Covering a wall with climbing ivy adds English charm and a vertical element to the landscape. Ivy attaches itself to walls with rootlets or suckers. It does not damage a soundly built wall, but do not use it on a wall of older brick with crumbling mortar, as the wall can be further damaged. As any other landscape plant, ivy requires good soil, fertilization and pest management. With proper attention, climbing ivies grow quickly and flourish for years.
Persian ivy, also called Hedera colchica, has dark-green, heart-shaped foliage. The leaves are large, reaching a diameter of 4 to 10 inches. This ivy grows well throughout America because it tolerates cold temperatures and adapts to sun or shade. Persian ivy climbs on fences and homes, reaching heights of up to 30 feet. This ivy blocks sunlight and kills any underlying plants, so don't allow this ivy to climb on other trees. Plant your Persian ivy in moist well-drained soils.
Boston ivy, also called Parthenocissus, is a climber that can grow to 70 feet tall. This species is a fast-growing ivy that attaches to buildings with small adhesive cups that grow on the stems. The foliage is green throughout most of the year. In the fall the leaves turn reddish brown. This ivy produces purple fruit that attracts birds and other animals, however the fruit is poisonous to pets and humans. This plant needs a combination of full sun and partial shade in addition to well-drained soils.
English ivy, or Hedera helix, is a popular climbing ivy that grows on houses throughout America. This ivy uses a sticky substance on the stems that allows it to climb and attach to buildings and other structures. Native to Asia, Europe and Africa, English ivy has dense, green foliage and enjoys full sun and well-drained soils. The stems have tiny white hairs on them. English ivy can cover an entire building and reaches heights of up to 80 feet. Small white flowers appear in early fall, but the flowers usually don't appear until the ivy has already grown for several years. Do not allow English ivy to grow on trees. This ivy is invasive. It can suffocate trees and other plants by covering them and preventing light from reaching underlying plants.