Hi! I have a steep hill in my front yard that is mostly sunlight. I would...

Asked September 23, 2013, 8:00 PM EDT

Hi! I have a steep hill in my front yard that is mostly sunlight. I would like to replace the grass with something else. In Kentucky I saw a house with their front hill covered in ivy. Would this work in Minnesota? What kind of ivy would be best and how would I start doing this? Where could I buy ivy? Thank you, Ana

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. The ivy you saw in Kentucky was probably English ivy. The horticultural growing zones in Kentucky are 6a, 6b, and 7a, whereas in Hennepin County the zone is 4b. This means that the ivy growing there wouldn’t do well here due to the cold. English ivy generally doesn’t do well in zones colder than zone 5 and in fact in more temperate areas of the county, it is considered invasive or a noxious pest. Read more about this: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/3010/3010-1478/3010-1478_pdf.pdf Some ivy are listed as zone 4 but if you really want to plant a hillside with this plant, I would purchase a few plants and see how they do over winter just to make sure they are hardy. I don’t know of specific sources but you could call garden stores near you and ask. Here is a link to the American Ivy Society and many different ivy cultivars. Just make sure they are hardy in zone 4: http://www.ivy.org/index.html Here is a link to groundcovers suitable for a steep hill in Minnesota: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/components/08464-steep-slopes.pdf http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/dg1114.html http://www.extension.umn.edu/projects/yardandgarden/yglnews/yglnewsjuly152008.html