Alternative to Ivy: Creeping Fig Vine

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People often plant ivy out of desperation realizing they need to cover up a concrete block wall in the yard or quickly fill in an eyesore. We can't urge you enough not to do this. Once you plant Ivy, it's all over, you'll never get rid of it and once it's established it isn't very pretty. Did we mention that when it's overgrown it's a favorite spot for rats to nest in? There are a million other vines you could plant, but our go-to is creeping fig:

Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila) is a fast growing, small leafed vine that will stick and climb up stucco and concrete. It's hardy, it gives nice coverage and texture to an otherwise frightfully boring wall and you can simply rip it off the wall if it gets to be too much. Careful with planting this on the exterior of a house since it'll probably take some of the stucco with it when you rip it off. It's also common enough to find at home depot.

We like that it provides a nice backdrop to the rest of the garden since it has such tiny leaves.

Besides this, we're a sucker for flowers and would opt for a flowering vine, like the trumpet vine but they tend not to grow as quickly and need some sort of a structure to grow up. The creeping fig will grow from the ground, up the wall with no prodding or supports, it wants to climb.

Image: Ivy image from Center for History and New Media