Garden Photo of the Day

An unusual English ivy

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Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Ever gone online and seen the selection of English ivies that are for sale these days? It’s mindblowing! They come in all shapes and sizes, and in a multitude of shades. But this little ivy has fascinated me for years with its tightly stacked leaves. It’s Hedera helix ‘Congesta’, and it grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-11. According to the AHS encyclopedia, it maintains a small bush habit, and is suitable for rock gardens. If you live in the Northwest, however, don’t get too excited. From what I hear, planting English ivy there is like planting Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii cvs., Zones 5-8) in the Northeast. A no-no! Darned invasives.

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  1. gottagarden 12/09/2010

    The Erie COunty Botanical Gardens in Buffalo has a winter show with an amazing variety of different ivies. Probably a hundred different types, never knew there were so many possibilities.

  2. Deanneart 12/09/2010

    Wonderful! I think I need to find this great plant.

  3. raleighgardener 12/09/2010

    English Ivy is considered an invasive plant in the southeast, too. It's definitely on the "do not plant" list here. When I bought this house in Raleigh, NC 24 years ago, there was no Eng. Ivy. I didn't plant it, the birds did. Now it has taken over half an acre. A LOT of work and very difficult to eliminate. And it attracts the deer who love to eat it in late winter/early spring, then they have dessert with my camellias and azaleas.

  4. Stoatley 12/09/2010

    It's invasive in the Mid Atlantic, too. I would never purchase English ivy of any ilk.

  5. sheilaschultz 12/09/2010

    If it were variegated then it would really be perfect!

  6. Yeddi 12/09/2010

    NEVER plant any variety of English ivy where it can climb your house wall.
    We have just spent a fortune trying to eradicate it from stucco and are still battling the little tendrils and tiny clinging rootlike feet.
    We did not plant it and I cannot imagine what the previous owners were thinking!

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