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Essential Plants ivies.jpg
Although there are only about 10 species of ivy there are very many cultivars, thus providing the gardener with the choice of several hundred valuable plants. Ivies are climbing plants with evergreen leaves. The range of different shapes and colours is relatively small, but within these limitations a surprising number of different cultivars have been raised. The main variation in colour is in the variegated leaves where the green is enhanced by yellow, cream or white and occasionally bronze. Sometimes the variegation is in the centre of the leaf and at others it is round the margins. Some ivies, especially those with variegated or light-green leaves, are susceptible to frost and wind damage. Ivies are self-clinging climbers and will readily climb up walls, fences or into trees with no help, apart from initially training the shoots towards their support. Many are very vigorous, but they will not harm walls if the structure is in good condition. However, they will leave marks on painted walls that are difficult to eradicate. They should be prevented from climbing onto roofs and under tiles. Strong-growing trees should be unaffected by ivy, but eventually it may smother the tree to its detriment. Ivies can also be used horizontally as a perfect ground cover. They can be easily propagated from cuttings. All ivies will cause discomfort if swallowed and some are poisonous, in addition the sap can cause skin allergies.

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