A Hedera the Class – A Pollinator Magnet

One of the top pollinator plants in the garden this month is this clump of adult ivy. All ivies clump, instead of run, once they gone through horticultural puberty, which usually happens around age 15. English ivy, Hedera helix makes a similar, but larger shrub, that flowers in July. The clump below is our selection of Hedera rhombea, which is a much smaller plant that flowers two months later.

Our selection, Hedera rhombea ‘Cheju’ is an adult selection that I found hiking through the woods on Cheju Island, Korea in 1997. Two cuttings we sent back rooted, and 26 years later has made an incredible, unpruned garden specimen. Pollinators include honeybees, native bumblebees, and an array of wasps and yellow jackets. Our native Carolina anoles perch atop the flower stalks, just waiting for lunch to arrive. The pollinators are so numerous, the plants give off a discernable buzz. As we try to constantly educate people, the insects don’t care where the plant originated.

Hedera rhombea ‘Cheju’
Close up of flowers and pollinators on Hedera rhombea 'Cheju'.
Hedera rhombea ‘Cheju’

8 thoughts on “A Hedera the Class – A Pollinator Magnet”

  1. OK, this is big news to me that “All ivies clump, instead of run, once they gone through horticultural puberty”. That just is an amazing fact and I love that plant that you are showing here! So, does this particular ivy ‘run’ for 15 years and THEN start to clump? Did you just constantly trim it back in the interim years to keep it to this size/state? You say that it is ‘unpruned’. Does that mean ‘never pruned’? I may have to try this plant!!!

    1. I took cutting from an already adult ivy on a fallen tree in Korea, so it had already long passed its juvenile (running) phase. When we find a new ivy that we like, we plant it beside and tree and let it climb. Once it matures @ 15 years of age, we take cuttings of the adult portion, and can then remove the original.

  2. So, are you selling this plant and if so, are you selling the ‘non-running’ cuttings or would a newly established plant run no matter what? I’m so interested in this idea of non-running ivy!

      1. John Randall Owens

        I would agree. I would not have purchased an ivy in most cases until I just found out what you are pointing out in this discussion. I’m always amazed at how little I know about things sometimes! Thank you for educating me and your other readers. Next time there is an open house at the appropriate time of year, I am going to ask VERY NICELY for a small cutting from this plant. I presume it would root similar to other ivy, which would seem to be relatively easy.

  3. I love adult Ivies have several. I have Gold Heart that i grow up a tree. It has fruited this year is this a signal that it is now mature?

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