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Ivy is a popular and versatile plant that can add a lush, green touch to any garden or even to a room in your home. One of the most common ways to grow ivy is on a fence, helping to create a wall of green and potentially disguise a fence. Being known for climbing and sticking to anything, you might think it’s easy to grow ivy on a fence – but there are some things to consider, which is what we will cover in this blog.
Choosing the right Ivy
Not all Ivy is created equal and if you’re looking for a variety specifically for growing on fences, then you need to choose the right type. There are many different types of ivy, but the most common types used for climbing fences are English ivy (Hedera helix) which is available from Thompson & Morgan and Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata). Luckily, both of these are hardy, fast-growing, and easy to care for.
Choosing the right location
Once you’ve chosen the type of ivy you want to grow, you’ll need to decide on the location for your ivy. Ivy needs a lot of light to grow, so if the fence you would like to cover is in a dark shaded area, then you might need to open it up to some light – or consider another way to cover it. You should also make sure that the fence is in good condition, as it grows Ivy will send its tendrils into all of the gaps and can become quite heavy, the last thing you want is for the fence to crumble and collapse under the weight – much like this one is in the Wonky HQ garden!
Prepare the fence
The next step is to prepare the fence for ivy. If the fence is new or has been recently painted, it’s best to wait a few months before planting ivy, as the chemicals in the paint can be toxic to the plant. If the fence is old or weathered, it’s a good idea to clean it with a pressure washer or a solution of water and mild detergent to remove any dirt, mildew, or moss.
Once the fence is clean and dry, you can start planting your ivy. If you are planting ivy from a container, dig a hole in the soil about twice the size of the container, and place the plant in the hole. Firm the soil around the plant and water well.
If you are planting ivy from a cutting or a layering, make a small hole in the soil and place the cutting or layering in the hole. Firm the soil around the cutting or layering and water well.
It’s important to note that ivy can be planted at any time of the year, but the best time to plant is in the spring or fall, when the weather is mild, and the soil is moist.
After planting, it’s important to train the ivy to climb the fence. This can be done by attaching the ivy to the fence with a few pieces of twine or by using plant ties. Be sure to attach the ivy to the fence in several places along the stem to ensure that the ivy has a good grip.
If you have chosen a spot with partial to full shade and well-drained soil, your ivy should thrive well. Ivy plants can be quite drought-tolerant once established, but they prefer consistent moisture, especially during dry spells.
To encourage healthy growth, apply a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season and remember to fertilise every month if possible with a 10-10-10 mix or compost tea.
Ivy plants can spread rapidly and become a burden, so be sure to keep them contained by regularly pruning and removing any shoots that appear outside of their designated area. In colder climates, outdoor ivy may die back in winter, but will usually regrow in spring. With proper care, outdoor ivy can create a lush, cover for any fence.
It’s essential to keep in mind that ivy can be invasive and if not controlled it can cause damage to the fence or walls it’s climbing on and also to the surrounding plants. Because of this, it’s important to prune the ivy regularly to control its growth and to make sure it doesn’t become too heavy for the fence or lattice to support – it’s easy for an ivy plant to completely destroy a fence rather than create a beautiful cover if it is left unsupervised. If you let your ivy go out of control a bit then it might be that you need to use a hedge trimmer to bring it back and tidy everything up, we’ve listed some of the best cordless hedge trimmers over in our tools section that would be perfect for the job.
In summary, ivy is a popular and versatile plant that can add a lush, green touch to any garden. Growing ivy on a fence can be a bit tricky, but with the right type of ivy, a sturdy fence, and proper care, you can have a beautiful display of ivy in your garden. Lattice fences are a great option for growing ivy as they provide a lot of surface area for the ivy to cling to. It’s important to choose the right type of ivy, train and prune it regularly, and also keep an eye on its invasive behaviour to have a healthy and beautiful ivy fence.