Frost damaged Ivy

I have Ivy growing up a wall - variegated, large leaf - which has been in for about 10 years.  It is huge and the birds always nest in it.  In fact it has a blackbird nesting at the moment.  It has been damaged by the frost and the leaves have turned brown and are falling off.  I thought this should have stopped by now but they are still dying off and it is looking very sparse.  My poor blackbird is sitting in her nest and is looking quite exposed now.

Will it recover, I would hate to lose it.  I would have thought Ivy was very hardy but not so sure about this one.

Any help appreciated thanks


  • Hi LL - you say frost damaged but not sure about that? - but then I don't know either! It seems weird for an established ivy to be doing what you say at this time of year - hopefully someone can advise - poor blackie - thought she had a safe home and now look what's happened! image

  • The leaves began to go brown about a month ago when we were getting the heavy frosts.  We had a lot of snow here in Suffolk and my Caster Oil plant which is planted in front of the Ivy has also died.  I really do hope the ivy is not dead as it is is so well established will take a long time to grow another one. 


  • Hi all you can do is to cut off the brown leaves and hope that new growth appears. I wish you luck. If you do get new growth protect it from frost with fleece

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    LL could there be another reason? Disease/infection of some kind? Has something damaged it lower down at the roots perhaps? I've not had trouble with ivy and it does seem unusual.

    As chilli says hope the blacbird is ok image

  • KlinkKlink Posts: 32

    I have ivy covering three of my garden fences and have to keed it in check every now and again by drastically cutting it back.It's almost impossible to kill in my experience unless you damage the base of the plant.Is there any damage there perhaps as Fairygirl says?

  • I also have quite a lot of ivy and I agree it's a tough plant to kill off, however for the last decade we have experienced very mild winters and it is only recently we have returned to the winters which I remember well as a child (1947,1963 e.g.) Ivy can be frost damaged, usually this is superficial damage affecting the upper growth of the plant. Check for any new growth near the base of the ivy, remove all brown leaves and if you do get new growth protect it from frost, as it will be susceptible to damage. Of course as has been suggested the plant may have been damaged at the base or it maybe diseased. 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,055

    There were some large leaved ivies about a few years ago. Not Hedera helix, can't remember the species name but one was called 'Paddy's Pride'. They were very prone to winter damage. 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,838

    Gloire de Marengo is one of the larger leaved ivies that can be damaged by hard frosts.

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Did you get those freezing easterly winds? Here in newcastle it's knackered loads of stuff, that had happily survived the winter. Not convinved my pyracantha will  survive it looks terrible, and 100% sure the ceanothus is a gonner as they are soft anyway image 

    I'm imagine it was the wind rather than the frost that did the damage, if the leaves are dry and brown. I've no idea if they will come back though, just gonna wait and see. 

  • Thanks everyone for your comments, like you say, looks as though it is just a waiting game to see what survives.  The winter just seemed to go on forever and late snow and hard frosts have not helped (not sure we are out of the woods yet either). 

    Fingers crossed, and I will keep an eye on my poor blackbird.  I can see her sitting in the nest watching me in my lounge.  She is quite tame so I don't think the fact we can see her is gonna be too much of a problem for her.  She sees me put food out and comes over and feeds.  Might have to put an umbrella up for her if it gets too wet image .

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    LL-you could start a new range ...image Wellies for pheasants,jackets for hedgehogs, jumpers for goalposts...oh no that's different isn't it..image

    Perhaps you grow something up the ivy temporarily LL so that it doesn't look too bare through the year.image

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