Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Hi Brandi. Thanks for your email. I am answering you in the blog because others might be interested in your question. Thanks for reading the blog. Brandi asks what kind of ivy I would recommend she plant on her house. I can tell you I would NEVER recommend planting ivy. Ivy is extremely invasive and hard to eradicate once it is established. Think twice before planting it.

Here is a link explaining the problems with ivy. I have never grown ivy because I learned a long time ago I did not want to deal with its invasiveness. I am sorry to all of you ivy growers but this is my story-and I am sticking to it!

Ivy just is not a good plant and I wouldn't even plant it in the furthest corner of my yard. I will offer you an alternative though. If you want something to grow up the side of your house, and chicken wire is good to guide vines, why not grow a Clematis. A friend of mine has some beautiful purple ones growing up her house on a wire. Clematis does not grab like ivy, blooms and is easy to remove if you change your mind later. You do have to guide Clematis, but it is only a once or twice yearly thing. The only drawback is that it is not evergreen like ivy. BUT, the stems remain and clematis has great seedheads which look attractive. Here are a few pictures of clematis in my garden. The first picture is of the vines (four of different varieties) growing on an arbor entering my backyard, and one of the attractive seedheads on the same arbor. The seedheads hang around for a long time, they are persistent.

Hope this helps and does not disappoint you too much. If you do decide to plant ivy expect to be pruning very regularly to keep it in check. I have a few friends who grow ivy in their yard and one who has it on her house. While it is beautiful it is just too invasive and has a habit of getting out of control. The local stores have many types and the variegated variety is attractive but again, I do not recommending planting it ever.

in the garden....


  1. I see Clematis a lot around us here in GA usually on mail box posts. It is pretty and I have thought about planting some along our fence. Does it require sunshine or does it like the shade???

    I have English ivy in a pot which sits on the front porch railing on the east side of the house. It is great in the box and fills in an empty spot. It does grow quickly but I like it because it is does not require a lot of water and attention during the hot steamy summer months. I plug up the drain holes and water it once a week. I plug up all the drain holes to the porch plant pots and only water once a week. I know that is probably a NO NO in peoples books but it works for me. I mix the blue Miracle Grow feeder in the water about once every three weeks and the plants grow like weeds!

  2. Clematis likes its head in the sun and feet in the shade. Sounds funny but it really works. I love clematis. The 'mailbox' vine.

    I am glad to see you do not agree with me on everything! LOL and are not afraid of saying so. I thought I might step on a few people's shoes with denouncing ivy!

  3. Na, if everyone thought the same on everything, it would be a boring world! LOL My ivy is under control in a planter box so I don’t have a problem with it. I forgot to mention that it has grown so quickly that I took out all the old plants last year and planted them along the fence between us and the "Not so liked" neighbors. It was another drought year and I forgot to keep it watered and it died! Out of sight, out of mind, Duh on my part. I put fresh new $3.50 plants in the box from Lowes and they already need to be removed but not until we are no longer in a drought as I don’t want to loose them again. I like them in the box on the porch because they stay there all winter long and add some green color to a drab porch!

    Ah, I think I will try the Clematis on the fence behind the flower garden! It is a bit shady behind the propane gas tank at the bottom and sunny at the top of the fence! May work great there....

    It is hard to find something for the mailbox planter as it is so shady up there on the street with all the trees in our front yard. It gets the morning sunshine and a bit of evening but not much. Plus it must be something that is drought tolerant and something the deer and bunny will not eat as that is in their pathways.... I put in some monkey grass thinking it would take over but it seems I put in the clumping kind and not the spreading type. Oh well…

    I counted 12 crepe myrtles that are along the edge of the woods by the street and mailbox but it is so shady that none of them ever bloom! They were planted by the previous homeowners. They did not research anything before they planted it as they planted stuff in silly spots! But they did a great job on the many (probably 50) azaleas they planted throughout the woods! They are beautiful every spring and I just love them!