How to Get Ivy to Grow Up a Trellis

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Ivy grows a dense cover over a trellis or wall.
Ivy grows a dense cover over a trellis or wall. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Ivy is a plant with dark, wide leaves that climbs up walls, trellises, fences and other structures. If you want to grow ivy on a trellis, pick the type that grows well in your area and install a trellis. For example, Boston ivy tolerates nearly any soil conditions and grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 8. Unlike some climbing vines, ivy doesn't need to be tied to the trellis. It climbs using either aerial rootlets, such as English ivy, or adhesive discs, such as with Boston ivy, and secretes a sticky substance that helps it climb. Plant ivy in its ideal growing conditions and it will rapidly climb a trellis.

Things You'll Need

  • Well-rotted manure
  • Sand
  • Pruning shears

Prepare the soil below the trellis by amending it with well-rotted manure and sand to ensure it is well-draining and nutrient dense. Ideal soil feels like a wrung-out sponge when squeezed. Many types of ivy grow in any soil type but thrive in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

Plant the ivy at the base of the trellis by digging a hole and setting the root base in the hole. Cover the root system with fresh soil and water thoroughly to get rid of air pockets.

Water the ivy only when the top inch of soil is dry. Do not overwater the plant.

Prune the ivy in the winter when it is dormant by removing 1/2 to 2/3 of the new growth and getting rid of all of the dead branches. This keeps the ivy under control and encourages new growth in the spring.

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