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Don't you love that English cottage look ivy gives to a house when it climbing up the wall?  But who has the time to manicure it and keep it looking neat and finished?  Well, here are few tips on how to manicure ivy getting a little bit of that English cottage look without spending hours trimming it.

How to manicure ivy on a mailbox

Ivy is a lovely evergreen vine and that doesn't take much time to grow. It is remarkable in that it can thrive in full sun, partial shade or even full shade as long as it has well-drained soil. Selecting an ivy is fun but keeping it under control can be a chore.  Anyone familiar with gardening know that new shoots can seem to grow overnight. After years of taking care of our creeping ivy on our mailbox, I have finally come up with a quick way on how to manicure ivy the fast and easy way.

How to Manicure Ivy

Before we jump into how to manicure ivy let's talk about selecting ivy varieties. I am no expert but after researching the ivy on my mailbox I found out a few things I thought you might like to know. There are a lot different species of ivy to choose from: English ivy, creeping fig, Algerian ivy, Boston ivy, Persian ivy, and Irish ivy are just a few and will have different sized ivy leaves with a varying leaf shapes.

First, select where you want to grow it and make sure it is safe for that wall.  I chose my mailbox because it is a small area to maintain.

Then, do some research and decide which kind of ivy you want and determine if it is okay to grow on the wall you have selected.

I decided on creeping fig because it is very petite and can be manicured very close to the wall. The smaller leaves are perfect for this location and it's a good clinger that thrives on vertical surfaces.

And I chose my brick mailbox because it is a small area to work with. This small space makes it easy to control.

Next, consult your local nursery on what to purchase, planting, and caring for your ivy.  After working with my local nursery, Tallahassee Nurseries, to select plants for our screened in porch decorating ideas I realized how valuable they are when selecting plants.

It's always a good idea to consult the experts. They know what will grow the best in your environment. They can also advise which ivy is best for wall growth or if you want it for ground cover. Then take your new plant home and planted. Even small ivy plants will grow quickly. The ivy vines will grow against the vertical structure usually with little to no training. After you plant your ivy before you know it the ivy will need trimming.

Creeping ivy on a mailbox

How to Manicure Ivy FAQs:

What do I need to Trim Ivy on my House?

When Should I Trim my Ivy?

You can trim your ivy any time of year but the best time is early spring for excess growth and mid spring for regular pruning. This is the best way to encourage your ivy's new growth to grow fuller and it will grow faster throughout its growing season. By late summer it will be quite lush and probably ready for a trim again. Ivy can cover large areas very quickly.

How to Trim Creeping Ivy on a House

Trim Back the Vines

Talk about out of control. Creeping fig is a very fast-growing ivy. The regrowth comes faster than I expect, every time. Boy, does mine need a cutting?

So, here is how you manicure your creeping fig ivy.  You can use hedge shears or a hedge trimmer. I perfer my power hedge trimmer. Start with running your power hedge trimmer, I use the Ryobi hedge trimmer, parallel to the wall and trim back any wild vines that are coming out of the ivy.

I like to go in an upward motion because that is the way the ivy grew. I feel like it is safer for the vines if you move up rather than down with your hedge trimmer.

Make sure not to cut to close to the wall. You want the greenery to stay nice and full but nestled to the wall.

Cut the Design

For best results, use some pruning shears, garden scissors, or kitchen scissors, which is what I use, for this step. Whatever tool you're comfortable with is the perfect tool for you.

Gently pull a loose vine out and snip it along the edge of the design you are trying to follow.

When you come to an edge or something like the number plate on my mailbox angle your scissors at 45 degrees and miter towards the edge or plate. You do not want a canopy growing over the numbers.

Once finished this is what it looks like. The well trimmed but still dense foliage of the ivy looks like it was made just for this wall.

How to trim ivy around numbers on a mailbox

Clean Up

Here is a quick clean up tip. I've found this to be the easiest way to clean up. Before you start the project lay a tarp down around the base of the wall, mailbox or wherever your ivy is growing.

When you are finished pick up the tarp and toss the clipping. Talk about easy!!!

Or, manual removal is a piece of cake. If you are impatient like me go ahead and start trimming away and rake the trimming into a pile and discard them. Next, grab your leaf blower and blow away any excess cutting. Your mower will mulch any small pieces leftover.


It is much easier than it looks to care for creeping fig.

I actually do not have a green thumb and I have no training in landscaping.  So if I can do this I am sure you can do it too.

Here are a few after photos on how to manicure ivy.

Brick mailbox with traditional white numbers and creeping ivy

It's really that simple and easy!

Brick mailbox with creeping ivy all the way around except for the top and showing how to manicure ivy.

Now that your ivy is manicured try out some container flower gardening. I have two posts and a video showing you the steps to creating beautiful container gardens.

Do you have ivy growing on your home or property? I'd love for you to share your experience and pictures with keeping it trim and lovely. I hope your ivy turns out beautiful and I hope you have a great day!

Happy Decorating!

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Saturday 14th of May 2022

Thanks for this tutorial! Do you use the Ryobi hedge trimmers or the garden sheers to make the edge around the top of the brick? I have the fig ivy on the wall of my house and I want a quick way to keep it from climbing over the edge. I’m afraid it’ll have to be garden sheets which feels like more work. ???? thanks!

Linda McDonald

Saturday 14th of May 2022

I use the Ryobi hedge trimmer.