Plant Boston ivy vines 5 feet (1.5 meters) apart near a support structure in late spring. They will grow heartily through the summer and create a colorful spectacle in autumn. Make sure you plant your ivy in well-drained soil where it will receive partial sun. Boston ivy doesn’t like full shade. Plant your seeds to a depth of a half-inch (1 cm), and clippings to a depth of 3 inches (7.5 cm). Water Boston ivy immediately after planting. In extremely hot areas, plant your vines near an east-facing wall to prevent leaf scorch. If properly maintained, Boston ivy goes dormant instead of dying in winter. It will spring back to life when warm weather returns.
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3 Steps to Grow Boston Ivy
Boston ivy is a lush, deciduous vine that quickly covers the ground or nearby structures as it grows. Below are 3 basic steps you should follow to achieve the best results when growing this beautiful perennial vine:
Choose a Location
Carefully choose a supporting structure before you plant your vines. Boston ivy grows quickly. Once it has established its “home,” it’s very difficult to transplant. A brick garden wall is a great choice, as this type of vine does not have to twine around a structure to grow. It has adhesive-like characteristics that allow it to spread along flat surfaces.
- Choose a location that features a supporting structure.
- Select an area that’s not too close to your home.
- Treat the wood on a trellis or fence to avoid excess moisture problems.
A trellis or fence is a good choice as well, but the wood should be treated to avoid excessive moisture between the plant and the structure. If ground cover is your goal, make sure you choose an area at least 15 feet (4.5 meters) from your home. Boston ivy is opportunistic—you don’t want it climbing up your house.
Plant Seeds or Clippings in Partial Sun
Plant your Boston ivy vines in loamy soil where they will receive partial sun. A location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade is typically best. These vines will not remain healthy if they are grown in total shade. However, they may also be susceptible to sun scorch if they receive too much afternoon sun in hot climates. Allow your Boston ivy to grow on an east-facing wall to provide the perfect balance of sun and shade.
- Choose loamy soil.
- Pick an area exposed to partial sun, such as an east-facing wall.
- Plant seeds half an inch (1 cm) deep.
- Boston Ivy cuttings should be planted 3 inches (7.5 cm) deep.
- Position your plants 5 feet (1.5 meters) apart.
If planting seeds, make sure they are placed at a depth of half an inch (1 cm). If you are using cuttings—with or without roots—plant them at least 3 inches (7.5 cm) deep. Whether you are using cuttings or seeds, make sure you space your vines 5 feet (1.5 meters) apart.
Thoroughly Water Your New Plants
After packing the soil around each seed or clipping, water the area. Once established, Boston ivy is not picky about its soil. Like many botanicals, it prefers soil that is neither too moist nor too dry, but will thrive in a broad spectrum of soil conditions. However, it’s important to water right after planting.
- Pack the soil firmly around each plant or seed.
- Water the area thoroughly.
- If you planted Boston ivy seeds, water every day for a month.
- Water new Boston Ivy cuttings every other day for a month.
Water seeds once a day for up to a month, provided the ground is not becoming overly saturated. For clippings, water every other day for 30 days. Once your plants begin to grow and thrive, water them as needed to prevent overly dry soil and future problems.
When Should You Plant Boston Ivy?
Boston ivy should be planted in late spring to early summer. This is regarded as the ideal time for planting, but it does not mean that you’ll have bad results if you plant at a different time of year.
- Start growing Boston ivy in late spring for best results.
- Boston ivy planted later in the season will still grow and thrive.
- If planted late, this vine quickly goes dormant, but will thrive again in spring.
Boston ivy is a hardy vine that goes dormant during winter rather than dying. It can be planted anywhere from early spring to late fall. Just keep in mind that its growth cycle will be affected if you plant it later in the year. It may not have time for substantial growth if you wait until mid-summer to plant. Rather, it will go through a dormant cycle and then reach its full potential the following spring.
How Do You Make Boston Ivy Spread?
You can make Boston ivy spread quicker by planting it where generous shade is available. Although this is not the best condition for the vine itself, it will grow faster in an effort to find the sun. Boston ivy planted in shade also typically features larger leaves. For this reason, if you want ivy with classic characteristics, you may not want to plant yours in shade.
- Plant Boston ivy in shade to make it grow faster.
- Avoid pruning to promote rapid growth.
Like most vines, Boston ivy should be pruned several times a year. However, if your goal is to make it spread faster, skip pruning. Just remember that this will make a lot of work for the following season when you will have no choice but to trim the vine back.
Growing Boston Ivy
In order to plant and grow Boston ivy, follow these tips:
- Plant Boston ivy in late spring for best results.
- Avoid planting your ivy in full shade; opt for partial sun.
- To prevent leaf scorch in very hot areas, plant vines on an east-facing structure.
- Plant your vines in well-drained soil.
- Water vigorously after planting.
- Plant seeds to a depth of half an inch (1 cm).
- Plant clippings to a depth of 3 inches (7.5 cm).
These simple tactics will help you grow a healthy plant with beautiful green foliage. In just a few seasons, your ivy will grow to cover the wall or fence you planted it by.