For a leafy ground cover or wall covering. English ivy and its varieties are evergreens that are hardy as far north as Chicago in sheltered spots. The hardier Boston ivy, a cousin of the Virginia creeper, drops its leaves after a glowing display of autumn color.
Give young plants a good start by working compost, peat moss, or wellrotted manure into the soil, along with a balanced fertilizer . During the first year (and during dry spells thereafter), water deeply once a week.
Train your ivy by pruning it in the spring or early summer. Clip away any branches that grow where they’re not wanted.
Ivy will not harm a masonry wall, but it can loosen shingles or clapboards. To grow ivy against a wooden wall, install a trellis at least 8 inches in front of it. Propagate from cuttings.