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English Ivy alternatives?

Z3Z3 Posts: 5

Hi All,

I have a ugly fence which I want to cover with some greenery & being a novice gardener I decided on some English Ivy. I need something evergreen, low maintenance and a decent price to buy therefore I chose the ivy.

After some internet research, I have some serious doubts mainly because I have read the ivy will eventually spread even if it is maintained and it is very difficult to eradicate e.g. birds will spread the seeds.

I was planning on keeping the ivy in troughs against the fence, as my garden has been concrete slabbed.

Am I fretting over nothing & are there any alternatives which are not so aggressive?




  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,300



    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,520

    Have a look at this website.....they have ivy for all occasions.

    I have bought pelargoniums from this company but never any ivy as I have more than enough already. Its a bit of a battle to keep it under control (it has the upper hand most of the time) but the different leaf forms can be very beautiful.

  • Z3Z3 Posts: 5

    So if I stick with English ivy (headers helix) it should be fine as long as I manage it?

    I think this ivy would be great as a short to medium term fix but will I regret this in the long term let's say 5+ years down the line if it gets out of control? This is my main concern.

    Are they any similar alternatives but let's aggressive and maybe easier to get rid of, if need be?

  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,520

    The birds and insects will thank you for planting ivy but you will have to keep on top of the stuff. Its not a thing you can turn your back on and hope to deal with a few months down the line. As an alternative you could maybe plant clematis in very large pots but for decent fence cover, you can't beat ivy. As you have the area paved over the plants aren't likely to find anywhere to spread.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,299

    I t won't seed if it's kept clipped against a fence, It doesn't flower til it gets to the billowing out stage. Cut off any that starts changing the shape of its leaves to the mature growth shape.

    Unlikely to get out of control in a pot, stop watering it in summer, that'll stop it dead.

    There is nothing that grows and does exactly what you want without a little attention now and again.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Z3Z3 Posts: 5

    Thank you for the replies.

    I think I will take the plunge and plant a few in troughs along the fence.

    My garden is 60% slabbed, so the ivy spreading was more a concern for the neighbours but hopefully I can keep on top of it.

  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,149

    ivy in troughs is fine, i am planting some in a large pot to cover an ugly wall, it's ivy in the ground which is a nightmare.

  • robbie2redrobbie2red Posts: 59
    edited November 2018
    Sorry for bringing this old thread up guys, I’m thinking of using ivy in two very small pots I’ve bought to green up the shed a little. They are the pots that go against a wall etc. Do I need to be worried about it wrecking my wooden shed???

     Thank you 
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150
    If you're planting in "very small pots", I don't think you need to worry @robbie2red
    Small pots would restrict the root growth from supporting a huge monster plant.

    Are they like 'D' shaped wall hanging baskets with the ivy trailing down?
    Stopping them drying out might be more of a problem.
  • robbie2redrobbie2red Posts: 59
    edited November 2018
    Hi both!

    Thank you for your help! 

    @Kitty 2 yes that’s exactly what they are! However they are really small.

    Thanks @philippa smith2 I could potentialy drip drip feed it from the guttering but not sure it’s worth it?! 🙈

    Any other plant you would suggest (hopefully trailing)???

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