Hedera- Ivy

Robust evergreen climbers which will grow almost anywhere. There are shrubby forms as well.

Situation:

The common ivy is best known as a self-clinging wall plant; in the course of time it may badly affect soft bricks. The variegated Hedera colchica is a little less rampant, but is less hardy as well. Ivy also makes excellent ground-cover, remaining prostrate until it reaches a tree, where it will inevitably climb upwards. Large trees suffer little from a covering of ivy.

Finally there are hardy shrub forms which may be grown to provide a wind-break or as undergrowth.

Soil:

Ivy will grow in any soil, provided it is not too moist, but naturally it will grow faster in nutritious soil.

Propagation:

Very simple, from cuttings. Shrub forms are increased from cuttings of flowering shoots. Ivy readily reverts to the original species, and one should therefore choose characteristic shoots to use as cuttings.

Hedera colchica, Persian ivy: Height to 10 m; leaves 10-12 cm long, 10 cm across, thick and leathery and with a glossy surface. Umbels of greenish-yellow flowers appear in early autumn, but they contribute little to the ornamental value of the whole. In autumn small black berries are produced.

The variegated forms are the most popular, for instance ‘Dentatovariegata’, with a wide white margin to the leaves; ‘Aureovariegata’, with a golden margin; and ‘Sulphur Heart’, with a golden-yellow centre. There is also aim tall, all-green shrub called ‘Arborescens’. In the all-green climber ‘Dentata’ the leaves are fairly deeply incised.

Hedera helix, common ivy: Height to 30 m; umbels of greenish-yellow flowers in the autumn, fairly inconspicuous, except in shrub forms which have been raised solely from flowering shoots. The common, green-leaved species is the strongest and best known form. ‘Hibernica’ has large glossy leaves , with shallow lobes. ‘Sagittaefolia’ produces smaller, deep heart-shaped leaves with a pointed, triangular terminal lobe. ‘Argento-variegata’ has white blotched foliage; in ‘Aureovariegata’ the blotches are yellow. The shrub form, not over 1.5 m, is called ‘Arborescens’ in this species as well.

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