HOW TO GROW HEDERA (ivy)

2 deg C/36 deg F

The ivies constitute a group of the mosl useful of all foliage plants. They are generally easy to grow, able to adapt to a wide range of temperatures, can be grown as climbers or trailers, and in some cases as bushes, and have many pleasing leal shapes and variegations. By far the greatest number of houseplant ivies are cultivars of the common ivy. H. helix. They are quite hardy and excellent for chilly places in the home, as well as situations where light may be poor. ‘I’llis makes them especially valuable, because it is often difficult to find plants suited to such situations. The ivies are useful for beginners, as they are robust and nol very demanding.

A selection of named cultivars can be

made from the following: ‘Cristata’ (wavy-edged leaves). ‘Sagittaefolia’ (star-shaped with narrow segments). ‘Conglomerata’ (wavy leaves and neat, compact habit, more bushy than climbing). ‘Chrysophylla’ (yellow variegated leaves). ‘Russell’s Gold’ la beautiful golden ivy). ‘Jubilee’ (boldly blotched golden-yellow). ‘Lutzii’ (light and dark green mottling). ‘Glacier’ (light and dark green with creamy-yellow patches mostly around leaf edges, sometimes paler with greyish and whitish colouring). ‘Silver Queen’ (grey-green and blue-green with cream border, sometimes pink-tinted in cold positions), ‘Discolor’. popularly called marble ivy (small mottled leaves tinted pink). ‘Pittsburgh’ (dark green with lighter veins), ‘Chicago’ (similar to ‘Pittsburgh’ but larger leaves and brighter green). ‘I larald’ (ivory edge to the leaf, mottled grey and dark green in cent re I. ‘Tricolor’ (a very pretty ivy with white-bordered light green leaves changing to carmine in autumn). The last-mentioned cultivar is very slow-growing. but in general these plants are

not fast and rampant growers like the original species.

Rather different anil a very popular houseplant is H. helix canadensis, the Canary Island ivy. This is nearly always seen in the form ‘Variegata’. The leaves are irregularly marked with contrasting light and dark green, grey-green and cream. In cold or cool situations there are often reddish tints and flushing. greatly enhancing its beauty. Although from a warm climate, this ivy is almost hardy and often survives outdoors in milder parts of the country. However, it may lose most, if not all. of its foliage. Ciiven a warm room it grows vigorously, perhaps too rampantly, and may soon reach the ceiling. Even so. it seems to have a strange quality of only filling the space provided and then slowing down. It can make a handsome specimen for a stair-well, hallway, foyer or porch. All the ivies can be kept in check by cutting back or removing unwanted growth at almost any time, but is best done in spring. Propagation is usually easy if small cuttings are taken in July. Often, aerial roots form, especially when

lumidity is good. Stems bearing these can be pegged down into small pots until rooted sufficiently to be severed very carefully from the parent plant. A careful watch must be kept for scale insects. Their presence may not be realized until a black covering is seen on the foliage: this is due to a mould that grows on their sticky secretion. It is a difficult pest to eradicate once an infes-

ation has become severe. It is hardly practical to wipe them off all the leaves borne by a large specimen, and they are remarkably resistant to most pesticides.

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