Algerian ivy is a shade-loving climbing plant with a sturdy, woody stem. As a popular ground cover, it adds style to your landscaping and helps reduce soil erosion. The plant can get up to 50 feet tall, which makes it a great option for climbing walls and fences. With some helpful tips, you can learn how to grow Algerian ivy that thrives.
Before planting this ivy species, check your state and local regulations. In some states, Algerian ivy is invasive, so there may be restrictions against planting it on your property. To grow Algerian ivy, propagate it from cuttings or grow it from seed. Prepare the seeds for germination by refrigerating them for at least 30 days, then remove them and soak them in clean water for 12 hours before planting.
Algerian ivy can handle many soil types, so you likely don’t need to buy special soil. Choose a spot that is protected from harsh winds that could dry out the soil and the roots. The best time to plant is in early spring, when the worst of winter is over, in a neutral, slightly acidic environment with good drainage. After spading the top 12 inches of soil, cover it with a 3-inch layer of compost and mix thoroughly. Once that's done, estimate how much room you'll need to fit the plant's entire root ball, with an extra few inches for good measure, and dig a hole to accommodate. Gently nestle the Algerian ivy's root ball into the hole, and then scoop soil around it to fill in the gap. After planting, keep the soil slightly moist.
Algerian ivy can adapt to a variety of growing conditions, so don’t worry too much about how much or how little sun it will get throughout the day. Still, it's good to keep in mind that your Algerian ivy will grow best in partial or complete shade. It’s hardy enough to handle full sun, but it will take a bit of extra care and grow more slowly.
Water your new Algerian ivy plants daily for the first week and ensure that the soil feels damp to the touch during that time. Once the roots form, you may reduce watering to one or two times per week. Examine the leaves for signs that the ivy needs extra water. Algerian ivy leaves should be soft to the touch with no browning or curling along the edges. Always water this plant at the soil to avoid getting the foliage too wet. Signs of overwatering include brown spots on the tips of the leaves. Algerian ivy needs more watering in sandy soil and less in clay soil.
Algerian ivy doesn’t require many extra nutrients to thrive. If you want to give your plants a boost, add a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to your soil at the beginning of spring and once more in the middle of autumn. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure proper dosage and application.
The USDA hardiness zone map determines which geographical areas and climates Algerian ivy will thrive in. According to the map, this plant does best in hardiness zones seven through 11, which encompasses most states south of Nevada and Missouri and coastal regions. If you don’t live in these zones, your plants may not make it through the winter unless you keep them in pots that are moved into the sun.
Prune your Algerian ivy in early spring to remove dead sections and promote healthy new growth. Pruning gives the ivy a chance to fill in areas that were previously sparse. Use a sturdy pair of sharp scissors or small pruning shears to clip below the notch where the leaf and stem meet. With proper pruning, you can control where the Algerian ivy grows, how tall it gets, and how much light it receives. Without regular pruning, this fast-growing plant can become difficult to manage.
Although most ivy tolerates winter well, Algerian ivy prefers slightly warmer temperatures. The species does best outside, but freezing temperatures may cause the roots to freeze. For ivy planted in the ground, add a layer of mulch or pine needles for extra insulation.
Propagate your Algerian ivy using sterile pruning shears, and make several cuttings between four and six inches long. Remove the bottom leaves but leave a few nodes. Always cut from the healthiest plants for the best results. Place your cuttings in clean water in an area that gets direct sunlight. You should notice root growth within three weeks. When the roots are several inches long, plant them in soil you can transfer outside or into a larger pot later.
Fungal diseases such as root rot, leaf spot, and gray mold can harm your Algerian ivy. Certain types of bacteria can also infect the leaves and stems. Inspect the leaves regularly and remove any that show signs of infection, such as spots. Reduce your watering frequency and volume so the leaves aren’t exposed to too much moisture. To prevent issues, only water the soil around the plant in the mornings.
Algerian ivy can attract snails, caterpillars, and slugs. Other pests that may affect your ivy include spider mites and sap-sucking pests like ants or small beetles. Be aware of mealybugs, aphids, and whiteflies, as well. Signs of pests include dull, yellow-tinged, or spotted leaves.
As a fast-growing, vining plant, Algerian ivy makes an excellent ground cover for landscaping. Grow it along a fence or wall or to cover less visually appealing areas. Algerian ivy is also a beautiful, dramatic houseplant thanks to its twisting vines that gently drape over the sides of a planter.
Several other species of ivy have similar characteristics to Algerian ivy, such as Persian ivy, English ivy, Irish ivy, and Japanese ivy. Each is a climber that will easily cover trellises, fences, and arbors. Almost all types of ivy are easy to care for and don’t have specific requirements in terms of soil nutrient levels and sunlight. Make sure the type of ivy you plant will thrive in your USDA hardiness zone and isn’t considered invasive in your area.
Algerian ivy is mildly toxic if ingested and may cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. It also releases some toxins that could irritate the skin, so wear gloves when handling it. When Algerian ivy is grown in mild climates, it may become invasive, especially in areas where it doesn’t die back in winter. Keep the ivy contained and pruned so it can’t spread to unwanted areas.
Algerian ivy leaves are either variegated or solid in color with each variety featuring different shades of green. Leaf colors may range from white or pale green to dark green with gray undertones. Variegated varieties of Algerian ivy include Gloire de Marengo and Canary Cream. Although these varieties have variegated leaves, they tend to revert to all green when planted in full shade. When cultivated in the right conditions, all versions of Algerian ivy can grow 40 to 50 feet long.