American Ivy Society


Ivy of the Year 2007

Hedera helix 'Shamrock'

Hedera helix Shamrock
Photo Rachel Cobb


Hedera helix ‘Shamrock’ has been selected by the American Ivy Society as the “Ivy of the Year” for 2007.

This miniature bird’s foot ivy has proven the test of time. ‘Shamrock’ was discovered in the early 1950’s by Louis Hahn & Son Nursery Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was introduced into Europe in 1954 where it has been called the “Clover leaf” Ivy. The name “Shamrock” actually was to honor the Shamrock Hotel, Houston, Texas where this ivy was first introduced to the Florist Trade at a meeting in 1957.

‘Shamrock’ has leaves of mostly three rounded lobes of near equal size with the two lateral lobes overlapping the terminal lobe. The lobes are sometimes divided into almost three leaflets. Shamrock can be very self-branching making mounds of growth. The color is a dark green with lighter veins.

Over the years some slightly different versions of ‘Shamrock’ have been selected. Some with flatter and larger leaves than the original are still considered in the Shamrock group.

This well behaved ivy is equally suited as a house plant, where it does well as a pot plant or topiary, or as an out door ivy. It is very winter hardy surviving to at least zone 5 or minus 20 degrees. Since this is a green ivy it will tolerate even the darkest corner of your garden but will also do well in the sun.

For successful out door planting, remember to plant ivies deep, removing several of the lower leaves and planting to the new lowest leaves. Ivies will root along the stem, helping them to become established. When possible, plant ivies where they will be protected from the winter sun and wind, which causes the most winter damage.

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"Ivy of the Year"

Because of the surge in popularity of ivy as a pot plant as well as in the garden, The American Ivy Society announced it will select an "Ivy of the Year" annually commencing in 2001. The ivy chosen from the nominees must be easy to grow, hardy, lush, beautiful, and not invasive in the garden.

The "Ivy of the Year" will be chosen by a committee made up of members of The American Ivy Society, nurseryman and growers across the United States. Each ivy will have completed the three year trial period in The American Ivy Society test gardens as well as in commercial nurseries.

When The American Ivy Society was founded in 1974 there were approximately 60 different cultivars of Hedera (Ivy) grown commercially. Today there are over 480 named cultivars. The intense interest in ivy began when people learned that the new ivies are available in an array of colors ranging from all shades of green, green and white to yellows and golds - and they are not invasive as were many of the older cultivars. Some ivy leaves are so delicately cut they resemble the print a bird's foot makes in the sand, while others are curly or fan shaped. They are used as groundcovers, garden specimens, hanging baskets, mixed containers, topiary and the adult forms of ivy are even grown as shrubs.



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