Algerian ivy is big and bold.

Like so many fad plants that were formerly too popular, Algerian ivy, Hedera canariensis, now has a bad reputation. Ironically though, it earned its reputation for doing what it does best. It covers ground rapidly and efficiently. The problem is that it never seems to stop. It creeps anywhere it can, and climbs trees, fences and anything else that it can grab onto.

Aerial roots of climbing vines ruin paint and stucco, and accelerate rot of wooden fences and walls. Vines that get between planks or into cracks between bricks cause significant damage as they expand. Shrubby adult growth that blooms and produces seed develops where climbing vines reach the top of their support, or spontaneously in sunny locations. 

Nonetheless, with diligent edging for strict confinement and to prevent climbing, Algerian ivy works well as a resilient evergreen ground cover for large areas. Once established, it excludes weeds, and tolerates quite a bit of shade. Shrubby adult growth is uncommon if vines can not climb. Climbing vines may be harmless on bare reinforced concrete walls.

Algerian ivy is neither as finely textured nor as shallow as English ivy. Its broader leaves are about six inches wide, with blunter lobes. They stand higher on longer and distinctly blushed petioles. Algerian ivy is rare in nurseries now, but inhabits old landscapes, from which it sneaks into adjacent landscapes. Variegated cultivars are slightly more passive. 

2 thoughts on “Algerian Ivy

    1. A long time ago, it was the common ivy here. In the 1970s, it was planted as ground cover under the various species of Eucalyptus that were also popular at the time, or the European white birch that were always in groups of three (because they look natural that way. . . If you ever see them in their natural habitat, they are always in groups of three.) Anyway, Algerian ivy became cliche, and and was recognized as a maintenance issue, so lost favor through the 1980s. I can remember seeing flats of it as late as the early 1990s, but have not seen it since about then. Meanwhile, English ivy is what had naturalized here, and become the ‘real’ problem.

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