All About Ivy – A Quick Guide To the Ivy Plant

Ivy is an easy to grow, popular, and enduring houseplant. Here is an overview of the Hedera, or “True Ivy” family.

There are several types of Ivy, including Swedish Ivy, English Ivy, and Devil’s Ivy (Pothos). In this article we’ll talk about English Ivy (Hedera) which is considered “true” ivy. These plants are vigorous climbers that will happily climb up walls, posts, and even wallpaper. This is the kind of Ivy often found covering the sides of buildings. Hedera also makes a lovely hanging plant and the smaller varieties can be used as ground cover for large potted plants. Hedera comes in a variety of leaf shapes from pointed to ruffled and is often variegated in shades of cream, gray, and yellow.

Hedera prefers bright indirect light and cool temps. Keep moist during the growing season and cut back during the winter, watering only enough to keep the soil from drying out. They will complain in dry hot air, resulting in brown leaf tips, dried out leaves, and sometimes spider mites. Regular misting or humidity trays are the solutions. They will not do well in rooms where the temperature doesn’t fall below 60 at night. To keep plants bushy, trim the growing tips every so often. Pot up the cuttings or place them in a jar of water and they will soon root and become new plants. Hedera can be easily trained to grow around whatever support is provided for it.

Here are some common problems and what to do about them:

Brown leaf edges/Spindly Growth: This indicates the plant is getting too much warmth. Check for spider mites. Cut back bare stems and move to a cooler location.

Variegated Variety Reverting to All Green: This indicates too little light. Variegated plants need bright light to keep their colors.

Undersized Leaves: Again, this indicates too little light.

Leaf Drop: It is normal for leaves at the base to drop with age. Other causes could be transplant shock or watering with cold water.

Grey or White Powder on Leaves or Soil: This is a sign of overwatering. The powdery substance is mildew. If it’s on the soil, it can be scraped off with a spoon. For mildew on leaves, the only cure is removal. Once the affected leaves are removed, increase air circulation around the plant and cut back on watering. If the stems appear brown or mushy, rot may have set in and it could be too late to save the plant.

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