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Muehlenbeckia - Growing Guide

Growing Muehlenbeckia

Commonly known as ‘Australian Ivy’ or ‘Wire Vine’

These plants are vigorous creeping or climbing deciduous shrubs from the New Zealand mountains. In warmer parts of the country they will remain evergreen. M. complexa has grown and self sown or self rooted itself in the original glasshouse at Caerhays for as long as we can remember. It has foliage which is so delicate and attractive that one has not the heart to pull it all out.

In New Zealand M. complexa is often trained up as a dense garden hedge or windbreak. In the UK it is a wonderful plant for covering a dry bank completely to inhibit other weed growth. It can also be used to cover old tree stumps and rubble heaps. It will readily ramble over and through other unimportant shrubs which it will eventually smother with a thick tangle of wiry stems. A bit of a thug of a plant perhaps but it certainly has its uses. It is very easily trimmed back with no ill effect.

Muehlenbeckia complexaclick for larger image
Muehlenbeckia complexa
Muehlenbeckia complexaclick for larger image
Muehlenbeckia complexa

M. axillaris is more of a creeping shrub which grows, also as a dense mat, to about 3ft tall. It is equally suitable for covering an unsightly bank or a hot slope where not much else will grow successfully.

Both species of muehlenbeckia have greenish yellow and fairly insignificant flowers which are sweetly scented. These are dioecious plants so you need males and females to produce the fleshy white fruits on M. complexa.

Flowers and fruits are however not really the point of growing this peculiar plant. M. complexa var triloba has a particularly fine leaf structure. If you require more plants of these invasive species do not waste time with cuttings! Just pull up a clump at random and you will find more than enough rooted layers to spread the plants far and wide. In seaside locations these plants can often be found growing wild in walls and hedges.

Muehlenbeckia complexaclick for larger image
Muehlenbeckia complexa
Muehlenbeckia complexaclick for larger image
Muehlenbeckia complexa
Muehlenbeckia axillaris var trilobaclick for larger image
Muehlenbeckia axillaris var triloba

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