Brokamp ivy

'Brokamp' Heart-form
English Ivy

"Around my ivy'd porch shall spring
Each fragrant flower that drinks the dew;
And Lucy, at her wheel, shall sing
In russet gown and apron blue."

-Samuel Rogers

Quite some years ago, in a mixed lot of cheap small pots of root-bound Hedera helix starts unidentified as to cultivars, I spotted this rather "basic" heart-form, & instantly liked it.

Brokamp ivyEventually I identified it as 'Brokamp,' named for the Brokamp Nursery in Ramsdorf, Germany, where it was developed for the European market about 1959.

In the US marketplace it was formerly known as 'Imp,' though that name seems rarely to be used today. It's not one of the most commonly offered cultivars because there are so many possibilities & this one doesn't reproduce as fast as others.

The photos are larger than life size; the leaves are dwarf at about two inches long, mid to dark green with very noticeable veining. They vary from completely lobeless roundish hearts, to enlongated & vaguely trilobed. The variety is notorious for reverting to a basal trilobe form from which it was developed.

This is one of the slowest growing ivies I've ever planted. After six years it still only covered a small area, while nearby ivies would've overwhelmed it if I didn't take care to keep the dwarf heart ivy from being smothered.

It's also said to be one of the few varieties that are particularly susceptible to fungal leaf-spot, though this is nothing I have ever seen, as it seems as impervious to disease as are other ivies.

Brokamp ivyIt's more brittle-stemmed than other dwarves, having thicker than average quite rigid stems. For a couple years it had only one lengthening stem of leaves, but eventually began to produce additional stiff vines.

One of the newer vine-stems I tried to remove from where it was adhering to a stone, to train it another direction. It was strongly laminated to the stone, & due to its brittleness I damaged it in the attempt.

So I removed it altogether, stuck it in a pot of potting soil, & to my surprise it rooted immediately & in the rich potting soil began growing much more swiftly than did the parent in the garden. It was very soon ready to plant out.

Thus I now have two 'Brokamp' heart-ivies forming small patches. Due to stiffness of vines & slow rate of growth it's not the best for hanging baskets, though it's potentially a good one for underneath a potted shrub or dwarf tree. It will climb, dangle, or creep, but never rapidly.

It's great for a section of the garden that needs a short/flat & loosely groundcovering filler without taking over & squeezing out perennials the way most ivies would. The plant photographed for this page actually shares ground with "inside-out-flowers" (Vancouveria hexandra) which are easily overwhelmed by aggressive plants, but the heart ivy has never bothered it at all.


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