Hedera helix 'Arborescens'
Common Name: English ivy 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Araliaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: September to October
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Will also grow in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils, but prefers rich loams. Tolerates some drought, but produces best foliage color in evenly moist soils. In the St. Louis area, plants will benefit from a placement that will provide some protection from winter wind and sun and from hot summer temperatures. Plants may be propagated vegetatively or by seed. Birds help disperse seed. Spreading stems will root at the nodes where they touch the soil. Ground covers rarely need pruning except when they invade unintended areas. Ground covers may be trimmed on the edges with a spade or shears.

‘Arborescens’ may only be propagated vegetatively. Plants propagated by seed will sprout as aggressive, juvenile stage climbing/spreading vines.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hedera helix, commonly known as English ivy, is a vigorous, aggressive, fast-growing, woody evergreen perennial that is primarily grown as a climbing vine or trailing ground cover. As a climbing vine, it may over time grow upwards to 50-100' in height. As a ground cover, it typically grows to 6-9" tall but spreads over time to 50-100'. English ivy grows in two forms or stages: (1) juvenile stage is the climbing/spreading stage (most often seen) in which plants produces thick, 3-5 lobed, dark green leaves (to 4” long ) on non-flowering stems with adventitious roots, and (2) adult stage is the shrubby non-climbing stage in which lobeless, elliptic-ovate, dark green leaves appear on rootless stems that do not spread or climb, but do produce round, umbrella-like clusters of greenish-white flowers in early fall followed by blue-black berries. Native to Europe, English ivy was brought to the U. S. by settlers in colonial days. It has been and continues to be widely sold in the U. S. as an ornamental plant. It has escaped gardens and naturalized in a large number of eastern, midwestern and pacific coast states. In some climates it is considered highly invasive in woodlands and open areas where it aggressively displaces native vegetation by densely smothering large areas of ground with its trailing densely-leaved stems or by climbing into tree canopies via clinging aerial rootlets.

Genus name is the Latin name for ivy.

Specific epithet from Greek means spiral or twisted.

‘Arborescens’ is an unusual shrub form of English Ivy. It is an adult stage plant of Hedera helix that will not climb or crawl (no adventitious stem rootlets), but will grow as a dense, rounded, evergreen shrub to 3’ tall. Clusters of greenish-white flowers appear in early autumn followed by blue-black fruit. Arbor means tree in reference to the shrubby upright habit of this plant.


Aphids, mealy bugs, caterpillars and scale may appear. Watch for leaf spots, canker, bacterial leaf spot, stem rot and powdery mildew. Mites can be significant problem. Winter burn may occur in cold winter areas where plants are grown in exposed sites.


Interesting shrub ivy for shrub border, small hedge or foundation. Pot or container.