This plant, in some of its varieties, is probably the most popular ornament of the parlor. The ease of culture, its beautiful foliage, its rapid growth, and evergreen character all combine to make it a favorite.
The soil should be a rich loam; the richer the soil the more rapid will be the growth. Yet avoid stimulating manures. Slips root readily, taken off at any leaf joint, and placed either in earth or water; in the latter they will soon throw out roots, and may then be transferred to pots.
The only precaution to be taken in growing ivy is to keep it from frost while in growth and if frozen, to keep the sun away from it, thawing it out with cold water from whatever garden water feature you possess. In summer the plants may be set out of doors, and will make vigorous growth.
There are many species, of which the most common is Hedera Helix, the common twining ivy, a native of Europe, of which there are many varieties. The leaves of these varieties vary quite a bit and many distinctions have been founded on these variations.
There are two very beautiful kinds, the silver and golden, the foliage being beautifully variegated with white and gold. The Tree or Aborescent Ivy is merely a form of the common variety, which is shown by its returning to the primal Aborescent form not infrequently. The leaves are entire, and the plant often, retains its form for years.
H. Roegneriana is a variety with large, heart-shaped leaves, which is much esteemed.
H. digitata, the palmate or hand-shaped Ivy is a pretty variety, of rapid growth; the leaves are small, dark, and veined. This is often called, erroneously, the Irish Ivy.
H. Canariensis is the Irish, or Giant Ivy, the leaves are five-lobed, and larger than those of the common ivy. This type of ivy may not be best for areas where patio statuary is on display since it can grow quite large and overshadow the statues.
Almost all the varieties of nurserymen’s’ catalogs are merely forms of these, with peculiar foliage.
The Golden Ivy is a splendid plant; when the young
leaves come out it resembles a mass of yellow flowers. Ivies are grown in hanging baskets, around windows, made to trail around picture frames and looking glasses; indeed, they may be made decorative in the highest degree.
The plants should always be well supplied with water, though it should never be allowed to stand at the roots. Large plants of the common varieties may be procured inexpensively. The ornamental foliaged varieties are somewhat pricier.
If you have ivy growing out of doors (and it will thrive if you keep the winter’s sun away from it), a pretty effect may be produced by cutting large branches, and keeping them in vases or outdoor fountains of rain water. They will grow well all winter, and planted in spring make nice plants for autumn.
The plant commonly known as German Ivy is not an ivy; the botanical name is Senecio Scandens. It is deservedly popular, from its rapid growth and its freedom from insects. The Coliseum Ivy is a species of Snap-dragon, as may be seen from an examination of the flowers, and a very pretty plant it is; botanically it is Linaria Cymbalaria.
Five-leaved Ivy is the Virginia Creeper or Woodbine (Ampelopsis Virginica), a native of our woods. The Poison Ivy is Rhus Radicans or Rhus Toxicodendron, and not of the same family as any of the above.
Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer based out of San Diego, CA. She specializes in landscaping, gardening, and the placement and collection of outdoor fountains. For a wide variety of patio statuary, please visit http://www.garden-fountains.com/.
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