Forum home Wildlife gardening

Alternative to ivy for bird nesting

Hi. Currently we have ivy growing up one side of our house. Birds nest there and it's wonderful hearing them sing. Ivy can damage mortar and we are thinking of replacing this. Please could you suggest alternatives that would be less harmful to the house but would still encourage birds to nest there once properly established? Ideally something that grows quickly. Thank you!


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,081
    I'm afraid it's a myth that ivy damages mortar. It only colonises any gaps if the mortar is already failing - it's not the ivy that causes the problem.
    You'd have the same situation with most climbers  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,393
    Do you live in an old house with lime mortar?  If not then you're probably ok to leave it. Here is a useful article:
    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 2,937
    Agree with @Fairygirl - if your wall is sound, Ivy won't be a problem.  Too late to do much this year as most birds have already starting nesting.
    For next year, you could perhaps consider a trellis placed away from your house wall and then plant other dense climbers which would tempt birds to nest.
  • JellyfireJellyfire Posts: 1,139
    I’d Echo the above, ivy doesn’t do damage in most situations unless you let it get under the eaves, it’s also an excellent source of nectar when most other plants are done, but if you do decide to change we have birds happily nesting in wisteria, clematis Montana, honeysuckle and I’d imagine any vigourous climber would do the same job once it’s got enough cover 
  • Thank you @Fairygirl @Redwing @philippasmith2 @Jellyfire

    It is an old house - about 150 years old. It was repointed a few years ago before we moved in and I doubt it was redone with lime mortar. I think your comments have convinced me to keep the ivy. Thank you for the advice!
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,081
    Where I used to work, it was a very old building, and had Boston Ivy on the walls - gorgeous in autumn. Under one of the windows one year, we had a little wagtail nesting  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • If you replaced the ivy with another climber, it may not be dense enough for nesting birds and it may take a while to established. I would leave it. Ivy has so many other benefits for wildlife too. The flowers are great. In September my dense patch of ivy is alive with hoverflies butterflies and bees. The berries provide food right through winter and spring for a host of birds. Blackbirds, woodpigeon, Robins and blackcaps like the berries in my garden.
    Happy Gardening
  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,382
    I have a robin nesting next to my kitchen window in some climbing hydrangea. I've been stood at the the window looking out watching him this afternoon. If you zoom in you can see Mr Robin perched on the top of the patio chair with some nesting material in his beak..

Sign In or Register to comment.