Ivy plants not only last through the winter, but some stay evergreen during the colder months. This splash of color makes them worthy of the landscaping jobs they often perform, such as being ground cover or growing on trellises, walls and arbors.
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The cold hardiness an ivy plant displays depends upon the species. Types such as Boston ivy and English ivy survive winters that get as cold as minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Others, such as Swedish ivy, are only cold hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 10. Poison ivy grows to USDA zone 4, where winters see readings as low as minus 30 F.
Despite their names indicating otherwise, Boston ivy is native to nations such as China and Japan, while English ivy hails from cold regions such as Russia and Scandinavia. Swedish ivy’s name is confusing, since this less-than-cold-hardy species is from South Africa; this explains its lack of affinity to the cold. Poison ivy is native to North America.
English ivy retains its green leaves during the winter, but the Boston ivy only does so in warmer regions where winter temperatures are somewhat mild. Boston ivy’s leaves turn shades of scarlet and purple before coming off the plant in autumn.