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The north side of my home was buried in snow…

Michael Asked

The north side of my home was buried in snow for three plus weeks and it killed a long-standing full growth of English Ivy! It gets little to no sun (some late afternoon sun in summer) and much less as the fall arrives. My soil is moist most of the time. I need something like in the back of my home, which has spruce evergreens that are maybe 15 years old and fully grown to 8 feet tall by 5 feet wide, but I don’t think they would grow in that much shade. What can you suggest?

The Gardener’s Answer

I have to say that it’s not easy to kill English Ivy (Hedera helix)! Once established, it can be a battle to eliminate. Have you noticed any new growth? I mention this because I am wondering how moist your soil is?  Does it drain well when we get a lot of rain? If not, you may want to amend the soil before planting anything new.

You can have your soil tested through your county Cooperative Extension Service. The Logan County offices are located at 255 John Paul Road and the phone is (270) 726-6323. As for larger evergreens that will grow in deep shade, this can be tricky. Unfortunately with these growing conditions, there are fewer options than in a sunny location.

Aucuba japonica, Mahonia, English Laurel (‘Otto Luyken and ‘Schipkaensis’), Pieris and some Azaleas are all evergreen options. Boxwoods and Taxus are also options.

These plants can adapt to heavy shade, but the ones that flower will not likely do so given the light levels. You mentioned that the Ivy was near the house so make sure to take mature size into consideration before purchasing new plants. Now is a great time to plant shrubs, so check with your local garden center to see what catches your eye.

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