ISSUE 55  |  Roman Holiday

Vertical Garden Kit: The Ideal Ivy

January 14, 2013 8:00 PM

BY Janet Hall

Inspired by today’s post “The Original Vertical Garden via Rome,” we asked a handful of garden professionals to recommend the ideal ivy to use with a DIY vertical garden kit. The hands-down recommendation: English ivy. Considered by some to be a garden pest and by others to be a garden helper, it is a voracious grower and seems to thrive on benign neglect (my kind of plant).

The age-old debate is whether Ivy is a benefit or a bane to the homes to which it clings. The English seem to have perfected the ivy-clad building. As described in an article in the Daily Mail, scientists at Oxford argue that ivy can be a protector.

Have a love or hate relationship with ivy? Tell us why in the comment section below.

Above: The garden professionals we contacted recommended the full-proof English ivy (Hedera helix) for your vertical garden DIY project. Grown easily in zones 4 to 8, this evergreen is available in several varieties, including the Thorndale, which is known as being an especially hardy strain. Ubiquitous at most garden centers, Thorndale English Ivy (Hedera helix Thorndale) is also available in 3-inch pots through American Meadows (shipping begins in early March); $5.48 each. Have a favorite vertical garden kit? Leave your recommendations in the comment section below.

Above: A fan of changing colors? Consider Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), a deciduous plant that turns a brilliant red in the fall and is a fast spreader; it can grow upwards to 60 to 100 feet in length. It is also known as Japanese creeper; $29.98 at Nature Hills Nursery. Image via National Geographic (UK).

Planning spring plantings? See more of our Flora Features. For more with DIY vertical garden kits, see “Vertical Gardens Made With—