The best decorative ivies for the garden

Ivies are more than just climbers for shady walls. Here we suggest the best decorative types for adding texture, backdrops to borders and livening up containers and hard landscaping. 


Ivies are more than just climbers for shady walls. Many make excellent groundcover, and they are good in pots or window boxes. Others make brilliant houseplants and foliage for cutting. Compact forms can also be used for topiary. Here we list some of the best types to add interest and colour into your garden.

Decorative foliage

Green-leaved ivies offer an array of forms and textures, from the defined and bold, to the crimped and frilly.

1 Hedera helix ‘Duckfoot’ Good for containers and often grown as a houseplant. 2 H. hibernica ‘Spetchley’ perfect in containers or over rocks and low walls. 3 H. helix ‘Lalla Rookh’ Good as groundcover or in containers. 4 H. helix ‘Triton’ This bushy ivy is best grown as groundcover or in pots or containers. 5 H. helix ‘Anita’ Its trailing habit makes it ideal for pots or for training over topiary frames. 6 H. helix ‘Ivalace’ With a dense, compact habit, it responds well to clipping. 7 H. helix ‘Pink ’n’ Curly’ A bushy plant, with waved, crinkled leaves. 8 H. helix ‘Green Ripple’ Lovely in pots or cascading over low walls. 9 H. helix ‘Parsley Crested’ Reaching just 90cm, it is perfect for low walls and excellent for groundcover. AGM. 10 H. helix ‘Cockle Shell’ A trailing form, popular for hanging baskets and window boxes. 


Variegations: cream and yellow

Cream and yellow-flushed and variegated ivies light up shady walls and fences and contrast with dark, evergreen shrubs in pots.

1 H. helix ‘Golden Ingot’ A slow-growing climber reaching up to 90cm. 2 H. helix ‘Jersey Doris’ Good on a dark fence or wall. 3 H. helix ‘Goldfinch’ Perfect for pots, over rocks or as groundcover. 4 H. colchica ‘Sulphur Heart’ A vigorous climber reaching up to 8m. Also good as groundcover. 5 H. helix ‘Buttercup’ A slow-growing climber up to 2.5m, and one of the best for colour. 6 H. helix ‘Amber Waves’ A compact climber or trailer growing to 90cm. Good for containers and baskets. 7 H. helix ‘Golden Girl’ A versatile ivy that grows fast for a variegated form. 8 H. helix ‘Oro di Bogliasco’ A vigorous climber, reaching 8m. 9 H. helix ‘Midas Touch’ A creeping ivy that rarely climbs, perfect for pots and containers, indoors or out. 10 H. helix ‘Luzii’ This fast-growing, medium-sized climber is popular as a houseplant. 


Variegations: green and white

Green and white or cream variegations make uplifting backdrops as climbers, and enliven shady borders.













1 H. helix ‘Sally’ Ideal for lighting up a shady wall, this is a slow-growing climber (to 3m). 2 H. helix ‘Misty’ Ideal for pots and as a houseplant. 3 H. helix ‘Heise’ A medium-sized climber. 4 H. helix ‘Silver King’ A good climbing and trailing ivy with five-lobed leaves, the central lobe longer than the rest. 5 H. helix ‘Chester’ An attractive climber, not too dense. 6 H. helix ‘Ardingly’ Attractive in pots and as floral decoration. 7 H. helix ‘Glacier’ A fast-growing climber. Good as groundcover on dry, shady slopes. 8 H. algeriensis ‘Gloire de Marengo’ A vigorous climber, growing up to 4m. Great on a shady wall. 9 H. helix ‘White Ripple’ An attractive climbing or trailing ivy. Grows to 3m. 10 H. helix ‘Little Diamond’ A dwarf, bushy ivy. Good in pots and indoors.


Most ivies are classified as RHS H5, USDA 6a-11, although sheltered situations have a great influence, and plants grown in pots in colder regions may need winter protection. Hardiness ratings are explained here

Ivies pictured are grown and supplied by Fibrex Nurseries, Honeybourne Road, Pebworth, Warwickshire CV37 8XP.
Tel 01789 720788,


Photographs Dianna Jazwinski

Words Andy McIndoe




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