How to Hedera colchica 'Sulphur Heart'

There are a number of excellent, large-leaved ornamental ivy's available for garden use, but Hedera colchica 'Sulphur Heart' is arguably one of the best. In fact it is my cultivar of choice of all hedera species and cultivars. The original species is native to the Near and Middle East, hence its common name of 'Persian Ivy'. However the 'Sulphur Heart' cultivar has several other pseudonyms (including 'Gold Leaf and 'Paddy's Pride') which can be a little misleading when purchasing stock.

It is a woody, evergreen climbing shrub, with large ovate leaves 20 cm in length which are marked by an irregular central splash of yellow, merging into pale-green and finally deep-green. In the spring the young growth is covered in a yellow down.

Insignificant yellow-green flowers appear from October to November, which are usually followed by clusters of small, black berries.

Hardier than the similarly ornamental Hedera canariensis 'Gloire de Marengo, Hedera colchica 'Sulphur Heart' is a vigorous, self-clinging plant that can be expected to an overall height of between 4-8 metres, and an approximate spread of 2.5-4 metres depending on conditions. It attaches itself to suitable surfaces by means of aerial rootlets with matted pads. It is both tough and adaptable, able to grow in a in a range of conditions. It will perform best in moist, well-drained or alkaline soils rich in nutrients and humus. When planting into their final position try and keep the roots in cool shade and with the main body of the plant in full sun.

Hedera colchica 'Sulphur Heart' has received two awards from the Royal Horticultural Society.

The Award of Merit after trials (AMT) in 1979
The Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1984

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