Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Ivy, specifically the common ivy Hedera helix, is known for its rapid growth and ability to attach itself to all kinds of surfaces without much trouble. Within a few years, a single cutting can green an entire house wall. Ivy's speediness makes it popular as a hedge plant and groundcover, but it can become a real "weed" if not cared for properly. Therefore, it is good to know how fast ivy grows.


Two meters in a year

The growth of an ivy occurs in several stages and allows the plant to reach a lifespan of 400 to 500 years. The oldest European example of an ivy still alive today can be found in the Zehdenick monastery near Brandenburg, which was dissolved in 1541. Although the associated dormitory lost its entire roof in a fire in the 19th century, the ivy survives and frames most of the building. Its age is estimated by some experts to be around 700 years. This feat shows how enduring ivy is.

The plant makes this possible through the following stages:

  • young plant (two years)
  • mean growing time
  • Age form (from about ten years)

Despite this strong growth, even ivy has its limits. Its typical growth rate is up to 200 centimeters per year if the following properties are present.

  • constantly moist soil
  • no waterlogging
  • time

The ivy can grow either in height or width, it doesn't matter to the plant. For this reason, the climbing plant can cause great damage in the garden and on facades without a cut. But it is precisely this joy of growth that makes it so popular as a hedge and ornamental plant with many gardeners. The ivy requires hardly any nutrients, sun or care to be able to grow two meters a year. Also, don't worry if the ivy is shy about growing for the first few years. This is typical for young specimens.

young plant

growth of the young plant

Hedera helix is a climber that is eager to explore new terrain, but it takes time to do so. The cuttings are grown either in water or in a pot with soil in autumn and form roots. The young plants come into the garden from spring and are extremely reserved in the first year. Most ivy does not even grow half a meter in the first year. Depending on the temperature and location, the next two are just as cautious, but as the roots develop in the soil, the superficial tendrils strengthen. Then it is time for the ivy to start its second stage of development.

Tip: Hedera cultivars are all moisture-loving and hardly need any sun to sprout as young plants. So you can sit back and relax in the first few years and don't have to do anything.


growth to old age

From around two to three years, the vigorous growth that ivy is known for begins. Depending on the location, the growth rates vary per year as shown below.

ideal conditions (plenty of shade with high humidity, well-drained soil):

  • more than 200 centimeters

too bright (a lot of sun, moist soil, risk of sunburn in winter):

  • about 150 centimeters

bright and dry (a lot of sun, low humidity, barren soil):

  • under 100 centimeters

This means that the drier the environment around the aralia family, the more it suffers from the conditions and finds it difficult to sprout. Over the years, however, the plant keeps growing and groping its way along the ground or facades with its adhesive roots. Above all, the ivy wants to escape the light and therefore keeps looking for dark corners. Some ivies can gain between five and ten meters in height or width without pruning until they reach maturity. This is also what makes them so problematic when left unchecked when pruned, as they tend to root in the masonry.

Tip: You can prune ivy several times a year, thereby restricting its height or width. After a cut, you can also watch the new adhesive roots sprout, as ivy sprout particularly quickly after a cut.

age form

The age form explained

From an age of about ten to twenty years, the ivy shows its age form. This is a unique new growth form of the climbing plant.

  • upright growth forms over the main root
  • Trunk becomes visible
  • grows in width
  • is capable of flowering
  • Leaf shape is different compared to climbing ivy

The mature form appears like a tree suddenly growing out of the ground-covering elements of ivy. After the ivy has reached its mature form, it reduces growth by about half and sprout the trunk instead. From this time the growth is still very noticeable and the climbing plant does not stop there. That is, a pruning is still required here so that the ivy does not take over the facade of a house, which after several decades can easily be done. The old form can easily be cut into any shape you like, like a bush or hedge

Notice: From the adult form, Hedera helix bears fruit that children can easily pick. Along with the leaves of the ivy, these are poisonous and should just not get into the hands of children.


What sizes are reached?

Ivy is a true artist of greatness and there are many specimens that have reached gigantic proportions.

measured heights:

  • averaging 20 to 30 feet, maximum height about 90 feet (few specimens growing on trees in the US)

measured widths:

  • an average of over 30 meters

measured trunk diameter:

  • typically between 30 and 60 centimeters, more rarely over 90 centimeters

However, ivy is limited to about 30 meters in height. The 90 meter giants are a cluster of several ivy plants that sprout anew at different points on the tree. That said, if you don't want your house to be engulfed in ivy, which is entirely possible, it's worth a trim every few weeks or months.

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!