Indoor Ivy Plants – Growing Ivies

Indoor Ivy Plants – Growing Ivies

Indoor Ivy plants are numerous and varied.  Growing ivies is not too complicated with most varieties.  Most of the ivies have proved themselves extremely useful as house plants. They are, on the whole, very hardy. They will put up with considerable neglect, are tolerant of gas fumes, will grow in any soil and do not need frequent repotting.

They produce aerial roots both as a form of support and a means of nourishment, their cost is low and they are very easily propagated. Ivies need moist cool conditions during the -summer and a weekly spray. Spraying them on both sides of the leaves will prevent attacks by spider mites and scale insects, their worst enemies.

The majority of indoor ivy plants are cultivars of Hedera helix, the common wild ivy and some of them have been given Latin varietal names. The various forms of Hedera helix are smallleaved, while Hedera canariehsis, the Canary Island Ivy, produces large leaves. Helix is the Latin name for a snail and refers to the way in which the stem climbs around trees.

Cultivars of H. helix will tolerate very low temperatures but cannot take frost. During spring and summer they need a shady position; in winter they want as much light as possible.

Growing ivies of the type Hedera helix Pittsburgh, one of the first of the self branching Ivies to be introduced, which has small dark green leaves with lighter green veins, is relatively simple. It is a vigorous grower. Like all ivies it can be propagated by cuttings in summer but takes hedera helix a long time to root. H. helix Chicagois similar to Pittsburgh, but has slightly larger leaves which are more cream than green.

H. helix sagittaefolia is another natural variety, which has leaves shaped like arrows. Although described as self-branching it does not produce sideshoots from every leaf joint and should be allowed to make quite a lot of growth before it is stopped, when about 4 inches should be removed.

A variegated H. h. sagittaefolia which has strong markings and is quite a quick grower is also available. H. helix Little Diamondis also variegated, with very small leaves that are practically without lobes and give the impression of being lance-shaped. They are dark grey-green with an ivory margin.

The leaf is about 1 inch long and ½ inch in width. This ivy is self branching and a slow grower. H. helix Nielsonis not very different from Chicago, except that the leaves of the former grow closer together.

A plant which produces so many leaves that it never appears straggly is H. helix Golden Jubilee. The leaves are small and yellow with a wide green margin. It is not self-branching so makes a thin plant and if two or three plants are put in a pot the effect will be more satisfactory. It is a very slow grower.

Exposure to bright light encourages the leaves to show a more brilliant colour and to grow more vigorously. If the gold colour disappears it should be cut back to the first coloured leaf in spring. H. helix Glacieris an unusual plant having greyish leaves with a cream margin, which becomes smaller as the leaves age. The general effect is silver grey. It is not self-branching but a rapid grower, producing a number of side shoots, and is very effective as a trailer. H. helix Green Rippleis a self-branching plant, with remarkably pointed leaves resembling a vine leaf. The leaf has five lobes, about 2 inches long and 1 ½ inches across. The two bottom lobes do not emerge until the leaf is well developed. The young leaves are bright green darkening with age.

The name cristata is given to a variety of indoor ivy plants of the Hedera helix type because it means crested, and this Hedem has leaves which are fringed like those of parsley. They look nearly round but closer inspection shows they have. Seven lobes. Leaves are medium green when young becoming very dark with age. If it is allowed to reach a good size it will produce side-shoots.

H. helix marmomta has leaves that are marbled with cream and green. It grows slowly, which is an advantage for a house plant, and is attractive. The leaf stalks are pink.

hedera canariensis Hedera canariensis comes from the Canary Islands and, as might be expected, is not quite as hardy as the varieties of H. helix. They are still among the hardiest of house plants, however, and provided they are kept free from frost, will grow anywhere. They resent over-watering, particularly in winter, and it is better to wait until the leaves droop a little before watering. H. canariensis foliis variegatis can be translated as variegated Canary Island Ivy, and is a most delightful plant. The centre of the leaf is dark green and the edges are pale cream. No two leaves are identical. All these ivies are slow growers and it is best to put three rooted cuttings in each pot to make an effective plant. If over-watered, the leaves will turn yellow and fall off. An annual stopping seems to encourage more vigorous growth. H. canariensis Golden Leafis rather oddly named as the leaves are not golden, but bright green, with a lighter green patch in the centre, which in some lights can look yellowish. However, it is a most effective large house plant, especially at about 6 feet. The stem and leaf stalks are bright red. Feeding during the summer will improve growth of all varieties. Propagation is by cuttings that will root in soil or water.

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