pollen during the Autumn months (the Ivy Bee in particular is known to primarily feed on Ivy pollen and times its emergence with the Ivy coming into flower).
Types of Ivy Ground Cover
Remarkably easy to grow, Ivy (Hedera) ground cover is fully hardy and happy in pretty much any soil and in any degree of sun or shade. Simply cut back any excess unwanted growth in Spring (it is advisable to wear gloves when doing so as Ivy can be an irritant to skin). Occasionally varieties with coloured, variegated or unusually-shaped leaves will revert to plain green – simply remove these shoots as soon as you see them.
How to grow Ivy
Position: Full sun, partial shade, full shade
Soil and site: Any soil except waterlogged
Flowering time: Autumn on mature plants
Growth rate: Moderate
Ultimate height and spread: Height from 100cm, spread up to 5m.
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Aftercare: Cut back any unwanted growth in Spring (you can cut back hard as the plants will regenerate from old wood)