Ivy in recent times is the most popular plant for decorating terraces. It is suitable for pots, containers and directly into the ground.
A definite advantage is that ivy easily adapts to various environmental conditions, does not cause much care problems and is extremely easy to maintain. It is also an invaluable and naturally beautiful decorative element. What are the pros and cons of having ivy on the balcony and how to take care of it?
Ivy – what should you know?
Ivy (Hedera helix) can be found in parks, forests and many gardens. It often grows over fences and buildings and is a natural decoration. Ivy is a climbing plant. The shoots are strong and resistant to damage, they creep on the surface and attach to supports, reaching up to 15-20 m in length. But undoubtedly the greatest decorative value are the leaves, green and shiny with a span of 2-10 cm.
Ivy grows best on semi-shaded or completely shaded positions. It is worth mentioning that the color of the leaves depends on the sunlight. The plant is tolerant of the soil. It is worth remembering that it likes moist places, so providing it with a sufficient amount of water will have a positive influence on its growth and appearance. Remember that ivy grows extremely expansively if you do not control its growth
It can grow in places where you didn’t plan for it to, which makes it invasive. So it is worth to carefully plan the place of planting and take care of an appropriate pot, which will prevent it from spreading to other areas. In very cold regions of Poland, it is recommended to cover ivy before the onset of winter. However, the vine itself is quite resistant to adverse weather conditions, such as strong wind. It is also reluctantly attacked by pests. However, sometimes it catches fungal and physiological diseases, for example, when there is too much water in the ground.
Ivy is very easy to propagate. It is enough to cut off a piece of the stem and put it into water or directly into the ground to make it grow new roots.
Uses of ivy
Ivy is a plant that easily fits into any arrangement in our garden or on the balcony. It looks exceptionally beautiful when it overgrows old tree trunks (popular for English and classic style gardens) and various supports, unsightly walls, fences, arbors or railings. If we provide a good support in the form of a durable, rigid mesh, we can get a beautiful, natural-looking hedge.
Ivy works well as a potted plant. There are known miniature sizes which we can easily buy in every gardening store. However, it is worth remembering that ivy, despite its wide use in cosmetic industry and herbal medicine, is a poisonous plant. Therefore, we should not grow it at home and we should limit the access to the plant to children and animals.
Varieties of ivy – what are their characteristics?
There are many varieties of ivy. Species differ from each other in the strength of growth and appearance of leaves. Some of them are:
- Glacier – beautiful gray-green leaves are ideal for decorating gardens and railings. They captivate with their unusual color;
- Spetchley – the variety is counted among miniatures, because it grows up to 30 cm long. It has beautiful dark green leaves;
- Goldheart – this is one of the most chosen varieties for its extremely decorative green-yellow color;
- Erecta – this variety does not climb on supports. It has stiff stems that lay down under its weight over time;
- Parsley Crested – the leaves of this variety are light green with crimson edges;
- Grey Foot – the oval shape of the leaves distinguishes this variety from other species;
- Harald – a variety with dark green leaves with the addition of white spots on the edges.
Is it worth to plant ivy on the balcony?
If we care about a durable, undemanding, but at the same time beautiful, natural plant – of course yes! On balconies ivy won’t cause any problem with its expansive growth, because it will be in a pot. It will overgrow the railing, giving shelter from the wind and decorating our balcony with beautiful leaves. With a little effort we will get a delightful effect that we will enjoy all year round.