Kenilworth Ivy

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

By Deb Delahunty – Wodonga TAFE.

A cute little plant with a host of common names is the Cymbalaria muralis.  Its common names include Ivy-leaf Toadflax, Coliseum Ivy, Oxford Ivy and Kenilworth Ivy.  In Italy it is called ‘The Plant of the Madonna’. 

This plant is endearing because it’s so easy to grow.  It will thrive in most soils and conditions as long as it gets plenty of moisture.  It excels in handing baskets because it hangs like a solid fountain of foliage.

If you don’t want this plant in a basket, it is also a vigorous groundcover.

This plant has waxy leaves and flowers like miniature snapdragons, the foliage stays thick and can become a dense mat over time.  This plant is extremely easy to trim and shape and has a number of uses, however it can escape cultivation and become naturalised in different climates.

This creeping, hanging, trailing plant with its small Ivy-like leaves is a native of the Mediterranean region but it has become naturalised over most of Europe.  It is often thought of as an English plant because it’s found on old walls from one end of the UK to the other.  It found its way to England via Italy and was first planted at the Chelsea Botanic Gardens.

This plant is perfect for growing between paving stones or up dry stone walls and it will excel in spots that get a bit of shade – don’t try to grow this plant in hot sun, it just won’t work.

One of the most amazing aspects of this plant is its ability to plant its own seed!  Each flower will push itself out into the light and when fertilisation has taken place and the seeds have matured in the flowers ovary the flower bends.  The flower now bends downwards and buries the seed capsule into the dark crannies of the wall or the path where it’s growing. 

Apparently this plant is eaten in salads in Southern Europe because it has a taste similar to cress.  I don’t think I want to eat this plant, but I really like it in hanging baskets.  Easy to grow from seed or cuttings this is a perfect choice for the non-green thumbed amongst us.

Diary – The Agriculture/Horticulture Department at Wodonga TAFE has numerous short courses available in 2019  Short courses include the AgVet Chemical Users Course, chainsaw training, quad bike training, pruning and plant propagation.  For more information on short course contact 1300 MY TAFE (1300 698 233) or email info@wodongatafe.edu.au .

Photo – Kenilworth Ivy is perfect in hanging baskets, this basket thrives at the Wodonga TAFE nursery.

 

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