I’ve always thought ivy was a neat plant and there are so many varieties. Most people know and try to avoid poison ivy, but there are other types that are just as pretty and less irritating to the skin. Boston ivy, ground ivy, Swedish ivy, English ivy and German ivy are only four of the most popular kinds known. Some are more destructive than others, but I can let you know which might be the right type of ivy to plant near your wall.
The Boston ivy is similar to what is known as Virginia creeper. This type of ivy doesn’t bore in between bricks the way some ivy does, but it attaches with tiny sticky disks instead. These disks don’t damage the masonry and still allow the ivy to climb. The pad is made adhesive through the secretion of calcium carbonate.
In order to distinguish this ivy from the Virginia creeper, the leaves are simply and have only three lobes. The Virginia creeper has five lobes, but both forms of ivy have leaves that are palmate. This means they derive from a center point and grow outward, like a palm tree.
When ivy is allowed to cover a wall, it can greatly lower the cooling costs of the building it surrounds. English ivy is commonly seen on many old buildings, but it does cause damage to the building itself. Many of these plants have been established for so long that it would be more detrimental to pull the plant of the building.
I think the Boston ivy is the best type of plant in the ivy family for growing near a wall. If it happens to crawl right up the wall, there won’t be any damage to it and it will still look gorgeous. Do you have ivy plants in your garden or along your home? Have you experienced structural damage from them? Feel free to share your knowledge on any other forms of ivy that you have in your garden area.
Top Photo Credit: tina_manthorpe