Ivy is appreciated as a persistent climbing plant especially for it's capacity to fully cover any wall for facade, but it can also be used to cover limited wall surfaces. The ivy shoots grow away from sunlight, and it will infiltrate any crack or crevice in the wall, and widen them by growing thick. Maintaining and pruning an ivy is a lot of work. Wintercreepers may be used instead for smaller wall surfaces.
(Common ivy, lat.: Hedera helix // colchica // hibernica)
Sunny (full sun) to semi-shaded Position. Soils rich in nutrients and humus with good water provision. Distance between plants: 2 to 8 meters.
Self-clinger that may grow to height of 20 meters and more. Of particular interest for façade greening are the wild ie non-hybridised species and juvenile forms, which are generally good climbers with clinging stem roots and, in moderate climates (Zone 6a and up), are reliably evergreen.
The native form Hedera helix is a particularly reliable climber, while Hedera colchica is only reliable in optimal positions. Once an ivy can no longer grow further upwards, it will stop climbing with stem roots and convert to the senescent form “Arborescens”, which develops simple oval, acuminate leaves instead of lobed ones, grows as shrub only and is sold as a different species altogether. Flowers in September, a fragrant feasting meadow for bees! Fruit during or after winter. Bird food. Pruning is possible at any time and often necessary to restrict growth as illustrated and described in photos.
For heights of 6 m and more, it is recommended to install cables to assist climbing / attaching and also to prevent the plant from collapsing, because during a storm and especially if wall plaster is brittle, entire leaf mats may separate and collapse. For suitable rope systems refer below. Easy and Medium kits, for higher greenings better heavy or even massive systems. In addition, weaving the plant into fences, wire nets, trellises etc is very decorative.
Ivy fruit are poisonous and the leaves may irritate the skin. Ivy grows in a strongly light-shunning manner and can cause considerable building damages especially when brickwork and render have cracks into which the ivy can grow and blast them apart with increasing stem girths. We are often asked how to treat the remainders of the adventitious roots after ripping down the plant from a façade during its renovation. The only way is to burn off / torching the plant traces and repaint the wall. Alternatively, to prevent such damages one can use horizontal climbing barriers such as projecting window sills (Photo) or if necessary, install metal sheets at a designated height to prevent the ivy from climbing any further, at least temporarily until the next pruning ...