Ivies are sought after climbing plants used for fences, walls and trellises. Given their cascading, spreading growth, ivies are also used as groundcovers and containers plants. There are over 25 different plant species in the United States with the name ivy. There are a number of climbing ivy plants varieties popular in landscapes, many of which change colour during fall and winter.
Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), also referred to as Japanese ivy, is a vigorous growing, woody vine that climbs with adhesive disks on its tendrils. The vine grows up to 70 feet long with heavily lobed, dark green foliage that assumes bright shades of purple and red during fall and winter. Boston ivy is a native of Japan, China and Korea and thrives in areas of full sun. The ivy develops best winter colour in areas of partial shade and is ideally suited for north, east or west sides of the building. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8, Boston ivy grows best in a moist, well drained soil. Propagate by rooting the tips during spring or early summer.
Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a woody, native vine of North America with 2 to 4 inch long leaflets growing in groups of three leaves. Poison ivy climbs by clinging to any available surface with hairy, aerial roots. The plant produces clusters of ¼-inch, white berries and the foliage assumes bright hues of purple and red during fall and winter. The seeds of poison ivy are spread by birds that relish the fruit. The plant is hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 10 and thrives in areas of full sun and in any soil type. The sap of the poison ivy plant often causes skin irritation and rashes.
Algerian ivy (Hedera canariensis) is a moderate to rapid growing vine hardy in USDA Zones 7b to 8. The North Carolina State University Extension cites Algerian ivy as an ivy variety that often changes to bronze shades during winter. The plant climbs with aerial roots, achieving a mature height of about 30 feet. The coarse textured large foliage makes the vine ideal for use as a groundcover. Plant in areas of partial to full shade for best growth and in a well-drained, moist soil. Algerian ivy is salt tolerant.