For residents of the middle strip of the heder, unpretentious evergreen ivy, is more familiar as a popular ampel plant for the house. But in the southern regions of the country – this is ivy garden ivy.
Huge thickets of this culture can be found in the Crimea and the Caucasus. Growing up, ivy climbs on inaccessible tales, the walls of houses, caresses the dense carpet slopes, its shoots hang from the trees. Plants that pertain to perennial evergreen vines are not whimsical, they are not exacting to the conditions of cultivation and care. They grow fast and gladly please decorative leaves of different shapes and colors.
It is not surprising that the plant was very long seen by gardeners. In Europe, evergreen garden ivy, which retains its appeal throughout the year, is used to decorate hedges, plant greenery of urban and rural buildings, parks and arbors.
Description of ivy and cultivated species
In nature, there are fifteen kinds of ivy. All of them are perennial climbing shrubs with long shoots, clinging to the soil, stones, other vegetation and walls with the help of numerous accessory roots formed on the adult part of the stem.
Leaves, depending on the type of garden ivy can be either split, three- or five-fingered, and whole. Leaf plates of most garden ivy are dense, leathery with a smooth surface and radially diverging veins. In addition to plants with monophonic, green foliage, even in the wild, one can see variegated specimens.
If long shoots and ornamental foliage of garden ivy reach the 30-meter length, they immediately catch sight, then the flowering of representatives of this genus sometimes goes unnoticed. Collected in capitate or umbellate inflorescences, greenish flowers are quite small and do not represent decorative value.
Much more interesting are the small round fruits of dark, almost black color, formed after pollination.
In culture on the territory of Russia only a few, the most cold-resistant species are grown:
- Ordinary ivy is the most common plant used also as a houseplant. This species is characterized by a slow growth rate, comparatively small three- or five-fingered leaf plates and an abundance of varieties.
- Colchis or Caucasians also grow in orchards. A strong fast-growing liana with shoots up to 30 meters long and leaves, sometimes reaching 20 cm in diameter, is found naturally in the foothills of the Caucasus, as well as in a number of Asian regions. The shape of green or variegated leaves varies with growth.
- Ivy Crimean is another Russian species, outwardly reminiscent of the Maltese variety that is grown in Europe. Heat-loving plants, getting in favorable conditions, become powerful. Their trunks at the base lignify, sometimes growing together with trees, on which this garden ivy willingly climbs.
Planting and caring for garden ivy
Ivy is by right considered a shade-tolerant culture, easily adapting to life as a ground cover plant. He lives under the canopy of large trees in the southern regions, he hibernates quite well. But the farther north, the higher the risk of freezing not only because of low temperatures, but also because of high humidity, insufficient shelter.
To protect the plant and to facilitate care for garden ivy, planting is carried out on elevated, sheltered from the wind. For the first few years, the culture does not grow very fast, so young ivy plants are planted in spring so that the seedlings mature and winter overwinter for the warm season. For the reproduction of ivy, choose healthy shoots no older than 2-3 years. In this case, they will take root well, they will not have to be seriously injured when moving to a new location.
Suitable for a garden of ivy are not too capricious and adapt well. To make this happen more quickly, a moisture-absorbing, air-permeable substrate with a high organic content is prepared for planting. The main part of the roots of ivy is located at a depth of 20 cm, so the landing pit is prepared a little deeper. At the bottom necessarily provide a drainage layer.
After planting of garden ivy, care consists of watering, fertilizing and uncomplicated tillage. Increase the permeability of the soil for air and moisture will help very accurate loosening, and to save moisture and to protect the plants from the first frosts in the winter can mulch.
The soil is loosened to avoid the formation of a dense crust after the rain, trying not to harm the shoots and their subordinate roots, which form closer to the nodes and quickly penetrate into the substrate as it grows.
Mulching by sheet humus, peat, or other porous organics prevents the drying of the soil, and in the wet years and from decay. Mulch pour gradually, in a thin layer for a few tricks so as not to affect the foliage located near the ground. By autumn, the layer is being increased in order to carry out full-scale warming and sheltering of plants with the advent of cold weather.
The farther north, the higher the probability of freezing plants used for vertical gardening. This fully applies to ivy hedges, arches and house walls. Ground-cover specimens, especially additionally covered with snow, hibernate better.
After melting snow in the spring, you should not rush with pruning victims of frost or other causes of shoots. Remove them better in the beginning of summer, when the active movement of juices will end. Slices on large stems are treated with garden varnish.
Watering garden ivy throughout the season should be regular, but moderately, monitoring the moisture of the soil under the plants.
Reproduction of evergreen ivy
Most species suitable for growing in the garden form the subordinate or air roots. This makes it possible to root the cuttings cut in spring and in the summer months quite easily.
For the reproduction of ivy, semi-mature shoots with visible rudiments or already present subordinate roots are suitable. If you cut off a very young, green growth, the process of rooting goes much longer. And under adverse conditions, for example, in the coolness of the stalk, it can completely rot.
For the reproduction of evergreen ivy, it is better to use apical cuttings, but if this is not possible or if many young plants need to be obtained, the shoot is cut into 10 cm fragments with at least one healthy node.
You can root the cuttings in a street greenhouse by dropping several pieces into a loose light soil, or in plain water. When enough stems appear on the stems, the plants are transferred to the future residence. Taking into account the growth of the soil cover bush and the peculiarities of care for garden ivy, the planting should be carried out at a distance not less than half a meter from each other.