Sunday , November 19 2017
ivy leaves image

Ivy

ivy leaves image variegated ivy leaves image

This plant brings so many benefits to any garden: can be grown as a ground cover beneath large trees or to cover bald spots where grass won’t grow, or to give a gentle uniformity to a difficult landscape; grown over arbors, trellises or fences to achieve a fast coverage; the clinging root-like structures allow it to grow up perfectly on flat walls as well where it is of benefit rather than harm because it keeps the wall dry and acts as an insulation. It also can be grown in containers to create a mobile wall or in hanging baskets for a nice curtain effect. It is a very good plant for wild-life because it provides dense shelter for birds and an abundant late supply of nectar for insects and a supply of seeds for winter food. It is a food plant for the larvae of many species of butterfly. It can be grown as topiary forms, creating ivy rings, globes, heart shapes and almost any shape that can be defined by a wire. It is one of the longest lasting elements of greenery in floral arrangements because it roots easily in water and wilt very slow.

Ivy is a very easy to grow plant that tolerates a wide variety of soils except waterlogged, very dry or very acid ones. It grows best in rich, moist soil. Grows well in any place from full sun to deep shade but even it tolerates very dense shade, it may not flower in such a position. The plant is very hardy and tolerant of atmospheric pollution. Established plants are drought tolerant.

ivy flowers image ivy fruits image

Propagation can be done in may ways: cuttings of half-ripe wood in mid to late summer in a shady position in a frame; cuttings of mature wood, 12 cm long, in late autumn in a cold frame; layering – plants often do this naturally and roots by itself anywhere vine touches the ground. It can also be propagate by seeds: remove the flesh, which inhibits germination and sow the seeds in spring in a cold frame. A period of four weeks cold stratification will improve germination. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

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Climbers as Ground Covers

When we say climbers we think of plants that are covering walls and trellises and grow upright, climbing any support they find. But some climbers, especially those with aerial roots or those with a scandent, trailing or scrambling habit, may be grown without support, this way they will produce swathes of ground cover. They are particularly effective when they are allowed to grow and spread over a sloping bank or when trailing over a wall where they will often root into the soil beneath.

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