The Complete Guide For Taking Care of Boston Ivy

The Complete Guide For Taking Care of Boston Ivy

Boston Ivy Header

Fall color, flowers, berries and fast growth, this iconic, ornamental vine is an award-winning specimen and backdrop that has it all! Light up your landscape while hiding eyesores with a plant that gives you three seasons of beauty plus a ton of perks that make these incredibly useful plants!

Many people use Boston Ivy plants to cover walls, fences, pergolas and more! Being a very low maintenance plant, it is easy to care for but some minor upkeep is still needed for best results. Use as 'Living Walls' for outdoor garden rooms and add privacy.

These fantastic vines don’t need anything to climb on and are fast groundcovers that ramble and sprawl over bare ground and fill in hard-to-mow slopes and tricky hillsides.

Plant Highlights:

  • Hardy USDA Zone 4 - 8
  • Fast-Growing & Drought Tolerant Once Established
  • Grows in Sun or Shade Condition
  • Hardy Deciduous Vine
  • Award-Winning
  • Flowers for Pollinators & Berries for Birds
  • Beautiful Red Fall Foliage
  • Deer Resistant

Planting Boston Ivy  Changing color ivy

When choosing a location it is best to find an area that is sunny and has good organically enriched soil. These conditions help get better results with the plant growing faster and healthier. Choose a site that is very well-drained. When watering new plants, use the Finger Test to ensure you keep them perfectly watered.

Boston Ivy should be planted 18 to 24 inches apart and grow about 5 to 10 feet wide, but climbing to 30 to 50 feet in height when given free rein. Plant them closer together if you want faster coverage on a wall or trellis, try planting 18 to 24 inches apart for quicker coverage on a wall. Space 2 to 4 feet apart for less aggressive coverage. Be sure to plant at least 12 inches away from the wall to allow the roots more room to grow. 

The best time to plant Boston Ivy is spring or fall. This is a hardy plant that will be able to grow even if planted in the summer; however, it will need plenty of water and well-drained soil.

General Boston Ivy Care Full sun and mulch care

Easy-care plants, once established, tolerate a wide range of soil types, clay, pH tolerance and can cling to almost any surface, maybe a bit too well. Just watch where it chooses to grow and stop it before it gets into trouble around your gutters and roof, as well as trees and shrubs.

  • Sunlight - Boston Ivy can take a wide range of sun exposure, from full sun to partial sun, but it does best in full sun.
  • Watering - These plants should be well-watered when first planted in order to get established. Once the plants get going, there is no need to worry about watering unless there is a severe drought.
  • Mulching - Use mulch to help conserve moisture for the plants. This helps prevent weeds from growing around the vines and protects the roots in the winter.
  • Fertilizing - Fertilizing is not necessary but feel free to use all-purpose granular fertilizer in the spring. Don't overdo it since too much could hurt the plants.
  • Winter Care - A thick layer of mulch is a good idea to insulate the roots from heat and cold. This is also the best time to prune.

Pruning Boston Ivy Red Boston Ivy

The only chore you need to really worry about when caring for Boston Ivy in the winter is pruning. It is best to prune in late winter once the leaves have fallen off and the plant has gone dormant. Prune off any vines heading into trouble or rambling close to where they shouldn’t, careful not to remove more than a third of the plant at a time.

The vines grow vigorously when given the right soil, water, and sun conditions. Sometimes it is necessary to trim these plants back to a more desirable size, especially around doors and windows. The best time to prune Boston Ivy is in the winter. Even though this is a very tough plant, you can prune it anytime during the year if you are careful not to trim too much. 

Boston Ivy Removal

Boston Ivy clings to just about any surface with their neat little suction cups and resists storms, heavy snows, wind and deer!  Removal and Pollinator

If you want to remove Boston Ivy, be careful not to rip the vines off of walls. This could damage the wall, take off the paint, or remove chunks of wood as well. If it doesn’t do this it will leave behind little suction cups that are difficult to power-wash off. To do this without damaging anything, first cut the vines off at the base of the plant and let the vines die, then the vines should come off the walls easily and without damaging anything. 

It’s Pollinator & Bird-Friendly!

The cute green clusters of tiny star-shaped blossoms are hidden gems for pollinators. The thick vines offer nesting and shelter for your feathered friends and the clusters of bluish-black berries that form in autumn are perfect snacks to help fatten up for winter!

Why is Boston Ivy Famous? Famous Ivy

You may have heard about Boston Ivy, but do not know why or in what context. Its notoriety comes from the Ivy League that was named after this plant and refers to the vines found on buildings at Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth colleges in the Boston area. Even the Chicago Cubs baseball field, Wrigley Field, has also helped make this plant widely known! The outfield brick walls are covered with Boston Ivy for a truly unique stadium.

Join many that already know these incredible plants! These are just a few of the rewards awaiting you when you plant these versatile and ornamental vines! Cover almost anything with vivid greenery and red fall color with the Boston Ivy! 

Head over to to learn more about this and other great ornamental Vines, like the Robusta Boston Ivy, now available to beautify your landscape today!

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