Shade. Evergreen, with glossy dark-green leaves. English ivy makes a groundcover for bright moist shade around buildings and trees, filling in areas too dark for grass to grow.
Kept as a groundcover, English ivy will mound at about 1′ in height. But it can also climb 20 feet or more once its rootlets take hold in fences, bricks, walls, and trees — especially when irrigated; this may be a nice architectural effect, but it can damage buildings and trees.
A yearly trim is advised to contain it within clear boundaries. To cut back climbing vines that have rooted into structures or trees, it’s best to cut off the vine branch at the ground (cutting off its water supply) and leave the above-ground portion in place to disintegrate over time; tearing it off of building surfaces and tree bark can damage them.
English ivy may be affected by bacterial leaf spot and mites; these can be addressed with combinations of trimming and Neem oil.