'Jubilee' Variegated Small-leafed Ivy

'Stay -- did you ever see such ivy as this?'
Whilst Nancy looked on, Tarrant pulled at a long stem, & tried to break it away.
'I must cut it.'
'You shall see.'
He wove three stems into a wreath.
'There now, take off your hat, & let me crown you. Have I made it too large for the little head?'
Nancy, after a moment's reluctance, unfastened her hat, & stood bareheaded, blushing & laughing.

-From 'In the Year of Jubilee'
by George Gissing


Hedera helix 'Jubilee' small-leaf variegated English ivy is an heirloom cultivar introduced in 1900 in England by Will Barron, for whom a popular blue clematis is named. It would seem to have been named for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, a year of extreme national celebration & public affection.

JubileeIt is compactly creeping, self-branching, & becomes quite dense over time. It's vigorous for a variegated miniature. In coloration it is blue-green or blue-grey, with creamy splashes of frosty moonlight silverness especially around the edges. It seems almost frosted with white streeks, but I've seen others that were strongly splashed & streaked with creamy white.

'Jubilee' can be a stand-out leaf when seen among varieties either pure green or more stridently variegated, so a favorite for uniquess, contrast, & subtlety. It's extremely hardy but not invasive in the garden as groundcover or trained to a trellis or climbing a tree. It thrives & looks splendid even in dry shade, but will spread more rapidly with moderate watering in well-draining soil.

I planted a small start of 'Jubilee' in the most awful location imaginable, a spot that would kill any other plant. This was against a stone wall, tucked into a gouged-out hole in clay-hard soil between flagstones.

After three years it still hadn't spread much, as life isn't easy in such a spot. But I wanted an ivy along that wall's base, & happily it is surviving. I've tried other fancy ivy cultivars in similarly harsh locations, & though it takes an extra long while (years) for them to get established to the point of spreading a lot, they do eventually get their roots through even the lousiest soil, & become strong enough to become impressive groundcovers or wall-creepers.

It makes a fine houseplant & is suited for container-gardening including hanging baskets. Ours is outdoors in the garden, but it seems as though 'Jubilee' is more commonly offered among houseplants. It can be trained as a small topiary over a wire form with its center stuffed with moss. It can be grown at the foot of a large upright houseplant, or in a tall pot of its own.

In the garden a completely unwatered location, this ivy often gets all the moisture it needs from rainfall, but in the house it will need a much more regular watering schedule, just not too wet or root-rot will do it in. Containered ivies like to be a little bit root-bound merely so that the soil doesn't remain wet for too long at a time.

As a houseplant 'Jubilee' & similar dwarf ivies would want rather more light than they require in the garden, but not too hot a window. In most cases the low humidity inside houses will not harm it, but temperatures above seventy degrees Fahrenheit with low humidity can be a stress factor so that the coolest part of the house will be best. Although ivies demand no fertilizing outdoors, they need a light monthly feeding indoors during spring & autumn, but no feeding for summer & winter when they won't be as actively growing.

Propogation of ornamental dwarf ivies is easily done from cuttings of stems or tips. These can initially be rooted in water, often without need of a rooting hormone. When roots appear, it should be put in standard potting soil to further develop.


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