English ivy is beautiful, no doubt. It conjures images of adorable country cottages draped in shimmering green leaves. But for gardeners, the idea of English ivy is not always positive. Discover the pros and cons of English ivy and decide whether or not this ornamental vine is right for your outdoor space.
The good news is that English ivy requires very little effort on your part. It grows on its own, and needs little to no trimming, watering, fertilizing, or other attention. It's a hardy vine that tends to thrive in a variety of soil types and spaces.
Pro: Attractive Ground Cover
If you have an area of your lawn or flowerbeds that doesn't seem to accept any other plants readily, you could introduce English ivy to see if it will take to the space. The ivy works well as ground cover for difficult areas.
Pro: Indoor or Outdoor Growth
Did you know that English ivy can grow indoors? This hardy vine survives in most conditions, including indoor spaces. You can start it indoors and transfer it outside when you're ready.
Pro or Con: Harbor for Wildlife
English ivy is very attractive to small animals and various types of wildlife. It offers them shelter and a hiding space. If you enjoy having little creatures living in your yard, this might be a bonus for you; but if you'd rather not risk an invasion of small pests, you may view it as a negative point against this particular ornamental vine.
Con: Interferes with Other Plants
The biggest drawback of English ivy is its interference with other plants. Once you establish it, it will take over the area and might actually slow the growth of native plants. Sometimes the other plants will quit growing altogether or even die off.
The growth of the English ivy can physically push other plants aside. In other cases, the ivy begins to overshadow the other plants, drinking in all the sunlight and leaving the neighboring plants in shadow. English ivy has dense leaves, so it can create some fairly thick shade. When and if you plant it, be aware of which other plants might be nearby and how they could be affected once the vine begins to spread.
Con: Climbs Walls, Roofs, Trees
English ivy can and will climb whatever is nearby. It will crawl up your siding, spread along the roof, or grow up the trunks of any nearby trees. Though this may suit the aesthetic you're going for, it's important to be aware of the eventual stress and structural issues that the vine can cause to trees and buildings. You may need to cut it back repeatedly to avoid permanent damage.
For more information on certain plants, and for supplies to help you care for your outdoor space, contact Kurtz Bros., Inc. or visit our website, where we stock an array of helpful tools and materials for property owners.