Friday, December 11, 2015

Using Invasive Weeds Inside

English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
I hate being stuck inside in the winter when seemingly nothing is growing. Nature seems to be on a standstill, but not really. There are lots of processes that go on and most of the plants that grow around us need the dormant period to live. 

One of the plants that grows like a weed around my home is English ivy. It creeps along the ground, crawling over anything in its path and even up the trees. Some states including California, Tennessee and Wisconsin have declared it an invasive weed, specifically, "Those species whose introduction does, or is likely to, cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health."

Freshly cut English Ivy
One of the nice things about this vigorously growing vine is that it grows well in almost any condition - including indoors. So I went outside today and clipped several sections of vines hanging from a tree in my backyard.

Here you can see them set out on my picnic table where I can work on them. I cut them in sections about eight to twelve inches long. 

Remove lower leaves.
Next, I determined which end was up on each of them. This might seem simple, but when vines grow, the leaves turn to face the light. Look at where the leaves connect to the branch and the leaf axil and the leaf bud should be facing upward when you have the right end up.

Since some of the sections of the ivy had leaves on the lower part, I pulled them off so they would not rot while sitting in water.

Old bottles make nice vases
I have a few bottles that I found in the creek bed near our home that I like to put on my  window sill. However, I don't like thinks that just collect dust so I use them to start plants. I chose three of them to put my prepared ivy cuttings in to spruce up my windows during the winter.

Of course, you could also use them for a centerpiece on your table, or wherever you like to add a splash of green.

Once you see them start to root, (which is the fun part of having them in clear bottles) you can plant them in containers. Since they are invasive, you probably should not plant them in your yard unless you are prudent about keeping them under control. 

For now, I have a bit of life I can watch from inside the warmth of my kitchen while the cold world rests outside.
Ivy growing on my window sill.