American Ivy Society


Ivy of the Year 2015

Hedera helix ‘Conglomerata’

Hedera helix ‘Conglomerata’
Photo: Rachel Cobb

The American Ivy Society has selected Hedera helix ‘Conglomerata’ as the ivy of the Year for 2015. It is an "Oddity" in the Pierot Classification system. It does not have the familiar grace and flow of most ivies, but has an exquisite style all its own. It would be right at home in a garden in Japan or in any formal setting. It can be used with dramatic effect in a dish garden on a coffee table.

It has been around for a long time. The first written mention of it seems to be in Nicholson’s 1885 Dictionary of Gardening which described it as "a slow growing variety with small wavy leaves and very short internodes."

In 1889 Mr. Shirley Hibberd, writing in the Royal Horticultural Journal said, 'Conglomerata' has the merits of distinctness and though scarcely beautiful, is immensely interesting. The growth is in a somewhat geometric plan with the branches radiating regularly. The leaves are ovate, curled, frilled and overlap so as to form a dense umbricated mass. The color is a deep rich green. When trained to a wall its character is destroyed, it should be left perfectly free to spread in its own way on an open border or on a broad shelf in the rockery.”

This unusual ivy has three-to-five-lobed thick, leathery leaves that are arranged in two ranks along a slightly flattened green stem. The leaves grow so closely together the look is almost contorted. It has a cordate base, and a sprawling, somewhat stiff habit.

'Conglomerata' will happily grow indoors or out. It has survived to -20 degrees F. It can be grown as a specimen plant, in a rock garden or as an unusual bonsai. With its slow growth, and unusual habit, it is a well-mannered, very stable ivy, which maintains its distinct appearance.

For successful outdoor planting of ivies, the Society reminds gardener to plant deep, removing several of the lower leaves and planting to the new lowest leaves. Ivy will root along the new stem, helping it to become established.

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Click Here for Ivy of the Year List of Past Years.



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