Ivy, shade, sun, privacy


Hi there, I’m in toronto with a specific gardening need in my backyard. I would like a boston ivy to grow across a garden arch/entrance to my back yard, to provide some privacy. I planted ivy beside the arch, but it grows the other way (towards the sun. I have no garden, no ground, and no sun on the other side of the arch. If I plant it in a container in deep shade on the other side of the arch, would it grow into the sun, across the arch, and thrive? Thanks


Hi Kate,

You are correct that the vine will want to grow toward the sunny side of the arch. The big question is how well it will survive the winter in a container. For a description of how this plant grows, see the answer we provided another inquirer here. As you will see, a large, deep planting hole is suggested. Therefore, you would need to have a large, insulated, container 1) to accommodate the root ball and 2) to help prevent the winter “freeze-thaw-freeze” cycle that might kill the roots. You would also have to bank up leaves around and over the container, then wrap with bubble wrap or the like to create a further protection. In very cold winters, there would still be a chance that the plant would not survive.

Would  you be willing to grow another fast growing vine that could be cut to the ground in fall and will (I promise) very quickly grow to cover the arch? Hops vine is almost impossible to kill and with the same winter treatment as described above may just do the trick. You can learn about it here.  Note that grown in the ground, this incredibly fast growing plant can be a thug, taking over your garden, so growing it in a large container will prevent that spread.

Boston Ivy