This Shrub Is Almost a Vine

Over all of variegated Fatshedera

Overall photo of variegated Fatshedera

Close up of variegated Fatshedera foliage

Close-up of variegated Fatshedera foliage

Flower cluster of variegated Fatshedera

Flower cluster of variegated Fatshedera

What do you get when you cross English ivy and Japanese Fatsia? Fatshedera, a shrub that has vine-like characteristics but makes a great semi-espalier like the one shown in the image above. I like this plant, particularly the variegated type. The non-variegated one looks just like the one pictured but has green leaves. Our example is tied to the wall to echo an espalier, which is how I think this plants works especially well. This plant does great in high filtered shade, but if the variegated plants get full sun, the leaves burn severely. The green type can take some sun. I consider this a semi-hardy plant in our area because in severe winters it can have some winter kill. This variegated specimen had some cold damage last winter, but you can see it recovered nicely. I have seen these die back to the ground, but that is not common. Since this is a hybrid, it has to be propagated by cuttings, and I have been very effective rooting from cutting it. If you want one, buy the biggest one you can find and train it against a wall or trellis for the most attractive use.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

2 thoughts on “This Shrub Is Almost a Vine

  1. Once again I salute you for pointing out an underutilized plant. Unlike ivy, this plant is easily controlled. It mimics the growth of ivy, which I consider to be invasive, while providing structure and durability. It is true that in a brutal winter it may defoliate but if one takes the time to remove damaged foliage, it is quick to recover. Thanks for educating the public!

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