Because they never seem to play baseball in October we are never able to witness the transformation of the outfield wall at Chicago’s Wrigley Field from dark green to scarlet red. The autumn colours of Parthenocissus triscupidata “Veitchii” aka Boston Ivy won’t be available for a national audience to see until the Cubs actually make the playoffs but we can marvel at those colours on walls, poles and other structures right now. If there was ever a vine created to cover stone fences or walls Boston Ivy is that vine. And, because it produces tendrils that root onto a surface it grows without requiring any additional support from a trellis or arbour.

The ultimate size of Boston Ivy is determined by the structure it’s growing on. It will reach 10 metres but can be pruned at will to limit its spread. New growth is blushed purple, maturing to a lustrous dark green. Best fall colour is achieved in full sun. Plants will tolerate most soils but do best in those that are moist but well-drained. After a couple of growing seasons Boston Ivy will do well with occasional drought. Plants are hardy to -30 deg. C. Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, is a close relative with similar fall colours.

Obviously a plant that grows 10 metres will require some thought before deciding where to locate it. Because of its ultimate size and ability to root into surfaces it will take no small effort to remove it after several years. Boston Ivy will cling to stone or wood and can also be used on chain link fence as its tendrils will wrap around the wire for support. I’m not about to build a stone wall or an outfield wall but if I did Boston Ivy would be my first choice for a companion plant.

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